What Does Cleaned Mean in Mailchimp?

If you have chosen to use Mailchimp as your preferred online marketing option, you will notice that the platform manages your campaign by labelling your contacts. 

Contacts may be labelled as subscribed and unsubscribed, and those labels are easily understood. However, there are times when a contact would be labelled as “cleaned”. What does this mean?

This article will explain what ‘cleaned’ contacts are, and you will also see how you can reduce them and what to do when you have cleaned contacts.

What Are “Cleaned Contacts” in Mailchimp?

In Mailchimp, a cleaned contact is a contact (or an email address) no longer receiving messages.

Contacts will be labelled as cleaned when the last message did not go through or the last couple of messages failed to deliver.

When an email cannot be delivered to an email server, it is called a bounce, and all bounced emails will eventually be ‘cleaned’ in Mailchimp. MailChimp does this to increase the efficiency of your campaign.

Bounces are into two distinct categories- Hard bounce and soft bounce.

Hard Bounces Vs Soft Bounces

Hard Bounces happen when an email is not delivered to a subscriber due to a permanent issue. In this case, Mailchimp believes that your emails will not be delivered anytime soon.

Some of the main reasons for hard bounces are incorrect emails either due to typographical errors or a completely blocked email delivery system of a recipient.

Mailchimp immediately marks such contacts as cleaned in hard bounces, and they are removed from the subscription plan. You will also not be charged for hard bounces. 

Another thing that happens is that Mailchimp will ensure that no emails are sent to that address. However, you will still see the email address in your subscription list.

Soft bounces occur when an email is not sent due to a temporary issue with an email address. Unlike a hard bounce, a soft bounce is not cleaned immediately.

Instead, you will have a couple of soft bounces before the contact is labelled “cleaned”, even though they are displayed as a soft bounce in the campaign report. 

For soft bounces to be cleaned on Mailchimp, they need to have seven soft bounces for emails with no previous activities. But for contacts with previous activities, they will have to soft bounce 15 times.

There are many reasons why a soft bounce may occur. The mailbox of a subscriber may be full, preventing your message from getting to the inbox. 

Other reasons could include an inactive mailbox, messages that don’t meet the subscribers’ anti-spam requirement, a non-existent domain name, or a recipient server that is either down or offline.

How to Reduce Your Number of Bounces

Bounces are bad for your campaign, and they show that your message is not reaching your desired audience. 

More importantly, many internet service providers have limits for bounces and Mailchimp is forced to implement them. 

A high bounce rate could lead to a warning or the suspension of your campaign account. So it is to your advantage to reduce the number of times you get bounces.

While there is little you can do about soft bounces, there are ways you can reduce the number of hard bounces you get. 

To reduce the number of bounces you get on your campaign, you can try the following strategies:

Authenticate Your Email List 

Authenticating your emails can get them delivered into your subscriber’s inbox, and it also allows you to confirm that all mails are functional.

Build and Maintain a Permission-Based Email List

By building a permission-based email list, you will get fewer hard, and soft bounced emails, and your audience are more likely to open your messages.

Use a Preference System

This system will allow your subscribers to decide which kind of emails they would like to access.

Check Your Mail Content and Contact 

Sometimes, bounces occur because your message does not meet the recipient’s server’s anti-spam requirements or the message is too large.

When a hard bounce occurs, immediately check the email address. Sometimes an error in typing the emails will lead to a hard bounce. If the problem is with the email delivery system, you should remove the email address.

What to do With Cleaned Contacts

Cleaned emails do not cost you money. However, they cannot be archived, edited, or unsubscribed. They will always show on your contact list.

So what do you do with cleaned contacts? You can decide to leave them as they are. After all, they do not affect you in any way.

But if you like to keep things tidy and you do not relish the sight of these cleaned contacts, then you have the option of deleting them permanently.

How to Delete Cleaned Contacts in Mailchimp

You can delete your cleaned contacts by using the Data Management Tool.

To access the Data Management Tool, you go to the audience tab; you will see an All Contacts tab. Click on it, then click on manage contacts. 

This will take you to the Data Management Tool. From there, you should follow the steps below:

  • Click on ‘Create A New Segment’
  • Click on ‘New Segment’ and set the segmenting to Email Marketing Status -Cleaned.
  • Click on ‘Preview Segment’, contacts will show with boxes by the side.
  • Click on the boxes next to the contacts.
  • Select ‘Permanently Delete’, and a pop window will show.
  • Type ‘PERMANENTLY DELETE’ into the pop-up window and click ‘Confirm’.

That’s it! Mailchimp will permanently delete your cleaned contacts at this point.

Wrapping Up

When a contact is labelled as ‘cleaned’, your messages are not getting delivered to your subscriber’s inbox. The messages are said to have bounced, and bounced messages affect the success of your campaign, and too many could get your account suspended.

Follow our recommendations to reduce the number of times your emails get bounced. Also, ensure that your email content is not contributing to the problem. This should improve the chances of success in your campaign.

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