Cleanse is one of the least understood Summoner Spells in League of Legends. You rarely see a player pick up Cleanse unless they want to counter someone like Twisted Fate. But most of the time, players aren’t really sure what Cleanse can remove and what it can’t remove. And that’s why Cleanse is one of the most underused Summoner Spells in the game too.
However, Riot Games have made it pretty clear what Cleanse does. But if you’ve never researched how Cleanse really works in LoL, you might not know how it can benefit you. So let me spare you the time and tell you exactly what you need to know about Cleanse in League of Legends.
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How Does Cleanse Work in League of Legends?
If you take a closer look at the Cleanse tooltip, it’s pretty clear what it does – It helps you clear crowd control and increases your tenacity for a couple of seconds. And how does it do that?
When you use Cleanse in League of Legends, the Spell instantly removes all crowd control effects from your champion. However, there are a few exceptions. Cleanse can’t remove Airborne, Nearsight (blind), and Suppression effects. It also removes other Summoner Spells like Ignite or Exhaust.
After the initial removal of the debuff, Cleanse grants you 65% tenacity for 3 seconds. And all the slows, stuns, or fear that might come after you’ve cleansed yourself are 65% less effective.
However, the problem with Cleanse arises in particular situations, not in its explanation. You see, we don’t always know what each CC ability in League of Legends technically is.
For example, Mordekaiser’s ultimate is a suppression effect that traps your champion in a closed area. However, your champion can freely move and cast abilities within this area. Another suppression effect is Malzahar’s ultimate, which stuns your champion and doesn’t allow you to move or cast abilities. These two suppression effects have nothing in common!
So unless you know what each crowd control ability in League of Legends really is, you won’t know if you can Cleanse it or not. But if you don’t want to waste your Cleanse, I’ll give you a table to help you learn faster.
What Can Cleanse Remove in LoL?
|Cleanse Can Remove||Example Ability / Explanation|
|Blind||Teemo’s Q, Blinding Dart|
|Charm||Ahri’s E, Charm|
|Fear||Nocturne’s E, Unspeakable Horror|
|Taunt||Rammus’ E, Frenzying Taunt|
|Cripple||Malphite’s E, Ground Slam|
|Disarm||Quinn’s Q, Blinding Assault|
|Drowsy||Zoe’s E, Sleepy Trouble Bubble|
|Sleep||Lillia’s R, Lilting Lullaby|
|Root||Morgana’s Q, Dark Binding|
|Silence||Malzahar’s Q, Call of the Void|
|Slow||Ashe’s W, Volley|
|Stun||Twisted Fate’s W, Pick a Card|
|Ignite||Removes the DoT but not the Grevious Wound effects|
|Exhaust||Removes it completely|
|Chilling Smite||Removes it completely|
|Challenging Smite||Doesn’t remove the true damage burn.|
Here’s a table of things Cleanse can remove in LoL:
Even though these are all categories of disables Cleanse can remove, it can be tough to know whether it can help you in an actual game.
For example, the tooltip of Cleanse states that it doesn’t remove Nearsight effects. Quinn’s Q, Blinding Assault is an ability that reduces your champion’s area of view (Nearsight) and also applies a disarm effect. So when you use Cleanse while under these effects, you’ll only cleanse the disarm effect and not the nearsight.
We’re used to thinking that Quinn’s Q and Teemo’s Q have the same effect in League. But this is simply not true. Cleanse can completely remove Teemo’s Q from the target, but it can’t help you much against Quinn’s or Graves’ nearsight.
So, let’s dive into specific champions and see if you can cleanse their abilities.
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Cleanse vs. Specific Champions
Can You Cleanse Malzahar’s Ultimate?
Cleanse doesn’t work against Malzahar’s ultimate, Nether Grasp. This ability is a suppression effect and can’t be removed with Cleanse. During its channeling of 2.5 seconds, your Cleanse is disabled and can’t be used.
If you use Cleanse before Malzhar ults you and you have 65% bonus tenacity, you still won’t reduce the duration of his ultimate. Tenacity doesn’t reduce the power of suppression effects either.
Can You Cleanse Morde’s Ultimate?
Mordekaiser’s ultimate is another suppression effect. You can’t Cleanse Morde’s ult once you’re inside the Realm of Death. It’s pointless to play with Cleanse against Mordekaiser, so you should choose something else in champion select.
Can You Cleanse Fizz’s Ultimate?
Fizz’s ultimate, Chum the Waters, is an ability of three parts. First, Fizz throws a fish towards you. Second, the fish attaches to your champion, slowing you down for a couple of seconds. And third, the fish erupts, knocking you up and dealing magic damage.
If you use Cleanse while Fizz’s ult is on you, you’ll only remove the slow effect. The fish will still be attached to your champion, and it will damage regardless of what you do. That’s why Cleanse isn’t a good tool against Fizz either.
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Other Popular Questions About Cleanse
Can You Cleanse Silence?
Yes, Cleanse removes all silence effects from your champion. While all of your other abilities are silenced, Cleanse is available for use. Cleansing the silence effect can be pretty helpful in certain situations, so it’s a great way to counter someone like Malzahar.
Can You Cleanse Exhaust?
Cleanse removes all effects from Exhaust. This includes the slow effect as well as the damage reduction effect. You can completely outplay an opponent if you Cleanse his Exhaust immediately after he uses it.
However, if you use Cleanse before his Exhaust while you still have 65% bonus tenacity, you’ll only reduce the slow effect by 65%. Tenacity doesn’t work against damage reduction effects.
Does Cleanse Work Against Mark?
This is an ARAM-specific question, but it’s worth knowing.
Cleanse can’t remove Mark in ARAM. Once the enemy champion hits you with Mark, Cleanse can’t help you. You can try removing some of the effects that might follow with Cleanse, but not Mark itself.
Even though it might look confusing and overly complicated, believe me, it’s not. Once you start to differentiate between the different categories and subcategories of disables and removals in League of Legends, it’s easy to know whether you can Cleanse them or not. And the same goes with QSS. If you know what QSS can remove, you’ll be a much better player when using the item.
Good luck and have fun!