Data Scrubbing: Definition, Purpose and Benefits

Data scrubbing is an essential component of data management that is often overlooked. It is the process of purifying data to ensure its accuracy and completeness, and is an integral part of any successful data strategy. Data scrubbing helps identify and remove data errors, inconsistencies, and duplicates from a dataset, which can have serious implications on the quality of the data. By ensuring data accuracy and completeness through data scrubbing, organizations can ensure their data is reliable and can be used to draw accurate conclusions and inform decisions.
Data scrubbing is a labor-intensive process, but it can have a significant return on investment. Data scrubbing can save organizations time and money by reducing the amount of time spent analyzing and cleaning up data. It can also minimize legal and financial risks associated with incorrect or incomplete data. Additionally, data scrubbing can help organizations improve the reliability of their reporting and analysis, and provide better customer experiences thanks to more accurate insights.

What is Data Scrubbing | Meaning of Data Scrub | Definition of Data Scrub | Technical Vocabulary

What common errors can you fix with data scrubbing?

Data scrubbing can be used to fix a number of frequent mistakes, such as:

These errors might happen for several reasons. Systems with numerous manual data entry fields, for instance, may result in more typos or inconsistencies in the absence of specific guidelines. Organizations may also combine systems, which may result in duplicate data or inconsistent data depending on how users entered data into each system.

What is data scrubbing?

Fixing data in a database is the process of “data scrubbing.” This entails going over the data that is currently saved, correcting any mistakes, deleting unnecessary information, and adding details to ensure accuracy. Companies may choose to manually clean their data by going over their most recent records or by using a software program that can look for common problems.

Benefits of data scrubbing

You can benefit from data cleansing in a number of ways:

How to scrub data

Here are some steps you can take to scrub data:

1. Audit your records

You might carry out an audit on your database prior to data correction. This can assist you in defining the scope of your project and identifying common problems. You could conduct this audit manually or with the aid of a scrubbing tool. You could identify the various databases or systems where you keep your data, who enters and updates it, and what a good database should look like during this audit.

2. Create rules

Having strict guidelines for data input and management can keep your records accurate and consistent once you are aware of your common problems and the locations where you store your data. You might define items like:

Your set of guidelines will help you maintain your data after the scrub as well as guide you when making corrections to it. Consider business goals when creating this list. For instance, to reduce missing data and address pricing issues, you might include specific dollar formatting and guarantee that each product has a price. To decide which data would be most useful to include, you might meet with several teams.

3. Correct the data

You can use your rules to manually fix your data or look into automated tools to fix them. Adding missing data, correcting typos, adding metadata, or removing duplicate records are some examples. You could assign a different team to this task, one that is not typically involved in data entry, to change any records objectively in accordance with the established rules. Consider updating the data in just one system or after the merge if you’re merging systems or decommissioning one to make sure you only fix mistakes once, in the right place.

4. Validate the data

Once the data has been corrected, validation can be used to make sure everything is accurate. This is particularly crucial if you used software to clean your data because it might only adhere to strict guidelines and not catch every problem, such as correctness. You might have identified and entered product data for each item you sell, but you might need professionals to confirm that each item’s specifications or metadata are accurate.

5. Create reports

You can make reports using your data in a variety of databases or systems. Reports from software tools that perform scrubs may also detail the issues found and the progress being made to fix them. If you want to perform a data scrub on a regular basis, you can use this to learn how long it might take and how much it might cost. Reports can also reveal trends, such as where particular data fields are more frequently having problems.

6. Communicate requirements

Once your scrub is finished, you can think about how to present your findings and change any procedures or documentation to help prevent some of the common problems. To assign specific roles for entering data, identify any technical support resources you might need, and create documentation for data requirements, you might meet with leadership. These can all help you save time and money during a subsequent data scrub as well as help data quality in the future.


What is scrubbing of data?

Data validation, data enhancement, and the removal of typographical errors are all possible components of the data cleansing process. This will continue until the reported data satisfies the criteria for good data quality, which include validity, accuracy, completeness, consistency, and uniformity.

What is the difference between data cleansing and data scrubbing?

There are seven key purposes data cleaning should serve in delivering useful end-user data:
  1. Eliminate Errors.
  2. Eliminate Redundancy.
  3. Increase Data Reliability.
  4. Deliver Accuracy.
  5. Ensure Consistency.
  6. Assure Completeness.
  7. Provide Feedback for Improvements.

Is data scrubbing necessary?

What are the Benefits of Data Cleansing?
  • Improved decision making. Quality data deteriorates at an alarming rate.
  • Boost results and revenue. …
  • Save money and reduce waste. …
  • Save time and increase productivity. …
  • Protect reputation. …
  • Minimise compliance risks.

How do you use data scrubbing?

Data Cleaning Checklist ✔️
  • Are values prone to error?
  • Do we have the same unit for the data?
  • Is there consistency in the meaning of data?
  • Do you have any missing values in your data? If so, why are they missing, and what can you do to fix it?
  • Is the same value recorded in the same way everywhere?
  • Are there any duplicates?

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