Handling & Storage Tips

Keep lubricants and fluids cool, clean, and dry

Good housekeeping practices are as important in your facility as they are inside your home. Keep your facility spotless - a clean and dry storage area with a steady, moderate temperature will help maximize lubricant and fluid shelf life. A dirty, moist environment with fluctuating temperatures will greatly reduce shelf life, since extreme hot or cold temperatures can cause chemical degradation, moisture contamination, and performance losses.

If lubricant and fluid is handled incorrectly, it may become contaminated with dirt, water and other fluids, reducing the service life of equipment and potentially causing lower performance, catastrophic failures, and exorbitant maintenance expenses. More than 50 percent of component failures directly result from lubricant and fluid contamination, so it is important to have a cost-effective technique to remove contaminants. Today’s equipment is built to exceedingly close tolerances so it takes a miniscule amount of dust to bring a massive diesel engine to a halt.

Filtration with a high quality filter can help to reduce contamination and achieve compliance with ISO Cleanliness codes. Consequently, when the oil contains fewer contaminants, the oxidation rate is reduced, the oil has better hydrolytic stability and exhibits better water separability properties. All this helps reduce wear, decrease unscheduled downtime and extend equipment life.

Implement proper storage techniques

Keep lubricants and fluids inside, protected from the weather. If this is not possible due to environmental, financial, or space constraints, at least shelter them from rain and snow. Moisture and humidity must be avoided, since petroleum-based lubricants are hygroscopic, and water is the enemy of lubricants and fluids and all metal parts. Oil levels in reservoirs and storage containers rise and fall, much like human lungs when breathing. When exposed to humid air, lubricants and fluids naturally absorb airborne moisture, which immediately begins to degrade the additive package and accelerates oxidation of the lubricant's and fluid’s base stock.

Correct storage techniques for lubricants and fluids include using closed, sealed airtight containers that protect against water and particulate contamination. It is best to have a drum cover, since even a sealed drum can accumulate water on top, which can enter the drum upon temperature changes. If covers are not available, tip the drum so the water will move away from the bungs.

Bungs must be kept tight at all times and drum covers should be used whenever drums are stored in the upright position. Ideally, lubricants and fluids should be stored on their side with the bungs in a horizontal (three and nine o’clock) position below the lubricant and fluid level. This will reduce the ingestion of moisture and the chance of the seals drying out.

A guaranteed method to shorten equipment life is to fill it with the wrong lubricant or fluid. Careful labeling of lubricant and fluid storage containers and dispensing equipment can help avoid cross-contamination and confusion. Ideally, containers should be labeled with purchase, delivery and opening dates, product name, viscosity, inventory code, product application and color code (if used). Use clearly legible labels that can stand the test of time and withstand exposure to the elements in cases of outdoor storage.

Use correct dispensing procedures

It is equally vital to extend the labeling procedure to all dispensing equipment such as pails, hoses, reels, hand pumps and transfer carts, since dispensing lubricant and fluid through equipment that was previously used with a different lubricant mixes the two fluids and may damage lubricant and fluid properties and effectiveness. If dispensing equipment must be used with a variety of lubricants and fluids, utilize a comprehensive cleaning or flushing procedure to minimize the risk of cross-contamination. Always ensure that the dispensing container is clean and contaminant-free. Never use fuel cans, open tins or bottles since these will introduce contaminants.


Avoid unnecessary contact with new or used lubricants and fluids – always use protective gloves and eyewear equipment. Never wear contaminated clothing or put oily rags in overall pockets and seek first aid for cuts and abrasions immediately. Ensure medical advice is sought if any irritation or skin abnormality appears.