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Using Chlorine-Free Detergents in the Parlour

Glanbia Ireland places huge important on chlorine residues such as TCM and chlorates and it is now considered best practice to use chlorine-free products on bulk tanks.

Chlorine residues are not acceptable in milk due to a significant shift in the industry standard.

Tried and Tested

Once switching to chlorine free it is very important to consider a trialled, tested and approved chlorine-free detergent. There are a number of chlorine products that are available, but very few are trialled, tested and approved.

Current industry best practice is to now switch to a non-chlorine based detergent for the bulk tank. GI are recommending three ranges which are available through our branches and online:


Using liquid detergents will mean that hot water supplies must be adequate to get a good thorough clean. If hot water is an issue – switch to using a cold water based product.

There are a number of excellent powder products available that will particularly be suitable for cold washing.

The GI milk team has used these products on farm, over 2 years and found them excellent – however, like any detergent washing regime they must be used correctly and within the right routine.

There are other chlorine free alternatives available that have been recently approved by Teagasc and Moorepark but these haven’t yet been evaluated over a long term basis on GI farms.

If considering switching to chlorine- free it is very important to contact your milk quality advisor for support.

When switching from one detergent to the next it is also very important to get the tank calibrated to take in the correct amount of detergent. It is also important to store that detergent in a dark cool room out of direct sunlight.


Chlorine-free Checklist

Switch to chlorine free detergent on the bulk tank if you have:

  • Failed a TCM / Chlorate test in 2018;
  • Mains or group water supplies;
  • Start the season with fresh detergent;
  • Older detergent is liable to have a build-up of chlorates from the breakdown of chlorine
  • Ensure your rinse cycles are adequate to remove all residues
  • If residues still persist after changing the bulk tank detergent – you may need to also adjust what is being used in the milking plant

If lack of hot water is an issue – there is now funding available under FUNDEQUIP to invest in a new system as part of the Milk Cooling Equipment application. TAMS grants are also available for hot water heaters and heat recovery units.

No detergent should be used if its chlorine level is > 3.5%. This has been the industry agreed standard since approx. 2010 and it is disappointing to see some detergent companies still continue to include extra chlorine. Milk is a food product and should not be exposed to any risk of contamination.

The Milk Quality Team are available to review wash routines and the amount and types of detergent to use one-on-one on farm.

First Published 22 January 2019

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Tagged with: Dairy Agribusiness Co-op


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