Software & Apps MS Office How to Purge Deleted Messages Automatically in Outlook Automatic purge of emails works when you're online by Heinz Tschabitscher Writer A former freelance contributor who has reviewed hundreds of email programs and services since 1997. our editorial process Heinz Tschabitscher Updated on January 31, 2020 MS Office Outlook Word Excel Powerpoint Tweet Share Email Outlook doesn't immediately purge messages in the Deleted Items folder. This gives you the opportunity to undelete any items in the folder that were deleted by mistake. However, messages accumulate in the Deleted Items folder until the messages are purged manually every week or so or purged automatically on a set schedule. Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, and Outlook for Microsoft 365. Purge Deleted Messages Automatically in Outlook To automatically purge messages in the Outlook Deleted Items folder: Open Outlook and select the Deleted Items folder. Go to the Folder tab and select AutoArchive Settings. In the Deleted Items Properties dialog box, select Archive this folder using these settings. Change the Clean out items older than setting to increase or decrease the amount of time before deleted items are permanently purged. Give yourself time to recover messages that were accidentally deleted. Set a purge delay of a few days, a week, or a month depending on how long you want to keep deleted messages in the Deleted Items folder. Select Permanently delete old items. Select OK to finish and save the settings. Messages you delete are moved to the Deleted Items folder and are marked for deletion. After the time interval you've set, the messages are purged automatically. Outlook does not purge messages automatically when you're working offline. Messages are purged when you open Outlook when you're working online. Purging Deleted Messages Manually If you don't want to automatically purge messages, use the manual approach: Right-click the Deleted Items folder. Select Empty Folder. In the confirmation dialog box, select Yes. All items in the Deleted Items folder are purged immediately.