Outlook Clean Up Tools

Declutter your inbox fast with Outlook clean up tools. Want more space and less repeating messages? We go over how to use the ignore, clean up, and junk tools in Outlook.

Once upon a time, Email was a revolutionary way to save time. More recently, however, it has evolved into a time sink. The morning email perusal for some people can take up a significant chunk of time, especially if it’s the morning after a vacation or holiday break. Fortunately, Outlook provides tools to help you clean up your inbox quickly. These clean up tools are a simple one-click solution to inbox clutter.

The clean up tools can be found in the options toolbar, under the “delete” section. Besides the standard delete, you can reduce your inbox excess using ignore, clean up, and junk. We’ll review how to use each and what exactly you are getting rid of.


This button is great for getting out of an email thread without having to ask to be removed. No one wants to be rude, so even if a thread is irrelevant, many people just let the new emails come in and clutter up their inbox. Clicking ignore sends the conversation and any subsequent replies with the same subject line straight to your trash. Never sift through countless reply emails in a discussion you were cced on about a client you don’t have any interactions with again.

Outlook will pop up a message to ask if you are sure before deleting the conversation and future messages.

Ignore is great because it works moving forward on any new messages that come in. You don’t have to even see the messages come in before they are sent to your trash. Out of sight out of mind.

Want to send them to a specific folder instead? You will want to use rules, which we discuss in another KB article.

Clean up

This tool is great for threads that you still want the latest information from but don’t want multiple emails and responses filling your inbox. Since each email contains a quote of the previous reply, you really only need the last email in a thread.

Clean up has 3 options: clean up conversation, clean up folder, clean up folder and subfolders. They function the same but affect either redundant emails in one thread or all redundancies within a folder.

This pop up will allow you to edit the clean up settings but also lets you know you can find redundant messages in the deleted items folder.

Once you select clean up, it will delete the unneeded emails leaving only the first message and the most recent message in a thread. If the conversation branches into multiple threads, the most recent email from each thread will not be sent to the delete folder and will remain in your inbox. Let’s visualize what that might look like.

Clean up works intelligently and will only remove redundant information leaving any unique emails. This can also prevent you from being the person to reply to an email that has already been answered by only showing you the most recent replies as new messages. 


You have probably used some version of this before, whether called junk, mark as spam, block etc.. If you can tell something is spam or a phishing email, feel free to press this button. It will send the email to junk and allow you to block the sender.

If you are unsure if something is spam or a phishing email, contact your IT provider.

The junk tool has a few options, but its best to block a sender that sends you junk mail.

Sending to junk is better than merely deleting because it helps Outlook to learn more about what junk mail looks like. These types of emails are ever-evolving to try to circumvent spam filters. Therefore, detecting and reporting any changes to the spam pattern can help prevent similar messages from reaching your inbox.

Using the tools

Get rid of unnecessary emails regularly with clean up tools.

Clean up tools are ideal to use after a vacation or a holiday. All those emails that piled up that you were cced on for visibility. If you don’t have rules set up for those types of emails yet, you can eliminate the big chunk of time to go through them.  One-click and it’s taken care of. You can get back to work faster. Yay?

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