How to Auto Empty Trash in Outlook

Empty the Deleted Items folder automatically

When you delete messages from your Outlook Inbox or another folder, the messages move to the Deleted Items folder. These deleted messages are stored in the Deleted Items folder until you empty the folder. You can either manually empty the Deleted Items folder when you want or automatically empty the Deleted Items folder when you close Outlook.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook for Microsoft 365, Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, and Outlook Online.

How to Empty Trash in Outlook

At any time, you can empty the trash folder in Outlook manually. Right-click the Deleted Items folder or the Trash folder and choose Empty Folder.

Configure an advanced setting if you want the Outlook application to empty the Deleted Items or Trash folder automatically every time you exit the app.

If you have an Microsoft 365 email account, Outlook.com email account (including related domains, such as hotmail.com or live.com) or an Exchange email account, you'll have a Deleted Items folder. If you're using a different type of account in Outlook (such as Gmail or Yahoo), the folder will be named Trash instead.

  1. Open Outlook.

  2. Go to the File tab.

  3. Select Options.

    Screenshot of File tab screen in Outlook
  4. In the Outlook Options dialog box, select Advanced.

    Screenshot of Outlook Options with Advanced tab selected
  5. In the Outlook start and exit section, select the Empty Deleted Items folders when exiting Outlook check box.

    Screenshot of Empty Deleted Items folder check box
  6. Select OK to apply the changes and close the window.

When you close the Outlook window, a message will appear asking, Do you want to permanently delete everything in the "Deleted Items" (or "Trash") folder for all accounts?

If you wish to close the program and empty the trash folder, select Yes. If you have second thoughts about emptying the Deleted Items folder, select No. Outlook will still close, but the next time you start it, the Deleted Items folder will still contain the items that were there when you closed the program.

If the trash is already empty, the notification will not appear before Outlook closes.

Do you want to permanently delete everything" warning message.

Empty the Trash in Outlook Online

The Outlook.com Deleted Items folder cannot be emptied automatically. You'll need to empty the trash manually.

  1. Right-click the Deleted Items folder.

    Screenshot of Empty Folder in Outlook.com
  2. Choose Empty folder.

Empty the Trash Using Outlook for Mac

In Outlook for Mac, manually empty the trash folder by pressing and holding down the Control key, choosing the Trash folder and selecting Empty Folder.