Pros / It sends challenge responses and works well with Linux and older versions of Windows.
Cons / The program doesn’t work on mobile devices.
Verdict / Though its interface looks out of date, CleanMail works well on Windows computers and laptops and cuts down on malicious and annoying email messages.
CleanMail is compatible with Windows computers and laptops, but it is dated and a little tricky to install and set up. Because of its age, this antispam software is compatible with older Windows operating systems, including Vista and XP. It also works on Linux computers. However, it doesn’t work with mobile email accounts, so if you want to filter spam messages on your tablet or cell phone, consider using MailWasher Pro.
CleanMail integrates with email services that use IMAP and POP3 programs, adding a toolbar under the one normally found in your account. We found the software was a little tricky to set up to recognize our email addresses, but the tools and settings were easy to find and navigate.
This spam filter blocks messages based on sender, IP address and country of origin. CleanMail connects to public block lists so it can recognize and block messages from known spammers.
Its Bayesian filter recognizes spam messages directed at you personally, such as special offers that include your name, as well as based on the sites you visit and your internet searches. That way, it’s harder for spammers to trick you with legitimate-looking offers. This filter also recognizes email addresses and message headers that contain special characters, which spam messages autogenerated by bots often include.
CleanMail uses non-intrusive methods to learn your email behaviors, such as which messages you tend to read and which you delete, and soon filters out unwanted messages based on these habits. For example, CleanMail learns to recognize which newsletters or social media notices you open and read and allows them to reach your inbox. Similar messages that you never open will start being tagged as spam. Emails the software tags and blocks are redirected to a spam folder, where they are quarantined from the rest of your inbox.
One of the software’s unique features is its challenge response. Once it’s set, CleanMail sends a message back to suspicious senders and requires they click through or interact with the message. This lets you and the program know if the email is from a real person or sent by a bot. Since bots can’t respond, this tool helps CleanMail learn about spam messages so it can block them in the future.
CleanMail includes some virus scans that check messages for dangerous links and malicious downloads. It also looks at attachments to ensure they are safe to open. For deeper, more comprehensive virus and malware protection, check out our top antivirus software picks.
Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to connect with live support. Telephone support is available, but the program developer isn’t based in the U.S., so you have to call during odd hours. You can connect with other users through community forms, and there are some written instructions on the CleanMail website.
CleanMail is a good choice if you have a computer running an older version of Windows or Linux. It isn’t compatible with mobile devices, and the program is dated and tricky to install. However, it’s easy to find and set filters. The software scans emails and attachments for phishing schemes and viruses and sends suspicious messages to a quarantine folder away from your inbox.