Can Akismet scan old comments for spam and clear them out retroactively?

1 minute, 48 seconds Read

I run a couple different websites on WordPress and for one reason or another, Akismet is deactivated which results in dozens of spam comments flooding in.

I think it has something to do automatic WordPress updates, but not sure. Not the point. The point is Akismet works in protecting me from spam and when it’s off, it’s like when they open the doors on Black Friday at a Walmart.


How much spam I have in my queue depends on how long it is before I notice that Akismet has been off. For my website that is a dozen years old, a couple days without Akismet will yield hundreds of spam comments. If it’s more than a few days, it’s easily thousands of comments in my moderation queue.

I’m someone that can’t just delete everything. If there’s a legitimate comment, I want it. So when my Akismet was deactivated for several days without notice, I logged in to find over 4,000 comments pending. Now, I am not Gawker or The New York Times, 99% of those comments are spam, it’s that one percent that I want to salvage.

Can Akismet scan old comments for SPAM?

Instead of just deleting all those pending comments, you can actually put your old comments through Akismet’s SPAM filters. It’s not located in Akismet’s settings, but under “comments” in the left hand navigation of your WordPress dashboard like this:

Akismet check for spam old comments


Click on “comments” and it will take you to the comments page. From there, simply click on the “Check for Spam” button:

check for spam akismet old comments

And you’re done! How long it will take depends on how much spam Akismet has to sort through. For example, it took approximately 20 minutes for Akismet to filter through the 4,263 comments you see in the screen cap above.

UPDATE: If you have a lot of comments, you might have to refresh your comments and click “Check for Spam” a few times in order to go through the entire batch.

And you don’t have to have had Akismet in the past, so this works with new installations too. Akismet is a live saver…. as both a preventative measure and as a spam solution.


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  1. avatar
    Shelley Seale says:

    Yes, I found the same thing as Marco. Is there any way for automatically scanning previously approved comments? I bought a site that has more than 10,000 approved comments, most of them spam. What is the easiest way for me to delete all those?

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