7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Building Your CIP System

Is your system capable of being cleaned in place? Before you get started on the CIP designs, make sure you have the answer to these seven strategic questions:

1. Have you worked with a chemical supplier to identify chemicals, contact time, and temperature?

A good chemical supplier can analyze the water the plant has, the soil, and select a chemical that will provide the fastest and most effective reaction to break it down. Often, they can recommend the time it will take to finish the reaction (contact time) and the best temperature to aid soil breakdown.


2. What metric will QA use to validate the system is clean?

Some process plants do different types of swab testing to determine if the system is clean.  ATP is a common one. It’s always good to know upfront what the goal is.
ATP Swab Test


3. Were your tanks designed to be CIP’able?

Older process systems often have tanks that are not designed to have spray balls used in them. For some of those systems, ports can be added to the tanks and will work effectively. However, with many tanks, issues such as solution leaks often occur when spray balls are added to an old tank that wasn’t designed to be cleaned in place.

Tank Cleaning


4. Are your PD pumps CIP’able?

If your pump wasn’t created to be CIP’able, then it never will be. However, even with CIP’able pumps, you must have the proper setup. CIP’able positive displacement (PD) pumps often require additional valves and controls to clean during CIP. Also, in order to facilitate proper drainage, the ports must be installed vertically.
PD Pump Drainability


5. Does your system have a variety of line sizes within the same process?

A good practice is to have 5 feet per second of velocity of cleaning solution. If the line sizes change, you have to plan for the largest segment. Sometimes that makes CIP pump sizing difficult, if not impractical, unless you’re willing to make changes to the process.


6. Can you eliminate dead leg areas?

Cleaning solutions must be capable of flushing through all runs of piping for it to clean. If the product can wet a surface and you can’t flush across it, it is likely not getting cleaned properly.
Dead Leg


7. Do your process lines have the proper slope to allow for adequate drainage?

Water left in the line between steps in the cleaning cause carryover, making cleaning less effective. Standing water in a system becomes a spot where bacteria will start to grow during downtimes.

Using these seven strategic questions, you can determine whether your system is able to be cleaned in place with only a few adjustments, or if it will require a major overhaul to implement the CIP process. By preparing ahead of time, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration.


  1. Christian Landsperger says:

    Great questions Eric !

    # 2 could be a really good segway to discuss applications for turbidity equipment.

  2. mark nelson says:

    cleaning cip systems is pretty easy.

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