"Right now after I get done milking I just wash with soap and water before returning the goats to their pen. Is this sufficient / proper in order to reduce risk for mastitis?"
My answer was;
"Maybe, but not likely.
When we are washing our hands with soap and water they usually haven't been exposed to manure and urine and dirt 24/7 nor do our hands have an opening with access to the inner body. Also udder tissue and especially orifices can't endure the scrubbing that would be necessary to remove bacteria only with soap and water. Also some soaps will leave a residue at the teat end, to which bacteria or foreign particulate could adhere to. just things to consider.
I always recommend using some type of diluted essential oil spray."
A thought on antibacterial soaps... Nearly all of those contain known or suspected carcinogens. That is not something I want on my hands or skin or on the skin of my goats that are producing my table milk! Also consider that they tend to strip natural oils from the skin, allowing skin to be compromised or chafed- even at just a microscopic level chafing leaves hidey holes that bacterial and debris/dirt are quite comfortable taking up residence.
I personally use our Thieves type of essential oil that I dilute with water and a touch of natural soap in a quart spray bottle. I spray pre and post milking to sanitize the teats and orifices. A cool spray also encourages the orifices to close sooner than they would without it. The sooner orifices close the less opportunities bacteria have to enter the orifice. Even though the teats are disinfected there will still be bacterial issues floating around in the air, which does come in contact with teats.
;Happy MILKING :) !!!