i have a 2.5 project that has a ton of orphan materials. how do i remove them from the blend? so they dont show up in the list?
Usually if you remove all links to those material datablocks, save your file, close Blender and reopen your file, the unused materials should be gone.
But do make sure you hold SHIFT and click the cross to remove permanently. Then save the file, close it and reopen it again.