What are disposable email addresses and how to block them

Amy Elliott Amy Elliott
· 12 min read · December 21st, 2022
The desire for privacy is on the rise. As a result, more people are using disposable email addresses. But fear not! Here's how to manage them to protect your business and sender reputation.

You’re not alone if you’ve noticed an increase in disposable email addresses on your subscriber list. More and more users are turning to temporary email addresses to protect their privacy online and avoid spam emails. Their prevalence is only set to grow as mainstream email providers like Apple and Yahoo Mail offer users the ability to generate disposable email addresses from within their inbox.

The good news is that, with the right tools, you can easily identify and block disposable email addresses in your subscriber list, and even prevent them from being added in the first place. 

Ready for your crash course in disposable emails? Let’s go!

What is a disposable email address

A disposable email address (DEA) is a temporary email address that is used for a specific purpose and is discarded when no longer needed. Unlike a permanent email, it can be readily disposed of without affecting the rest of the user’s contacts and messages.

Disposable emails provide people with an instant email they can use when they don’t want to share their primary email address. These types of emails are valued for their privacy and security.

Here’s an example of a random email address created with a disposable email tool called Temp Mail that you can use to mask your real email address.


While people like using disposable email addresses to protect their privacy, email marketers find them troublesome due to poor campaign performance.

How long does a disposable email last?

Disposable email addresses are designed to be used for a short period of time and then discarded. The lifespan of a disposable email can vary depending on the service provider. Some disposable email services offer addresses that remain active for a few hours, while others may remain active for several days or even weeks. 

Here’s an example of a throwaway email address provider, 10 Minute Mail, that provides temporary inboxes that self-destruct after only 10 minutes!


You simply cannot know how long a disposable email will stay active for, plus, the user won’t be checking any messages sent to it anyway. This means, to avoid having disposable email addresses negatively impact your deliverability, it’s important to regularly clean your email list with an email verification tool like MailerCheck

Ideally, you should also implement an email verification API wherever you collect email addresses, so any disposable emails (or other types of invalid emails) are blocked from making it to your email list. Prevention is the best medicine.

Clean your list with MailerCheck

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Why people use disposable email addresses

There are a few reasons why someone might use a disposable email address. Some are perfectly understandable... others—not so much. Let's take a look.

Preserve privacy and safety

Disposable email accounts add a layer of security between the user and the Internet. For privacy and safety reasons, people may not want to reveal their actual email address—and thus identity—while engaging in online forums or interacting with websites and apps., for example, says that one use of their temporary email service is to trade cryptocurrency securely!

Abuse free trials and services offered to new customers

If a free product, service or trial is given out based on the user’s email address alone, some people may use a disposable email as a loophole to abuse the offer. For example, constantly generating a new temporary address to have continued access to a free trial or to receive multiple new user discount codes. 

Harm others with malicious acts

Unfortunately, anonymous emails also provide a cover for bad actors on the Internet, such as spammers, phishers, and malware authors. People may use them to troll social media sites to attack individuals or provoke others with inflammatory content.

Reduce unwanted emails

A temp email can be used to protect a person’s primary email account from spam lists and promotional emails. Customers may not trust a brand enough to share their main email address, or they may fear the theft of personal information from hacked databases.

Organize their email inbox

Many people use email aliases to filter and organize their inboxes. They want the convenience of keeping their primary email account, while sorting various senders using labels and folders. Gmail users, for example, can use an email alias like [email protected] to direct all newsletters to the Updates tab.

Test products and services

Developers use free services like Mailinator to test their software, while people use disposable email addresses to try new products and services when they are not ready to commit yet. Thus, any unwanted emails are confined to the temporary email address.


How disposable emails hurt email marketing

Not all disposable email services have the same effect on your email campaigns. People who use forwarding emails and email aliases will receive your emails—and they will be marked as “delivered”. But other types will affect your email campaigns. Here's how.

Harms your sending reputation

Some throwaway email addresses will hard bounce when they expire or get discarded. Continuing to send to these inactive email accounts will hurt your sending reputation, get you labeled as a spammer, and ultimately affect your email deliverability.

Skews email marketing metrics

People who use disposable email addresses for testing or malicious purposes will probably not interact with you. If you have such emails in your list, their zero open rates will skew your email marketing KPIs—making it hard for you to gauge the actual performance of your email marketing campaigns.

Wastes time and resources

Disposable emails that don’t go to primary email inboxes will inflate your email list size and thus the cost of sending email marketing campaigns. Plus, you are wasting time engaging disinterested people behind emails that will eventually become invalid!

3 ways to block disposable email addresses

1. Build trust with the customer 

People use disposable email addresses because they do not trust most brands, or they are unsure how their personal information will be protected. They may fear accidental leaks of the customer database and theft of confidential information by hackers!

You can gain the trust of customers by being transparent about how you collect, use and protect their information. You could also assure people that their data is securely encrypted and will be of little use to bad actors unless it is decrypted.

For example, our email marketing partner, MailerLite, takes 3 steps to build trust with customers on its email signup forms:

  1. Explaining what emails people who sign up will receive

  2. Linking to the company privacy policy page

  3. Displaying a GDPR compliance badge


2. Verify emails as you collect them

What if people still insist on using disposable email addresses to sign up? You can verify new emails as you collect them by using an email verification tool like MailerCheck. Connect it with your web apps using Zapier or use the email validation API wherever you gather emails.

How to set up real-time email verification with MailerCheck

1. If you haven’t done so already, create an API token so that you can link your app and MailerCheck, by selecting API tokens from the left-hand navigation menu and clicking Generate new token.

2. Configure your app or website so that the email address will be sent to MailerCheck for verification when the user submits it. When this happens, your app should perform an API call with the following POST request to verify a single email:


The request body should look like this:

    "email": "[email protected]"

You should then return the status before the email address is added to the database. Here’s an example of a response:

    "status": "valid"

3. Practice good email list hygiene

When you use MailerCheck regularly to keep a sparkling clean list, you should also remove emails that are flagged as “disposable” in the cleaning report. These emails have been identified as risky and they will be responsible for most of your bounces in the future.


In addition, take a two-step approach to clean other types of emails in your list:

  1. Remove invalid emails like those with syntax errors and non-existent mailboxes. These emails will be of no value to you because you won’t be able to reach them. This step should also clean up any hard bounces from throwaway emails that have long expired or have been deleted.

  2. Identify and remove any inactive subscribers who didn't respond to a win-back campaign. This will sweep up any disposable emails that are still receiving emails but have been abandoned, prevent you from hitting spam traps, and keep your overall mailing list healthy.

How to clean your email list in 3 steps with MailerCheck

Finding and deleting your invalid and disposable addresses might seem like a chore, but we’ve made it super easy!

Step 1: Sign up to MailerCheck if you haven’t already (it’s free and you get 200 credits to start out with!), log in and upload your email list as a CSV file by navigating to Email verification and clicking Verify new list.

Step 2: Grab a coffee while MailerCheck scans your list for disposable emails, addresses with typos and syntax errors, catch-all emails and full inboxes. 

Step 3: Review your report and get recommendations on what to do with the different types of emails found on your list. Select the email addresses you want to block and download them. 

You can now exclude them from your future campaigns!

Your list will be smaller but it’ll be filled with warm subscribers who want to receive your emails—quality and not quantity is the key here!

Take care of disposable emails now!

Try MailerCheck for free and get access to our email verification API and 200 free credits to clean your list.

Keep cleaning disposable emails for a healthy list

Disposable email addresses are here to stay but they’re not all the same. Use an email verification tool like MailerCheck to clean risky disposable emails while keeping the good ones, and you’ll continue to grow a healthy email list!

What do you do to manage disposable emails? Share your tips in the comments.

Amy Elliott
I’m Amy, Content Writer at MailerCheck. As a child, I dreamt about writing a book and practiced by tearing pages from an A4 notepad and binding them with sugar paper. The book is pending but in the meantime, I love taking a deep dive into technical topics and sharing insights on email metrics and deliverability.