How to Empty Spam and Trash Fast in Gmail

Don't wait 30 days for Google to take out the trash

A man vacuuming his rug.

 

Sofie Delauw / Getty Images

Even if you never empty your Trash and Spam folders, Gmail does it for you after 30 days automatically.

A lot of unwanted mail and spam can accumulate in 30 days, and these messages count toward your Gmail storage quota. They also can pose possible privacy concerns. If you don't want to wait, you can permanently delete all messages with the labels Spam and Trash quickly. Here's how:

  1. Select the Trash label. You'll find it under More, in the left sidebar of the Gmail screen.

    Gmail screen with expanded labels
  2. With Gmail keyboard shortcuts enabled, you can also reach it by pressing GL on the keyboard to create a label search and typing trash in the search field. Select Enter, and all messages labeled Trash appear.

    Type G+L to bring up a label search in Gmail
  3. Select Empty Trash now at the top of the Trash messages.

    Empty Trash Now in Gmail
  4. Select OK under Confirm deleting messages.

    Confirm message deletion in Gmail
  5. No messages should remain with the Trash label.

To delete all messages in the Spam label in Gmail:

  1. Select the Spam label in the left panel.

    Gmail inbox with Spam folder highlighted.
  2. Select Delete all spam messages now.

    Selecting to delete all spam in Gmail.
  3. Select OK under Confirm deleting messages.

    Confirmation of deleting all spam in Gmail.

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

If you access Gmail on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, you can delete all junk and spam email quickly in the Gmail app for iOS:

  1. Open the Gmail app.

  2. Use the menu icon in the left corner to view the list of labels.

    Gmail inbox on iOS Gmail app.
  3. Tap the Trash or Spam label.

    Viewing Folder labels on iOS Gmail app.
  4. Tap Empty Trash Now or Empty Spam Now.

    Viewing the Trash folder on iOS Gmail app.
  5. Select OK in the deletion confirmation screen that opens.

    Confirming the deletion of trash on iOS Gmail app.

If you access Gmail using the iOS Mail app using IMAP:

  1. Open the Mail app.

  2. Go to the list of Gmail labels by selecting < to expand view.

    Gmail inbox in iOS Mail app.
  3. Tap on the Trash or Junk label to open a list of the emails labeled as such.

    Viewing Gmail folders in iOS Mail app.
  4. Tap Edit at the top of the screen.

    The Trash folder in Gmail in iOS Mail app.
  5. Tap the circle to the left of each email you want to delete.

    Selecting an email to delete in Gmail in iOS Mail app.
  6. Select Delete.

    Deleting email in Gmail in iOS Mail app.

Permanently Delete an Email in Gmail

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

To permanently delete a single message from Gmail:

  1. Make sure the message is in the Gmail Trash folder.

    Gmail Trash Folder.
  2. Check any email you want permanently deleted, or open an individual message.

    Selecting emails to delete in Gmail.
  3. Select Delete forever in the toolbar.