5 Best Email List Scrubbing Software for List Hygiene in 2023

5 Best Email List Scrubbing Software for List Hygiene in 2023

Vladyslav Podoliako
May 17, 2023
Reading duration
11 min

You create great email content, set up the needed authentication protocols, and add a compelling subject line, and your open rates are just 4%. Painful, right?

Sometimes the answer isn't just about refining your content or mastering technical stuff; it's about a spotless and engaged email list. 

That's where email scrubbing comes in, like a digital spring cleaning for your email marketing efforts.

Consider these statistics: email marketing databases naturally degrade by about 22.5% a year, and 31% of people change their email addresses within a year. Add to these statistics spam sign ups (with spambots making up 66% of all internet traffic), and the situation becomes really serious. 

Keeping your email list up-to-date is crucial for maintaining high deliverability and engagement rates. Although your list may shrink, you'll connect with the people who truly matter, ultimately leading to better open rates and higher engagement. Win-win.

So don't let a cluttered email list hold you back. Embrace the power of email scrubbing software and watch your engagement rates and email sender reputation soar. Trust us, less is more when it comes to email lists. It's time to give your campaigns the fresh start they deserve, backed by the numbers that prove it.

Let’s dive into the world of email scrubbing with the best practices to follow and the top tools on the market in 2023.

The Article Walkthrough:

What Is Email Scrubbing Software?

Going beyond basic list cleaning, email scrubbing software involves a deeper analysis and segmentation of your email list. It's like a periodic spa treatment for your email marketing, ensuring you're only reaching out to those who are genuinely interested, and also maintaining the standards of mailing compliance.

Key features of email scrubbing software: 

  • Email verification
  • Email list validation
  • Spam trap detection
  • Disposable email address detection
  • Syntax and formatting checks
  • Duplicate removal
  • API integration
  • Reporting and analytics

The ultimate goal of email scrubbing is to reduce the size of your email list, eliminate unengaged subscribers, prevent emails from going to spam, and enhance the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Key Benefits of Email Scrubbing:

  • Higher open rates and click-through rates: By targeting engaged subscribers, you'll enjoy increased interaction with your email content.
  • Fewer bounced emails: Scrubbing your list reduces the number of bounced emails, ensuring your messages reach their intended recipients.
  • Fewer spam complaints and better sender reputation: As email scrubbing eliminates subscribers likely to mark your emails as spam, you'll experience fewer spam complaints and maintain a strong sender reputation. It’s difficult to remove domain from blacklist once it’s blacklisted (especially in such major blacklists as Outlook email blacklist), and keeping your list clean is one of the preventive measures.
  • Positive impact on lead quality and conversion rates: With a more focused email list, you'll be connecting with high-quality leads, which can lead to higher conversion rates.
  • Consistently high engagement: An optimized email list ensures you're consistently reaching those who are genuinely interested in your offerings, resulting in higher engagement.

By investing in email scrubbing and tools to measure email deliverability, your campaigns will reach their full potential. You'll be able to maximize the value of your subscribers, fostering long-lasting relationships and driving results that truly matter. Embrace the power of email hygiene and watch your email marketing success soar.

Signs To Understand When You Need Email Scrubbing

On average, a deep email scrubbing should be done once every six months. However, we at Folderly recommend a higher frequency — every three to four months (to prevent a catastrophe and know how to improve email deliverability effectively).

However, there are cases when you need to scrub your email list ASAP or more frequently to prevent emails from going to spam

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So, the rule of thumb is that if your hard bounce rate and spam complaints are low, your open rates and click-through rates are stable, and/or your email list grows steadily and slowly, it might be enough to do email scrubbing once every 4-6 months.

However, if your email list is growing quickly, your hard bounce rate is higher than 0.5%, you have regular spam complaints, and/or see a decline in open and click-through rates, you need regular email scrubbing and should perform it ASAP.

Email Cleaning Software vs Email Scrubbing Software: The Difference

Email list cleaning software and email scrubbing software are often used interchangeably to describe tools that help maintain a clean and healthy email list. However, subtle differences can be found in their features and processes:

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Both email cleaning software and email scrubbing software help to maintain list hygiene and, in turn, reduce bounce rates, improve email deliverability, and increase overall email marketing performance.

However, email list cleaning software focuses on removing invalid, inactive, and unresponsive email addresses from your list. This type of software may also identify and remove duplicate email addresses, ensuring that each subscriber is counted only once. It is usually used periodically to maintain list quality and ensure that only active subscribers receive your emails.

Meanwhile, email scrubbing software usually goes beyond basic list cleaning and focuses on deeper analysis and segmentation of your email list. It may involve analyzing subscriber engagement, such as open and click rates, to identify less engaged or uninterested subscribers.

By using email scrubbing software, you can more effectively target your campaigns to specific segments, improving email relevance and increasing the chances of conversion. It provides more advanced features for analyzing and segmenting your subscribers.

Overview of 5 Email Scrubbing Software 

To choose the right email scrubbing software, you need to consider the following criteria: your budget, your email list size, your email outreach goals, custom support and resources, your software, and ease of integration. 

Here’re the most popular email scrubbing software in the market: 


ZeroBounce offers a comprehensive email scrubbing solution that not only verifies your list for invalid, spammy, and abusive email addresses but also provides the ZeroBounce Score™ system to gauge the true value of your email contacts. Their recently introduced Activity Data API feature helps you identify the last time an email address interacted with your content, providing valuable insights for segmentation. The tool reveals if an email inbox has been active within the past 30, 60, 90, 180, 365, 730, or 1,095 days, allowing you to target the most engaged audience.


Key Email Scrubbing Features:

  • Email list verification: Identify invalid, spammy, and abusive email addresses.
  • ZeroBounce Score™: Discover the true value of your email contacts (engagement rates).
  • Activity Data API: Determine when an email address last interacted with your email.
  • Segmentation: Segment your list based on user activity.


  • Enhanced email list quality and engagement.
  • Valuable insights into subscriber interactions.
  • Seamless list segmentation for targeted campaigns.
  • Data privacy and security.

Cons: Activity Data does not specify the exact action taken by the user (e.g., opened, clicked, forwarded, or unsubscribed).

Price: $64.00 USD/mo per 10,000 emails.


ListWise is an email scrubbing solution that not only detects role-based, bounced, spam-trap, duplicate, invalid, and no-reply email addresses but also provides a detailed breakdown of free and role-based email addresses (which sometimes are email aliases). This information allows you to develop the right strategic approach for sending to those email addresses and optimizing your email marketing campaigns.


  • Role-Based Emails Detection: Identify email addresses associated with specific roles (e.g., sales@, info@, admin@, etc.).
  • Bounced Emails Detection: Detect email addresses that will bounce when you send your email marketing campaign.
  • Spam-Trap Detection: Identify spam-trap email addresses and domains.
  • Duplicate Emails Detection: Detect duplicate email addresses.
  • Invalid Emails Detection: Identify invalid email addresses.
  • No-Reply Emails Detection: Detect no-reply email addresses.
  • Comprehensive reporting: Breakdown of free and role-based email addresses for strategic planning.


  • Streamlined list management with role-based and no-reply email detection.
  • Efficient campaign planning with detailed reporting.

Cons: No advanced segmentation features.

Price: $36.00 USD/mo per 10,000 emails.


Hunter offers an email scrubbing solution that requires an email address and returns the result of the verification process, indicating if the email address is deliverable or not. It provides detailed validations and a confidence score for each email address, with webmail and disposable emails receiving an arbitrary score of 50.


Key Email Scrubbing Features:

  • Email Verification: Check if an email address is deliverable or not.
  • Detailed Validation: Receive a comprehensive report on the validations performed.
  • Confidence Score: Obtain a deliverability score for each email address.
  • Custom Attributes Management: Utilize the RESTful API to manage custom attributes.
  • Deliverability Categories: Classify email addresses as "deliverable," "undeliverable," or "risky."


  • Efficient management of custom attributes through the API.
  • Clear categorization of email addresses for targeted campaigns.

Cons: Pricing may not be suitable for smaller businesses or those with larger email lists.

Price: $160.00/mo per 10,000 emails (+monthly contact searches)


Target active subscribers for your most important messages using ReachMail's Engagement Scanner, which tracks engagement through opens and clicks. Segment your list using demographic data or internal fields that ReachMail collects for you, such as open and click history. Build your own dynamic segments by combining ReachMail's engagement filters with custom fields, domain filters, and other demographic data.


Key Email Scrubbing Features:

  • List Segmentation: Target recipients based on engagement and demographic data.
  • Data Hygiene/Validation: Partnering with industry leaders to ensure high-quality email lists.
  • One-stop Solution: Clean your lists and send emails from the same ReachMail account.
  • Strategic Support: Access to support staff for strategizing email marketing efforts.
  • Engagement Scanner: Target active subscribers for your most important messages.
  • Dynamic Segments: Combine engagement filters with custom fields and demographic data.


  • Efficient email marketing with targeted campaigns
  • Seamless integration of cleaned lists into marketing streams
  • Access to expert support for strategizing email marketing efforts

Cons: Pricing may not be suitable for smaller businesses or those with more extensive email lists.

Price: $80.00/mo per 10,000 emails.


With Snov.io's email address verifier API, you can enrich your database with accurate leads and integrate email validation directly into your platform during registration or lead form sign-up. The email scrubbing tool covers syntax checks, gibberish checks, domain existence checks, MX record checks, catch-all domain checks, SMTP authentication, and free mail checks.


Key Email Scrubbing Features:

  • Unique 7-Tier Email Verification: Includes MX record check, SMTP ping, and greylisting bypassing.
  • Individual Email Address Checking: Verify individual email addresses through the app or with the handy email address checker extension.
  • Bulk Email Verification: Improve email campaign results with complete email list verification.
  • API Integration: Enrich your database with accurate leads via Snov.io's email address verifier API for integrated email validation during registration or sign-up.
  • Contact tagging: You can add tags to your contacts for further segmentation.


  • Flexible options for individual or bulk email verification.
  • Easy integration with your platform via API.
  • Comprehensive 7-tier email verification process for maximum accuracy.

Cons: Pricing may not be suitable for smaller businesses or those with larger email lists.

Price: $75.00/mo per 10,000 emails.  

7-Steps Email Scrubbing Framework: How To Keep Your Email List Healthy

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Step 1: Define and delete invalid subscribers.

Begin by identifying and deleting invalid email addresses, as 31% of people change their email addresses within a year. Use email scrubbing tools or standard email validation tools for this purpose.

Remember that the market is always evolving, and you can find tools that will suit your specific needs. For instance, if you use Outlook, you might want to try the Charge for Outreach tool, which has a streamlined lead management feature specifically for Outlook users.

Step 2: Eliminate duplicate email addresses

Remove duplicate email addresses to ensure efficient and targeted communication.


Step 3: Define and segment inactive subscribers.

Identify inactive subscribers among valid contacts and separate them from your active subscribers for better targeting. Also, make sure to check for spam complaints and unsubscribers and delete those contacts immediately. 

Step 4: Send a re-engagement email to inactive subscribers

Reach out to your inactive subscribers with a re-engagement email to reignite their interest in your content.


Step 5: Remove unengaged subscribers

After attempting re-engagement, remove subscribers who still show no engagement to maintain a high-quality email list. 

Step 6: Create segments for your subscribers based on their preferences

By integrating your contact management strategy with the creation of contextual segments for your email campaigns, you can craft emails that truly resonate with your audience. This targeted approach ensures that your messages are relevant, engaging, and more likely to elicit a positive response from your subscribers.


Step 7: Regular contact maintenance

Clean and maintain your email list regularly to ensure optimal email marketing performance and deliverability. Email scrubbing software is here to help you with this task.

Conclusion: Smaller (but High-Quality) Email Lists Are ALWAYS Better

In the world of email marketing, prioritizing quality over quantity is the key to success. Sending emails can be costly, so it's vital to invest your time and resources in targeting recipients who are genuinely interested in your content. A well-maintained email list with verified addresses ensures high engagement rates and a solid sender reputation.

By regularly scrubbing your email list and focusing on high-quality subscribers, you'll not only save money, but also boost the overall effectiveness of your email campaigns and save your sender's reputation. So, remember: a smaller, high-quality email list is always better than a large, unengaged one. 

Apart from that, remember to regularly test email deliverability. The quality of your email contact base is only one of the components essential to prevent email from going to spam

Full-cycle approach to improving email deliverability rate is the only remedy for your excellent email reputation. That’s why we also recommend checking other email outreach tools to upgrade your email game in 2023.

Vladyslav Podoliako
Vladyslav Podoliako
Founder & CEO
Vlad is a Founder & CEO of Belkins and Folderly, a series entrepreneur and investor with over ten years of management expertise in companies with 100 million evaluation. Vlad has years of experience building and growing service companies and SaaS startups in SalesTech and MarTech. He is skilled in creating successful businesses from the ground up and building top-notch teams that drive all ventures to the top of their industries.

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