- Abstract The ultrafiltration membranes fouled by proteins are typically cleaned by consecutive soaking in alkali, surfactant and oxidizing solutions. We combined all three chemicals into a formulated cleaning agent and examined its efficiency to restore the water flux without damaging the membrane or enhancing protein fouling. Lower concentrations of ingredients in the composite were required to restore the water flux to the initial level. The membrane after the cleaning remained intact and subsequent filtration left trace protein amount on the membrane surface. We propose a mechanism of cleaning based on a fast penetration of alkali and oxidizing ingredients through a fouling layer and efficient micellation of detached foulants with surfactant.