Best Practices for Industrial Oil Storage, Transportation & Filtering

Proper industrial oil storage, transport, and filtering are essential for contamination control, waste reduction, cost savings, and safety enhancement in the workplace.

close-up showcasing the oil reservoir

Published May 03, 2024   |   7 minute read

The Importance of Proper Oil Storage, Transportation & Filtering

The most important aspects of proper oil storage, transportation, and filtering deal with contamination control, waste reduction, cost savings, and safety enhancement. 

Augments Contamination Control

Industrial oil can be contaminated by various sources, such as dust, water, metal particles, or bacteria.

It can also become cross-contaminated by different types or grades of oil. This often occurs when the oil containers, pipes, hoses, pumps, or valves are not properly cleaned or labeled, or you transfer oil without proper identification.

Contamination can occur at any point during the storage, transportation, or filtering processes, especially if your industrial oil is exposed to an unclean environment or humid conditions. Improperly sealed oil containers or filters are another common culprit. 

Properly managing industrial oil lessens the ingress of contaminants, removes existing contaminants, and extends your oil’s life and performance.

Cross-contamination affects your oil’s quality, which will in turn undermine your equipment’s performance, resulting in damage, malfunction, and failure. 

Contaminated oils and their additives exhibit diminished lubricity, altered viscosity, increased acidity and oxidation, and cause sludge formation leading to corrosion, wear, overheating, increased vibration, and leakage.

Improves Waste Reduction

Oil can spill from containers, pipes, hoses, pumps, and valves during storage, transport, or filtering; this is typically due to human error, equipment failure, or improper installation.

Spilled oil should never be taken lightly. It can cause environmental pollution, soil and water contamination, fires, explosions, and health and safety risks, both to your employees and the communities in which you operate. 

Not only is spillage potentially harmful, but it can also be financially costly in the form of wasted oil and expenses to rectify the damages. 

Exercising precaution when managing industrial oil protects against degradation, maintains its quality, and curtails the amount to be discarded or recycled.

Increases Cost Savings

If you’re looking to cut costs, improving your oil storage, transportation, and filtering processes is a sure way to do it. Improper oil handling increases the costs of consumption, equipment repair, and lost production from unexpected downtime, to say little about environmental compliance. 

Industrial oil is degraded by heat, load, and contamination which causes it to lose effectiveness and efficiency. This results in more frequent replacement and disposal.

Alternatively, proper storage, transportation, and filtering optimize usage, improving your equipment’s performance, reducing maintenance needs, enhancing operational efficiency, and lowering your overall costs. 

Enhances Safety 

Industrial workers face several safety hazards when operating equipment and handling oil, including fire risk, potential explosions, slipping and falling, and skin and eye irritation, to name a few. 

These safety hazards can occur anytime during oil storage, transportation, or filtering. If the oil comes under high pressure or temperature, is spilled or leaked, or isn’t handled with adequate care and protection, you compromise the safety of your employees. 

In addition to potential injuries and fatalities, poor oil management can result in revenue losses and fines from regulatory agencies. 

Properly Storing, Transporting &  Filtering Industrial Oil

As you look to enhance contamination control, improve waste reduction, increase savings, and strengthen safety measures at your facility, there are several best practices you should integrate into your industrial oil management processes: 


  • Store industrial oil in clean, dry, and well-ventilated areas, away from heat, sunlight, and sources of ignition.
  • Consider sampling new oil to check its cleanliness level and filter if necessary while transferring it into storage.
  • Use color-coded transfer oil storage and dispensing containers (oil-safe containers or drums) to prevent contamination, spillage, leakage, and cross-contamination.
  • Label containers with the type, grade, and date of oil, and follow the first-in, first-out (FIFO) principle, using the oldest oil first.
  • Install desiccant breathers on oil storage containers and maintain them to ensure their continued effectiveness.
  • Monitor the oil level, temperature, and quality, and check for signs of contamination, degradation, or leakage.
  • Replace or recycle oil when reaching the end of its useful life, and dispose of used oil and containers properly, following the environmental regulations and standards.


  • Transport industrial oil in sealed, secure, and clean color-coded containers, such as oil-safe drums and transfer jugs, to prevent contamination and leakage.
  • Use appropriate equipment (pumps, hoses, and valves) to transfer oil from one location to another, ensuring they are clean, compatible, and functioning properly.
  • Keep equipment clean and dedicated to a particular oil type to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Follow safety procedures and precautions when handling oil. Wear protective gear, avoid contact with skin and eyes, and keep fire extinguishers nearby.
  • Label machinery in your plant with appropriate color-coded and marked tags for the respective lubricant.
  • Report and clean up any oil spills or leaks immediately, and notify the authorities if necessary.


  • Use industrial oil filtration systems (portable oil filtration machines, single or dual oil filter carts, or platform-style portable oil filter carts) to remove contaminants such as dirt, water, and metal particles. This will improve your oil quality and machinery performance.
  • Choosing the right type and size of filter depends upon the oil’s viscosity, flow rate, pressure, and contamination level. Be sure to replace and clean them regularly.
  • Ensure oil cleanliness is known and filtered before use, if necessary.
  • Use bulk industrial oil filter recycling services to collect, transport, and recycle your used oil filters. They will pay you for the oil and metal recovered, which will help with environmental compliance and cost savings.


Industrial Oil Filtration Systems

You’ll encounter several types of oil filtration systems depending on your industrial needs, including vacuum dehydrators for water removal and dedicated filtration systems

Portable Filtration

A portable oil filtration machine is a mobile device that filters oil from sundry sources, such as tanks, drums, and reservoirs. It consists of a pump, filter, hose, and nozzle. It removes contaminants, such as dirt, water, metal particles, etc. from your oil and improves quality and performance. It can also transfer oil from one location to another, or dispense it into your equipment. 

Single or Dual Oil Filter Cart

A wheeled cart that connects to all types of equipment, such as hydraulic systems, gearboxes, large pumps, and turbines. They usually have one or two filters, depending on the level of filtration required—removing impurities (dust, water, and oxidation products), and extending lifespan and efficiency. Filter carts can also be used to flush equipment or change your oil.

Platform Style Portable Oil Filter Cart

A mounted device that cleans oil from large-volume applications, platform style portable oil carts feature multiple filters for removing adulterants (sludge, water, and varnish) from your oil. While maintaining its character and consistency, a platform-style cart can also be employed to transfer oil from one tank to another or to drain. 

Vacuum Dehydrator

A vacuum dehydrator is a portable machine that removes the vast majority of free, dissolved, and emulsified water from your oil. It does this by raising the oil temperature while drawing a vacuum. The water then flashes off at a temperature that doesn’t thermally degrade the oil.

Choose Sunair for Your Lubricants & Industrial Oil Needs

You’ll usually find oil and lubrication products from Des-Case, Royal Purple, Bel-Ray, and ATS Electro-Lube are among the most popular for industrial oil management.

A specialist in contamination control products, Des-Case offers filtration, storage, and breather technologies that keep your lubricants clean and dry before they enter your equipment. 

ATS Electro-Lube is a leader in automatic lubricating equipment, including single-point, multi-point, and refillable units available in varying sizes and capabilities.

Sunair carries products from both Des-Case and ATS Electro-Lube, supplying industrial technicians and plant managers with the durable and reliable products their equipment needs to continue performing their best. We are passionate about the lubrication products we carry. 

Consider also high performance lubricants from Royal Purple and Bel-Ray. These lubricants are pre-filtered and certified clean from the factory, and shipped in virgin poly or steel drums, avoiding the need to filter before storage or use. 

Celebrating 50 years in business, Sunair’s team of seasoned professionals is eager to answer any questions you have about oil management and which products are right for your industrial situation. 

To learn more about the oil storage, transportation, and filtration products Sunair Co. carries, contact us today

  • Proper industrial oil storage, transport, and filtering are essential to the performance, reliability, and safety of your equipment and any processes that use oil as a lubricant, coolant, or fuel.
  • Oil is a valuable and finite resource that needs to be handled with care and efficiency, as any loss or degradation can have negative impacts on the environment and the quality of your products and services.
  • Proper oil management improves contamination control, waste reduction, cost savings, and safety enhancement. 
  • Available filtration systems include portable filtration, single or dual oil filter carts, and platform style portable oil filter carts.
  • Your facility can generate additional revenue by enlisting a bulk oil filter recycling service, which will pay you to collect and properly dispose of used oil filters.  


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