Home » Blog » Email Marketing » How to delete cleaned contacts in Mailchimp


  1. Found this post super helpful!
    Question: Is there a way to email all 50,000 of my account holders – a one-time email about our Privacy Policy update? Should I just bite the bullet, pay for the one time $500 charge of that many contacts?

    1. Good to hear! I’m a little confused by your question. Are you saying you have 50,000 account holders who are currently not on your mailing list? If that is the case, then yes you would have to pay Mailchimp for that many contacts if you want to email your account holders about your privacy policy update. Eb 🙂

  2. Hi EB..
    Trying to delete the cleaned contacts in our mailchimp account (approx 900), but when i select all (for cleaned) then click actions, I don’t get a ‘delete’ option. Just archive, unsubscribe etc. Any help would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Ro, that’s very strange. Are you sure you are in the data management tool? (Step 1) What you are describing sounds more like what happens when you are not in the data management tool. So I would double check that step first. Hope that helps! Eb 🙂

        1. Are you sure you are in the data management tool (step 1)? You have to be in the data management tool to get the delete option. If you just try and make a segment in the main audience screen, you won’t get a delete option. (The data management tool and the main audience screen look virtually identical, by the way!)

            1. Hmm – that is strange. When you clicked on ‘manage contacts’ did you scroll down? The Data Management Tool is right at the bottom and you have to scroll to see it. You won’t see the delete option unless you are in the data management tool.

              1. Maybe these steps are only available in the paid version of MailChimp and not the “free version? I don’t have this option to delete either, even after previewing the segment in Data Management

                1. Hmm – I guess that’s possible. Unfortunately, I don’t have a free account to check. Just a couple of things to double check on your end, though… firstly, have you selected any contacts, by putting a tick / check mark in the box next to their email address? The Permanently Delete option only appears after you have selected at least one contact. And the second thing to check is are you looking in the right place? The Permanently Delete option appears in the top right hand corner. Hope that helps. Eb 🙂

  3. Hello,
    Thank you for sharing this article, it is very helpful!

    But I still have a little problem….

    I accidentally imported 30 e-mailadresses with the status ‘cleaned’.
    These are people that the company where I work for has a collaboration with. I don’t want to send the regular campaigns to these contacts, so that is the reason I didn’t import them as ‘subscribers’. Unfortunately, I can not undo the import, because I can not click on the ‘undo’ button.
    I still want to send e-mails to these contacts, but that is not possible at this moment. Could you please help me with this?

    1. I suggest you delete these contacts and then re-import them as subscribers. You can use tags to exclude them from regular campaigns. Hope that helps! Eb 🙂

      1. If I delete cleaned contacts I will be able to import them again??? I’ve tried to undo the imports and that didn’t work.

        1. Yes, that should work fine, so long as you still have the list of contacts you tried to import. Eb 🙂

  4. I mistakenly marked two of my import lists as Cleaned (I misunderstood what this meant) If i delete these lists can I add them back into my audience?

    1. So long as you still have the lists somewhere else (e.g. spreadsheet / wherever they were before), you can simply delete the cleaned email addresses and then just start the import process again. Eb 🙂

  5. Thank you, After clicking like a madman trying to Archive, Unsubscribe and everything else I could think to do to get rid of cleaned contacts. This post helped me remove cleaned contacts in less than a minute.

  6. Hi there, thank you for this trick of removing cleaned contacts. I also really struggle with removing tags. I remove them and it looks like they are gone and the next minute they are back again. So frustrating!! Any tips for this? Thank you.

    1. Glad you found my tips helpful! But sorry, I’m not sure what’s going on with your tags… maybe contact Mailchimp support and ask if they can help? Eb 🙂

  7. I don’t get a PERMANENTLY DELETE option appear as per your Step 3 instructions – please help this is driving me crazy!

    1. Hi Tina, I am sorry to hear you are having trouble with this. Are you sure you are in the Data Management Tool? (As per step 1) It looks very similar to the regular audience view, but it gives you the additional option of being able to permanently delete. Hopefully that should solve the problem! Eb 🙂

  8. Hi. Thanks for this. I deleted all of my ‘cleaned’ contacts (I accidentally cleaned them!) but I was unable to resubscribe them as I received a message saying the contacts already existed! It seems the only way I can re-ad them is by way of a sign up form!

    1. OK so if you delete cleaned contacts, as far as I understand, they are permanently deleted from the system and the only way you can get them back is by getting them to re-subscribe via a sign-up form. That is why Mailchimp gives you that popup box to check if you are sure and gets you to type PERMANENTLY DELETE so you can’t permanently delete contacts by accident. Though, to be honest, even if you accidentally clean a contact, I am not sure if there’s a way of getting them back as you are essentially marking that contact as invalid.

  9. AHA! FINALLY! This was driving me crazy (and I didn’t even get it right the first time I followed your process) but it’s finally done. Thank you. 🙂

  10. Thanks for this article. Mailchimp does a really poor job with their data management UI and their support articles are even worse. This short article told me how to do it in a few minutes.

  11. Thank you! I was updating our mailing list and had clicked all over the shop trying to delete cleaned contacts. A quick google led me here and I sorted it within a couple of minutes. Love a good, clear explanation in laymen terms 🙂

  12. Delete is nowhere to be found in mailchimp. Do I have to delete these individually now? They make this impossible for a reason. So frustrating.

    1. It’s still there (I’ve just double checked!) You need to use the data management tool under ‘manage contacts’, as per the instructions above. Then you will then be given the option to delete permanently. I think they make it really hard because once they’re gone, they’re gone for good. And in the past they had issues with people accidentally deleting the wrong contacts. I know of someone who accidentally deleted their entire list of 15,000 subscribers and because she had used delete, there was nothing Mailchimp could do about it!

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