database hygiene

How to Remove Bad Email Addresses with Database Hygiene

Last updated on: 2018


Your email marketing program is set up and running, you are growing your database with online forms, you’re constantly analyzing and optimizing your email cadence and segmentation and ensuring that you’re emailing only people who gave you a permission to do so. However, after a few years, you notice that deliverability and inbox placement of your emails has started to decrease. Maybe you even found your sending IP’s listed on the websites tracking spam email traffic. What could be the cause of this?

There are, of course, multiple issues that could potentially affect deliverability and inbox placement. The most important thing to look at, however, is the database itself and when the last time the data went through a hygiene process was.

What is Database Hygiene?

What exactly is database hygiene? Isn’t it the same as removing hard and soft bounces after the send from my list, because if so then my Email Service Provider (ESP) does is automatically? The answer is no, database hygiene is NOT the same as bounce removal.

Database hygiene is the process of removing “bad” email addresses from your mailing list. These include all invalid emails, such as bounces, spam traps, moles, seeds, etc. Here are the most common type of “bad” emails removed from the during the hygiene process:


These are purpose-built, spam-trap or honeypot email address that don’t belong to actual people. Instead they exist to identify email senders who demonstrate spammy behavior. Any email sent to this address is immediately considered unsolicited. These emails are used as a fraud management tool by mailbox providers and backlist services.


Seed emails are third party oversight email addresses used for general monitoring of company’s network resources. Removal of litigators and collaborative anti-spam activists are historically known to purposely seed their email addresses for the purpose of litigation.


These email addresses that are collaborating with recipient submission-based or domain level, anti-spam solution with no current, direct ownership of resources involved.

What tools can help me with Database Hygiene?

While most ESP’s remove hard and soft bounces, full database hygiene services can be done using providers such as BriteVerify, 250ok and ImpressionWise. We recommend cleaning the list with one of the services at least once a year for the optimal results.

Remember, establishing and maintaining consistent email hygiene practices is absolutely imperative to the long-term success of your marketing campaigns and email deliverability.

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