How to Empty Spam and Trash Fast in Gmail

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Efficient cleaning for your Gmail "Trash" and "Spam" folders. ©Peter Heath; CC BY 2.0 license

You can get rid of emails in Gmail’s Trash and Junk labels with a few clicks.

Taking Out the Trash (and Junk)

Even if you do not delete, Gmail will do it for you for some messages; junk messages that go straight to the Spam label.

That way, and especially if you delete in bulk, lots of mail can end up in the trash and spam folders. These messages still count towards your Gmail storage quota, they may still be downloaded to IMAP email programs, and they are still there to irritate you perhaps.

Empty the “Spam” and “Trash” Folders Fast in Gmail

To delete all messages in the Trash label in Gmail:

  1. Go to the Trash label.
  2. Click Empty Trash now.
  3. Now click OK under Confirm deleting messages.

To delete all messages in the Spam label in Gmail:

  1. Open the Spam folder.
  2. Click Delete all spam messages now.
  3. Now click OK under Confirm deleting messages.

Empty Trash and Spam in Gmail on iOS (iPhone, iPad)

To have all mail trashed or junk mail deleted fast in Gmail for iOS:

  1. Open the Trash or Spam folder.
  2. Tap EMPTY TRASH NOW or EMPTY SPAM NOW respectively.
  3. Click OK under You are about to prementently delete all items. Do you want to continue?.

As an alternative using iOS Mail:

  1. Set up Gmail in iOS Mail using IMAP.
  2. Use Delete All in the Trash and Spam folders.
    • Empty the Spam folder to the Trash first, then delete both from that folder.

    Permanently Delete an Email in Gmail

    You need not throw out all the trash, of course, to get rid of one unwanted email.

    To permanently delete a message from Gmail:

    1. Make sure the message is in the Gmail Trash folder.
      • Search for the email, for instance, and delete it:
        1. Type terms to locate the message in the Gmail search field.
        2. ​​Click the Show search options triangle (▾) in the Gmail search field.
        3. Make sure Mail & Spam & Trash is selected under Search on the search sheet.
        4. Click Search Mail (🔍).​
          • ​​Messages already in the  Trash folder will sport  a trashcan icon (🗑).
    1. Open the Trash label.
    2. ​Make sure any email you want permanently deleted is checked.
      • ​​You can also open an individual message.
      • You do have to locate emails you want to delete in the list by eye; unfortunately, you cannot rely on Gmail search here.
    3. ​Click Delete forever in the toolbar.

    (Tested with Gmail in a desktop browser and Gmail for iOS 5.0)