Cleaning the milking machine

Hygiene and effective machine cleaning

Evaluating whether the milking machine can produce clean, healthy milk depends on two factors. First, all parts must be in good order, leaving no hidden places for bugs to grow. Secondly, the wash-up system needs to be able to clean all parts succesfully, which depends on a good functioning of all parts, as well as on the washing speed.


  • Inspection of teat liners: check their condition (depends on the type of material and number of milkings) and their cleanliness (especcially the mouth and edge of the liner). Inspect all rubber parts (milk tube and gaskets used in the joint between the remover and the milk pipe).
  • Claw: check its interior and verify the absence of cracks (striations) in the plastic parts, which are a typical collection point for contamination.
  • ACR and measurement systems: these are two of the main critical points. Rely on the washing requirements issued by the manufacturer: water must be able to enter and exit without restrictions, and the sufficiency of the washing speed must also be ensured.
  • Milk transfer line: possible problems with slope or sagging of any sections (common with plastic fittings).
  • Inputs to the receiver vessel
  • Sanitary trap: verify that it has a drainage system.
  • Milk pump drain
  • Milk filter: verify that the filter is installed and that its size is appropriate (filters that are too small or improperly installed allow organic matter to pass).
  • Ribbed tubing: the joint areas from the pressurised pipe until the tank are an ideal place for milk to accumulate. The space between the gasket and the pipe must be minimised.

It is important that no reductions exist in the pipes (above all in the section between the milk pump and the bath or washer), since these cause water to accumulate in the receiver vessel and reduce the flow during washing.

  • Water: the water must arrive evenly at all washing points.

  • Teat liners: should not be twisted or improperly installed on the platform, which can make washing more difficult. Remove the covers used during milking.

  • Washing platform: verify that no leaks exist that may reduce the effective reserve.

  • Washing platform hoses: ensure that these are not twisted, crushed, or obstructed.

  • Sanitary trap and upper part of receiver vessel: verify that a sufficient amount of water is arriving, and ensure that after washing the water is removed from the tubes that run to the sanitary tank or to the milk pump.

  • Air injectors: the operation of these must be checked in systems where they exist.

  • Milk tube: check that no water is accumulated in the ribbed tubing or in the pressurised milk transfer line after washing. The milk pump's drain should allow it to be emptied.

The washing speed is verified by installing a container between a claw and the milk tube. The amount of water collected in one minute allows the washing speed to be calculated (the appropriate values are 8-10 litres/minute). This procedure allows the amount of water arriving at each point to be determined and also allows defects in the system to be located (blocked tubes, inadequate slope, etc.).

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