, pub-2157271227703015, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Mailchimp Contact Cleaned: What you need to know -2/22/2024

Mailchimp contact cleaned: Dead email or unsubscribe? What you need to know

What does cleaned mean in mailchimp? If you’re new to Mailchimp, you may have come across the term “cleaned” in your email list and wondered what it means.


Cleaned in MailChimp basically indicates invalid email addresses. 


In this article, we’ll explore in detail what “cleaned” means in Mailchimp and how it affects your email marketing efforts. 


Understanding this term is crucial for maintaining a healthy email list and ensuring that your emails reach your subscribers’ inboxes. 


If you’re an email marketer using MailChimp or a beginner who wishes to understand the terms in email deliverability, then this article is for you. Before we dive in and start learning more about “cleaned” contacts, let’s quickly take a look at what MailChimp is.

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What is MailChimp

Mailchimp is an email marketing automation tool that offers email marketing services which allows businesses and individuals to design email newsletters, integrate it on their websites, share on social media, and track their results. 


It is especially very useful for sending emails to user lists and has a wide variety of templates that help design emails or newsletters. 


Mailchimp also offers analytical data that allows efficiency studies, such as the moment in which an email has been opened. It was founded in 2001 as an alternative for small businesses that couldn’t afford expensive bulk emailing tools. Mailchimp offers a free version, as long as the number of subscribers does not exceed 2,000 or send more than 12,000 emails per month.


So now we know what Mailchimp is and what it is used for, let’s now dive in to see one of the most used email deliverability terms associated with Mailchimp.

What are Cleaned Contacts in Mailchimp?

In Mailchimp, “cleaned” means an email address is considered invalid and can no longer receive emails. This happens when attempts to deliver emails to the address have failed, resulting in what’s known as an “email bounce.”


Email bounce is an email deliverability term which means that the emails sent were not successfully delivered to the supposed recipients due to some certain conditions. These conditions can be;

  • Incorrect or fake address

  • Unregistered domain

  • Server rejecting emails based on security filters

  • Full inboxes or server issues


When your email list, newsletter or email campaign encounters an email bounce, then Mailchimp will automatically mark that failed email as cleaned or try to resend it three more times in three days and if not will result in total cleaning.

Types of Email Bounce in Mailchimp

There are two types of email bounces in email deliverability, and Mailchimp responds to these differently when marking an email as cleaned. The type of email bounces are;


  1. Hard Bounces: This occurs when an email cannot be delivered for permanent reasons, like an incorrect or fake address, an unregistered domain, or a server refusing emails due to security filters as earlier listed above. A single hard bounce is enough for Mailchimp to automatically mark the address as “cleaned.”

  2. Soft Bounce: This happens when an email is temporarily undeliverable, often due to full inboxes or server issues. Mailchimp attempts to resend a few times before eventually giving up. If several soft bounces occur consecutively, the address may be cleaned.

What Happens to Cleaned Contacts?

  • They’re automatically removed from your active email list.

  • You can still view and export them, but you cannot edit or send them emails. 

A cardboard, and on it is written "Why are cleaned contacts removed"

Why are Cleaned Contacts Removed?

You may be wondering, “why is it not left alone if it isn’t interfering with other emails”, but there are some things you need to understand when it comes to email automation and deliverability – and that is sender reputation or sender score.


Your email sender reputation or sender score is essentially a trust score assigned by email service providers (ESPs) like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook based on your past email sending practices. Poor trust score implies fewer of your emails will be delivered successfully.


This is to perhaps say that the more bounce rate and other challenges you encounter while sending bulk emails to users of any of the ESPs listed above, the lower your trust score will be, which by extension reduces your email deliverability.


Now here are some two reasons why Mailchimp automatically removes cleaned contacts for you in your mailing list;

  • It ensures you’re not sending emails to invalid addresses, which can negatively impact your email deliverability and sender reputation.

  • It helps keep your contact list clean and accurate, allowing you to focus on engaged contacts who are more likely to open and interact with your emails.



Yo can check your email address sender reputation using Sender Score

What if I think a "cleaned" address is still valid?

In some cases, a typo or temporary issue might be the culprit. While you can’t edit cleaned contacts in Mailchimp, you can try manually removing them and adding them back with the correct information. Remember to confirm the new address before adding it to your list.

How to Identify Cleaned Contacts in Mailchimp

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While Mailchimp doesn’t have a dedicated “cleaned” contacts section, you can identify them using specific methods:

  1. Using the Email Marketing Column:

  • Access your Audience > All contacts screen.

  • If you have multiple audiences, choose the relevant one.

  • Locate the Email Marketing column in the contact table.

  • This column displays badges indicating each contact’s type. Look for the “Cleaned” badge.

  • Click the arrow within the Email Marketing column to sort your audience by contact type, making cleaned contacts easy to see.

  1. Creating a Segment:

  • Go to Audience > All contacts (choose your audience if needed).

  • Click New Segment.

  • Set the filters:

    • Email Subscription Status: is one of

    • Cleaned

  • Click Preview Segment to view all identified cleaned contacts.

  • Name and save the segment for future reference.

Information Displayed for Cleaned Contacts:


  • Email address: The full email address associated with the contact.

  • Name: The contact’s first and last name (provided depending on the version of Mailchimp).

  • Source: Where the contact information originated (e.g., signup form, imported list).

  • Date added: When the contact was added to your audience.

  • Last updated: The last time any information about the contact was updated.

  • Reason for cleaning: You won’t see specific reasons in Mailchimp, but cleaned contacts usually have bounced emails associated with them.

  • Bounce type: This information isn’t displayed directly in Mailchimp for cleaned contacts. However, you can access bounce details by accessing the individual contact profile and checking their activity timeline.

Important Notes:

  • You cannot edit information for cleaned contacts in Mailchimp due to the invalid email addresses.

  • To re-engage these contacts, you’ll need to collect their updated email addresses and add them again through a proper opt-in process.


Following these methods, you can effectively identify and manage cleaned contacts in your Mailchimp audience, maintaining data quality and improving email deliverability.

Dealing with Cleaned Contacts in Mailchimp

What to Do with Cleaned Contacts? Cleaned contacts, signifying undeliverable email addresses, deserve your attention for optimal email list health. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Removal:

  • This is the simplest option if you’re sure the contacts are no longer valid.

  • Benefits: Reduces list size, improves deliverability and sender reputation, keeps costs down (if on a paid plan).

  • Downsides: Loses potential subscribers if addresses were temporary or typos.

  • Steps:

    • Use the segment method mentioned earlier to isolate cleaned contacts.

    • Select all and choose “Delete” from the “Manage Audience” dropdown.

    • Be cautious, especially with large lists, as deletion is permanent.

  1. Address Correction:

  • Attempt to fix typos or update outdated addresses if possible.

  • Benefits: Recovers valuable contacts, maintains list size, improves engagement.

  • Downsides: Manual effort required, not guaranteed success.

  • Steps:

    • Manually analyze cleaned contacts for possible typos or outdated domains.

    • Use online tools to verify email addresses for validity.

    • For confirmed typos, create a new subscriber form capturing corrected addresses.

    • If outdated domains are the issue, consider reaching out to contacts individually with updated subscription options.

  1. Export and Analysis:


  • Explore further analysis to understand why emails bounced for these contacts.

  • Benefits: Gathers insights for future campaigns, identifies common bounce issues.

  • Downsides: Requires advanced tools/expertise, potentially time-consuming.

  • Steps:

    • Export cleaned contacts with additional data like bounce type (available through individual contact profiles or API).

    • Use data analysis tools to identify patterns in bounce reasons (domain issues, spam traps, etc.).

    • Adapt future campaigns based on insights gained.

Keep this in mind

  • Maintaining a clean email list is crucial for high deliverability and better engagement.

  • Regularly remove bounced and cleaned contacts to improve sender reputation and avoid spam filters.

  • Weigh the options above based on your resources, goals, and the size of your cleaned contact list.

  • Prioritize engagement and valuable subscribers over inflated list size.


By actively managing cleaned contacts, you’ll ensure your email campaigns reach the right audience, maximizing their impact and strengthening your brand communication.


Cleaned in Mailchimp means those email addresses are deemed undeliverable. Bounced emails, typos, outdated domains – they all end up here.

So if you’ve ever stumbled upon “cleaned” contacts in Mailchimp and wondered what it meant,no need to worry, you’re not alone.

Why does it matter? A clean list = better deliverability (meaning your emails actually reach inboxes) and a happy sender reputation (think good email karma). ✨

Share your cleaned contact struggles (or wins) in the comments and let’s help.


If this article was insightful, then please share your preferred social handle using the buttons below.

FAQs About Cleaned Contacts in Mailchimp

Cleaned contacts in Mailchimp have email addresses that bounced, meaning emails couldn’t be delivered. This can happen due to typos, outdated domains, full inboxes, or server issues.

No, they differ. Cleaned contacts are invalid and can’t receive emails, while unsubscribed contacts chose to stop receiving your emails but still have valid addresses.

You can use the Email Marketing column in your audience list to find the “Cleaned” badge or create a segment with the filter “Email Subscription Status: is one of Cleaned.”

You have options:

  • Remove: This is best if you’re sure the addresses are invalid.

  • Fix typos: Try correcting typos and adding them back with the correct information.

  • Export and analyze: Use this for insights into bounce reasons and improve future campaigns.

No, their invalid addresses prevent editing. For revival, you’ll need to collect their updated email addresses.

Keeping a clean list is crucial for good deliverability. Bounced emails can lower your sender reputation and lead to emails ending up in spam folders.


Check out Mailchimp’s help articles or blog posts on Cleaned contacts. Additionally, the guide mentioned in the previous call to action dives deeper into managing cleaned contacts.

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