air compressors and detergent/non-detergent oil

My oil-lubed air compressor owner’s manual specifies “non-detergent” oil for use in the crankcase. The hardware store does sell this stuff, but I’m wondering what would happen if I used “detergent” oil like late-spec motor oil, e.g. Mobil-1.


Use non-detergent.

Detergent oil is designed to clean varnish and sludge deposits, none of which you should have in a regular air compressor.

Non-detergent oil is sticky in comparrison. It clings to the parts much better, which is a good thing. Engines and compressors that use splash-lubrication work better with non-detergent.