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The conventional wisdom consistently holds that "oil (or grease) attracts dirt", giving rise to the need for seals and dry-lubricants.

But I've always considered that to be loose thinking, the truth being closer to "oil retains dirt (dust, grit)" and that there are no electrostatic, magnetic, or gravitational forces at work actually drawing loose particles into an oil film.

Is my intuition correct or does an oil or grease film actually exert some attractive force on airborne particles?

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you are right, a surface that is wet with oil will capture dirt that falls on it (and not let go) but the oil itself does not attract dirt.

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