Keeping Your Milking Equipment Clean
Maintaining clean, sanitary milking equipment is essential for consistently achieving low bacteria results. The following steps serve as a refresher on solution temperatures and concentrations to keep ahead of cleaning issues. Note that water used to make up cleaning and sanitizing solutions must be potable ('drinking quality').
Hot water is essential for removal of organics (fats and proteins).
Cleaning chemicals emulsify fat and remove protein and mineral deposits. Sanitizers remove microbiological contamination from equipment.
Figure 1. Milk fat build-up in a pipeline appears as a greasy film.
Figure 2. Iron build-up appears as a yellowish/brown film.
Manual cleaning requires the same diligence as clean-in-place (CIP). Buckets, pails, strainers and bulk tanks need to be rinsed and washed with manual detergents approved for use in food production and given an acid rinse after each milking or milk pick up. Talk to your chemical supplier for proper cleaning products and procedures.
Equipment must be sanitized before milking or before starting to fill the bulk tank, in order to kill any bacterial growth on equipment surfaces between milkings. Three common chemicals used to sanitize milking equipment are chlorine, hydrogen peroxide and acid. Chlorine can cause rubber parts to break down leaving a blackish film ('inking') so talk to your chemical supplier about which products will work best in your situation and recommended concentrations.
Figure 3. Agitator paddle with a milk fat build-up.
Note: It is a good idea to have a hand held thermometer to check on wash temperatures, pH strips to check solution strengths, and a good flashlight to check for build-up on equipment inside pipelines and bulk tanks.
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300