Cleaning of inorganic membranes after ultrafiltration (UF) of skim milk has been assessed using hydraulic, physicochemical and spectroscopic (i.r. and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy) measurements. A cleaning sequence using hypochlorite alone or hypochlorite followed by HNO3 restored the membrane hydraulic resistance, in contrast to cleaning with HNO3 alone. When using NaOH, addition of Ca complexants (EDTA, gluconate, tripolyphosphate) and surfactants was required to obtain similar results. Three types of criteria (hydraulic, kinetic, chemical) are available to assess the effect of the sequestrant and surfactant types. In all the cases studied, traces of protein and Ca were detected on and within the membrane after cleaning. Nevertheless, it was concluded that it is possible to develop a single-step alkaline product to clean inorganic milk UF membranes if suitable surfactants and Ca sequestrants are included in its formula.