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Media File Cleaner


Clean your Media Library and Uploads directory from the files which are not used. First, backup all your files and your database. You cannot trust any plugin or any tool to do this automatically. If you don’t know what you are doing, simply do not do it. The plugin will go through all your files and will detect if:

  • the physical file is linked to a media in the media library
  • the media is used in a post, post meta, WP gallery or sidebar widget
  • a retina image is orphan (without the base image)

UNIQUE PLUGIN. Such a plugin is difficult to create and to maintain. If you understand WordPress, you probably know why. This plugin tries its best to help you. Get used to it and you will get awesome results. This is the only plugin to propose those functions and even a dashboard to cleanup your WordPress install from unused files.

DASHBOARD. Those file will be shown in a specific dashboard. At this point, it will be up to you to delete them. Files detected as un-used are added to a specific dashboard where you can choose to trash them. They will be then moved to a trash internal to the plugin. After more testing, you can trash them definitely.

FREE / PRO. In the standard/free version, it is only possible to delete those files one by one. Why? Too many people install free plugins quickly, to try them quickly, and can mess-up their installs as quickly. If you want to work more seriously with that plugin and if it works for you with the free version, you can consider upgrading to the PRO one and delete all your files at once.

AGAIN, BE CAREFUL. Again, this plugin deletes files so… be careful! Backup is not only important, it is necessary. Don’t use this plugin if you don’t understand how WordPress works.

It has been tested with WP Retina 2x and WPML.

Languages: English, French.


  • Media -> Media Cleaner


  1. Upload media-file-cleaner to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory
  2. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
  3. Go in the Settings -> Media File Cleaner and check the appropriate options
  4. Go in Media -> Media Cleaner


Is it safe?

No! ๐Ÿ™‚ How can a plugin that deletes files be 100% safe? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I did my best (and will improve it in every way I can) but it is impossible to cover all the cases. On a normal WordPress install it should work perfectly, however other themes and plugins can do whatever they want do and register files in their own way, not always going through the API. I ran it on a few big websites and it performed very well. Make a backup (database + uploads directory) then run it. Again, I insist: BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP! Don’t come here to complain that it deleted your files, because, yes, it deletes files. The plugin tries its best to help you and it is the only plugin that does it well.

How to clean WordPress

Manu shared with me what he wrote to his development team in order to clean WordPress. Here it is:

How to restore the WordPress installation to full health:
1 – Do a manual full backup with the plugin BackupBuddy.
2 – Use the plugin WP Maintenance Mode to enable the maintenance mode. This will serve a static page to everyone, except administrators.
3 – Run the plugin WP Clean Up and delete all the drafts – Check if there is any draft that is not a RSS imported post (categorized as โ€˜imported-photoโ€™).
4 – DELETE orphan attachments with the following query:

DELETE FROM syl_db.wp_posts
WHERE post_type = ‘attachment’
AND post_parent NOT IN (
SELECT ID FROM syl_db.wp_posts WHERE post_type <> ‘attachment’
) as sub_query

5 – Use the plugin WP Clean Up to dispose the โ€˜Orphan Postmetaโ€™.
5.1 – If the plugin times out, run the following query to delete the orphan postmeta.

DELETE FROM syl_db.wp_postmeta
WHERE post_id NOT IN (
SELECT ID FROM syl_db.wp_posts

6 – Run the plugin Media File Cleaner to locate and erase the orphan files in the upload folder
7 – Disable the maintenance mode.
8 – Test everything in incognito mode or in a new browser (so nothing is cached).
9 – Double test everything with another computer.
10 – Do another manual full backup with BackupBuddy.

What is ‘Reset’ doing exactly?

It re-creates the Media File Cleaner table in the database. You will need to re-run the scan after this.

I want to thank you!

Donations can be made through Paypal here: They are really rare but always welcomed ๐Ÿ™‚

I donated, can I get rid of the donation button?

Of course. I don’t like to see too many of those buttons neither ๐Ÿ˜‰ You can disable the donation buttons from all my plugins by adding this to your wp-config.php: define('WP_HIDE_DONATION_BUTTONS', true);


Excellent app with excellent support

Really useful app for WP sites that have become cluttered over the years.

The website I inherited was over 1GB. Media cleaner reduced it to 450mb.

Great app (in the right hands).

Works fine

I had a problem to initialize the plugin, but seems it’s from my too strange MySQL install. Once support contacted, we found solution and it works perfectly as expected!

Very promising

This plugin is a great help for cleaning your media library.

You should of course backup db and media – as stated – before using it – and double-check what is deleted before perfoming the permanent delete especially if you use sliders, booklets…

No functionality without paid version

No actual functionality without paying for an upgrade.

This plugin identifies media files you aren’t using, but not only prevents multiple deletes — the plugin’s express purpose — it doesn’t actually allow you to delete media files via its slow, resource-intensive interface.

Personally, I think plugins like this are not only a waste of time but a scam besides. Recommend this plugin be purged from the directory.

Excellent – Really Helped Me Clean Out Files

After reading the ratings, I decided to purchased the premium plugin. I have no problem paying for something that will really help me. This plug-in did help me and save me a great deal of time. I backed my site up and then used the plug in to remove over 1,000 images that were not linked or being used. It saved me over 25 mg of space. The plug in worked perfectly, actually, better than I expected it. After I used it on my site, I removed it. If I need it again in the future, I will easily install and activate it.

Read all 19 reviews

Contributors & Developers

“Media File Cleaner” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.


Translate “Media File Cleaner” into your language.

Interested in development?

Browse the code, check out the SVN repository, or subscribe to the development log by RSS.



  • Fix: HTML adapted to WP 4.4.
  • Fix: Doesn’t break if there is an error on the server-side. Display an alert and continue.
  • Update: Can select more than one file for non-Pro.


  • Fix: Issue with PHP 7.


  • Add: Option for resolving shortcode during analysis.
  • Update: French translation. Big thanks to Guillaume (and also for all his testing!).
  • Info: New name, fresh start. This plugin changed completely since it very first release ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Add: Delete the unused directories.
  • Add: Doesn’t break when there are too many files in the system.
  • Add: Pro version with better support.
  • Update: Improved detection of unused files.
  • Fix: UTF8 filenames skipped by default but can be scanned through an option.
  • Fix: Really many fixes ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Info: Contact me if you have been using the plugin for a long time and love it.


  • Add: Inclusion of gallery post format images.
  • Fix: Better gallery URL matching.
  • Info: Thanks to syntax53 for those improvements via GitHub ( Please review Media Cleaner if you like it. The plugin needs reviews to live. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ (


  • Fix: Cross site scripting vulnerability fixes.
  • Change: Many enhancements and fixes made by Matt ( Please thanks him ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Info: Please perform a “Reset” in the plugin dashboard after installing this new version.


  • Fix: Scan for multisite.


  • Change: options are now all enabled by default.


  • Fix: DB issue avoided trashed files from being deleted permanently.


  • Works with WP 4.


  • Gallery support.


  • I did something but not sure what.
  • Ah yeah, I got married ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Fix: IGNORE function was… ignored by the scanning process.


  • Add: thumbnails.
  • Add: IGNORE function.
  • Change: cosmetic changes.


  • Add: now detects the custom header and custom background.
  • Change: the CSS was updated to fit the new Admin theme.


  • Change: the MEDIA files are now going to the trash but the MEDIA reference in the DB is still removed permanently.


  • Stable release.


  • Change: Readme.txt.


  • Add: check the meta properties.
  • Add: check the ‘featured image’ properties.
  • Fix: keep the trash information when a new scan is started.
  • Fix: remove the DB on uninstall, not on desactivate.


  • Add: progress %.
  • Fix: issues with apostrophes in filenames.
  • Change: UI cleaning.


  • Add: options (scan files / scan media).
  • Fix: mkdir issues.
  • Change: operations are buffered by 5 (faster).


  • First release.