Industrial Sealing & Lubrication, Inc.

Nobody Should Be Able To Maintain Your Expensive Equipment Until They've Committed These Oil Contamination Facts To Memory

4 Ways To Extend The Life Of Your Equipment, Reduce Down-Time, And Increase Your Equipment Reliability ROI!

Frustrated Factory Mechanic

Are you frustrated by the frequency of equipment downtime?

Dirt, metal particles, and water in equipment oil cause equipment downtime. Research shows that contaminants like these cause 80% of equipment failures and breakdowns.


A machine’s lubrication system is often compared to blood in the human body. When our blood becomes dirty, we experience sickness, pain, and fatigue? We don’t perform like we were made to perform. Dirty equipment oil is one of the reasons that machines underperform. 


Decreasing oil contamination, reduces equipment failure and extends its life. Contaminants in the lubrication system of a machine can come in the form of:


  • Water droplets
  • Metal shavings
  • Dirt

Top Reasons Why Oil Becomes Contaminated

The Supplier Delivered Dirty Oil

Many oil suppliers ship oil to their customers that contains contaminants. When you buy oil from a supplier that does not ship clean oil, you may end up putting dirty oil in your equipment.

Clean and dry oil extends the life of your equipment and the oil itself.

Dirt And Water Enter The Equipment

There are many ways that dirt and water can enter a piece of equipment and end up in the oil reservoir.


The most common entry point to the oil supply is through the equipment’s breather port. There is a common belief that dirt and water do not enter through the breather port. To save money, people buy inexpensive steel wool breathers or J-tubes. J-tubes are sometimes called candy cane breather vents.


Air flows in both directions through a breather port. To keep dirt and water from entering through the breather port, it is important to use a desiccant breather. This helps prevent any oil and water emulsion in addition to an oils demulsibility.

Improper Oil Storage And Handling

Many people don’t know how damaging oil contamination can be to equipment. Because of this, they do not follow proper storage and handling procedures. Improper procedures often include:


  • Leaving oil storage drums open to the environment.
  • Transferring oil from the drum to the equipment using unsanitary devices. Coffee cans, antifreeze jugs, water bottles, and milk jugs are often used to transport oil.  


Improper oil storage and handling contaminates the oil. Contaminated oil reduces the life of the oil and the equipment.  1 drop of water in a quart of oil reduces bearing life by 48%.


The easiest and least costly way to improve equipment reliability is to educate people how to store and handle oil.

Internal Equipment Component Wear

Contaminated oil causes extra wear on internal equipment components. This is like throwing gas on fire creates a bigger flame.


Dirt and water in the oil wear down components and create metal shavings. These metal particles speed up wear on the internal components. This increases friction and generates more heat. Higher heat speeds oil oxidization which lessens the effectiveness of the oil.

The 4 Most Important Steps To Keeping Equipment Oil Free From Contaminants

Ensuring your equipment gets clean and dry oil increases equipment uptime. It also extends the life of equipment components and oil. This improves the return on investment for your equipment. Reducing the need to perform maintenance can also increase safety and reduce accidents.


These 4 steps keep oil clean and dry. They can be the low hanging fruit to increase equipment uptime and improve equipment ROI.


  1. Only buy oil from a company that commits to the following standards:
    • Always packages oil products in new clean containers
    • Never ships oil in reused drums or totes
    • • Only accepts bulk oil after certifying that the oil tanker is clean. This ensures the oil has no contaminants or cross contamination with other products.
  2. Use desiccant breathers that absorb water and collect airborne solid particles. Desiccant breathers perform the following functions to extend the life of your equipment:
    • Uses silica gel to absorb moisture inside equipment. Moisture can lead to corrosion, shorten fluid life, and deplete additives.
    • Collects airborne solid particles through a dual, anti-static filter system. This reduces abrasives and contaminants that create sludge inside the fluid reservoir.
  3. Adopt oil storage and handling procedures that includes the following:
    • Keep oil storage drums sealed from the time they are in-service until they are empty.
    • Provide color-coded oil safe containers to transfer oil from the storage drum to point of use.
  4. Have an oil analysis performed to determine what is going on inside your equipment. Use the results to define a reliability and maintenance plan to enhance machine performance and gain a competitive edge.


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