Scourgify, or the Scouring Charm was a charm used in the Harry Potter universe to clean things. This spell removed all the dirt or unwanted particles that were on the surface that needed to be cleaned.

The Definitive Glossary for Harry Potter

Scourgify, also known as the Scouring Charm, was a spell used to clean something by clearing all dirt and unwanted particles that were present on it. It was one of the most useful spells for household and everyday use and was known for being quite easy to learn. It was also used by wizards and witches for several other applications. One of the other uses of the Scouring charm was to remove small infestations of the bundimun. Bundimun were many-eyed creatures that were green in color and infested wet and moist places. While larger infestations required assistance from pest control authorities from the Ministry of Magic, smaller infestations could easily be cleaned with the help of the Scouring Charm.

Another popular use of the Scouring Charm was as a punishment for children or anyone who swore or spoke unwanted things as the Scouring charm when targeted at the mouth of a person with the help of a wand, would cause a person’s mouth to fill with soap or soap water.


Scourgify is derived from the English scour and -ify with the latter being a common English suffix meaning “to make”. The word “scour” means to clean, so it is safe to assume that Scourgify, in this context, means to make clean or to clean.


The Scouring Charm was a spell used quite regularly in most wizarding households. It was also referred to as the cleaning charm in some cases, but there existed an entirely different charm known solely as the cleaning charm. Scourgify was the “go to” spell for cleaning up the house and ridding places of smaller infestations of bundimun. However, there existed other charms like the Cleaning Charm and the Tergeo charm, also known as the wiping charm, which may have been the counterspell to the blackboard writing spell. As previously mentioned, it was also used sometimes to fill a person’s mouth with soap, especially as a punishment for swearing. 

The Scouring Charm used the incantation “Scourgify” which is also its other name. It had a wand movement that resembled the English letter ‘S’ and was known to not produce any light when incanted. This may be because it was a relatively simple charm with very little energy required to expend. For instance, stronger charms like Expelliarmus or the Killing Curse would expend a bright strong hue of light.  

Usage in the Harry Potter Universe

The Scouring Charm or Scourgify has been used on multiple occasions in the Harry Potter universe. One of the first known uses of this spell is when Hermione Granger used this spell and taught Neville Longbottom to use it so that he could clean up frog guts from under his fingernails. 

However, the first use of this spell in the Harry Potter universe as mentioned in the Harry Potter series was when James Potter used it on Severus Snape when they were both studying in Hogwarts. James was bullying Snape and used this spell to make soap come out of his mouth and prevent him from talking.

In the videogame Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, in the Hogwarts school year of 1987-1988, Professor Flitwick taught this charm to the fourth years and Jacob’s sibling used this to clear Bundimun secretions in Hagrid’s hut when he visited.

Nymphadora Tonks used this spell to clean Hedwig’s cage in Harry Potter’s house in Privet Drive. She had come there along with several other members of the Order of the Phoenix to take Harry to Grimmauld Place, the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. She had entered the room with her wand performing the Lumos charm and then saw Harry after which she used Nox to switch off the light from the wand and helped him clean out the feathers from the cage but wasn’t successful in cleaning it perfectly. She later claimed that she was not very good with these “household” charms.

Later, in the same year on the Hogwarts Express, Ginny used the Scourgify charm to clean Stinksap that had been secreted by Neville’s Mimbulus Mimbletonia. 

Scourgify in the Muggle World of Coding

Scourgify, inspired by the Harry Potter Universe, is a way of cleaning up entries in a Python file. Python is a computer programming language used in the Muggle world to give instructions that a computer can understand. Scourgify, introduced in the Harvard CS50 course, ensures that every entry in a file is compiled in a desired order. According to the Harvard CS50 website, for instance, if the names of the students of Hogwarts existed in a file along with their houses as follows:

  • “Abbott, Hannah”, Hufflepuff
  • “Bell, Katie”, Gryffindor
  • “Bones, Susan”, Hufflepuff
  • “Boot, Terry”, Ravenclaw
  • “Brown, Lavender”, Gryffindor
  • “Bulstrode, Millicent”, Slytherin
  • “Chang, Cho”, Ravenclaw
  • “Clearwater, Penelope”, Ravenclaw
  • “Crabbe, Vincent”, Slytherin
  • “Creevey, Colin”, Gryffindor
  • “Creevey, Dennis”, Gryffindor
  • “Diggory, Cedric”, Hufflepuff
  • “Edgecombe, Marietta”, Ravenclaw
  • “Finch-Fletchley, Justin”, Hufflepuff
  • “Finnigan, Seamus”, Gryffindor
  • “Goldstein, Anthony”, Ravenclaw
  • “Goyle, Gregory”, Slytherin
  • “Granger, Hermione”, Gryffindor
  • “Johnson, Angelina”, Gryffindor
  • “Jordan, Lee”, Gryffindor
  • “Longbottom, Neville”, Gryffindor
  • “Lovegood, Luna”, Ravenclaw
  • “Lupin, Remus”, Gryffindor
  • “Malfoy, Draco”, Slytherin
  • “Malfoy, Scorpius”, Slytherin
  • “Macmillan, Ernie”, Hufflepuff
  • “McGonagall, Minerva”, Gryffindor
  • “Midgen, Eloise”, Gryffindor
  • “McLaggen, Cormac”, Gryffindor
  • “Montague, Graham”, Slytherin
  • “Nott, Theodore”, Slytherin
  • “Parkinson, Pansy”, Slytherin
  • “Patil, Padma”, Gryffindor
  • “Patil, Parvati”, Gryffindor
  • “Potter, Harry”, Gryffindor
  • “Riddle, Tom”, Slytherin
  • “Robins, Demelza”, Gryffindor
  • “Scamander, Newt”, Hufflepuff
  • “Slughorn, Horace”, Slytherin
  • “Smith, Zacharias”, Hufflepuff
  • “Snape, Severus”, Slytherin
  • “Spinnet, Alicia”, Gryffindor
  • “Sprout, Pomona”, Hufflepuff
  • “Thomas, Dean”, Gryffindor
  • “Vane, Romilda”, Gryffindor
  • “Warren, Myrtle”, Ravenclaw
  • “Weasley, Fred”, Gryffindor
  • “Weasley, George”, Gryffindor
  • “Weasley, Ginny”, Gryffindor
  • “Weasley, Percy”, Gryffindor
  • “Weasley, Ron”, Gryffindor
  • “Wood, Oliver”, Gryffindor
  • “Zabini, Blaise”, Slytherin

This list, if it were to be used to send Hogwarts Acceptance letters to each student, would adapt the existing order of the name with the surname first, which would be inconvenient. However, using Scourgify would clean up that unordered format, thereby giving the desired result.


What does the spell Scourgify do?

The spell Scourgify cleans up anything that has been dirtied by unwanted particles. Scourgify could be used to clean a surface that had dust, or any other unwanted substance. Scourgify was also used to clean small bundimun infestations and to prevent someone from swearing as the use of the Scourgify spell would literally create soap water in someone’s mouth.

What are the cleaning spells in Harry Potter?

There were several cleaning spells in the Harry Potter series. Scourgify was one of the most popular cleaning spells. Other cleaning spells included the Cleaning Charm and the Tergeo Charm which was also known as the Wiping Charm.

What does Scourgify mean?

Scourgify is an English word that literally translates into “to make clean” as scour is an English word for “clean” and -ify is a common suffix for “to make.” The name of the Harry Potter spell for cleaning, therefore, makes a lot of sense even from the perspective of an English reader, despite most nomenclature for spells in the Harry Potter series being in Latin or other Romance languages.

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