Using bleach to clean feeding equipment

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Chlorine bleach is a popular choice for sanitizing milking and calf-feeding equipment because it is relatively inexpensive; is active at relatively low temperatures; and leaves minimal residue or film on surfaces, according to an Iowa State University Extension dairy fact sheet.

The guide suggests that successfully using bleach depends on:

  1. Strength of the bleach – the percent of active ingredient as used.
  2. Concentration of bleach – how much bleach is added to a given amount of water.
  3. Temperature of bleach solution.
  4. Duration of exposure of equipment to bleach solution.

Storage conditions and shelf life also are important considerations when using bleach, because the product does not remain stable for very long and, its disinfecting properties can erode rapidly. Rather than storing a large supply on-farm, the authors suggest that for manual washing of calf equipment, the best option is whatever brand of bleach sells most rapidly at the local supermarket.

The full set of recommendations can be found here.

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