How to delete the contents of a folder?


How can I delete the contents of a local folder in Python?

The current project is for Windows, but I would like to see *nix also.

Asked By: UnkwnTech



import os, shutil
folder = '/path/to/folder'
for filename in os.listdir(folder):
    file_path = os.path.join(folder, filename)
        if os.path.isfile(file_path) or os.path.islink(file_path):
        elif os.path.isdir(file_path):
    except Exception as e:
        print('Failed to delete %s. Reason: %s' % (file_path, e))
Answered By: Nick Stinemates

You might be better off using os.walk() for this.

os.listdir() doesn’t distinguish files from directories and you will quickly get into trouble trying to unlink these. There is a good example of using os.walk() to recursively remove a directory here, and hints on how to adapt it to your circumstances.

Answered By: mhawke

You can delete the folder itself, as well as all its contents, using shutil.rmtree:

import shutil

shutil.rmtree(path, ignore_errors=False, onerror=None)

Delete an entire directory tree; path must point to a directory (but not a symbolic link to a directory). If ignore_errors is true, errors resulting from failed removals will be ignored; if false or omitted, such errors are handled by calling a handler specified by onerror or, if that is omitted, they raise an exception.

Answered By: Oli

Expanding on mhawke’s answer this is what I’ve implemented. It removes all the content of a folder but not the folder itself. Tested on Linux with files, folders and symbolic links, should work on Windows as well.

import os
import shutil

for root, dirs, files in os.walk('/path/to/folder'):
    for f in files:
        os.unlink(os.path.join(root, f))
    for d in dirs:
        shutil.rmtree(os.path.join(root, d))
Answered By: Iker Jimenez

You can simply do this:

import os
import glob

files = glob.glob('/YOUR/PATH/*')
for f in files:

You can of course use an other filter in you path, for example : /YOU/PATH/*.txt for removing all text files in a directory.

Answered By: Blueicefield

Using rmtree and recreating the folder could work, but I have run into errors when deleting and immediately recreating folders on network drives.

The proposed solution using walk does not work as it uses rmtree to remove folders and then may attempt to use os.unlink on the files that were previously in those folders. This causes an error.

The posted glob solution will also attempt to delete non-empty folders, causing errors.

I suggest you use:

folder_path = '/path/to/folder'
for file_object in os.listdir(folder_path):
    file_object_path = os.path.join(folder_path, file_object)
    if os.path.isfile(file_object_path) or os.path.islink(file_object_path):
Answered By: jgoeders


  • removes all symbolic links
    • dead links
    • links to directories
    • links to files
  • removes subdirectories
  • does not remove the parent directory


for filename in os.listdir(dirpath):
    filepath = os.path.join(dirpath, filename)
    except OSError:

As many other answers, this does not try to adjust permissions to enable removal of files/directories.

Answered By: Jon Chu

Using os.scandir and context manager protocol in Python 3.6+:

import os
import shutil

with os.scandir(target_dir) as entries:
    for entry in entries:
        if entry.is_dir() and not entry.is_symlink():

Earlier versions of Python:

import os
import shutil

# Gather directory contents
contents = [os.path.join(target_dir, i) for i in os.listdir(target_dir)]

# Iterate and remove each item in the appropriate manner
[shutil.rmtree(i) if os.path.isdir(i) and not os.path.islink(i) else os.remove(i) for i in contents]
Answered By: Jacob Wan

I konw it’s an old thread but I have found something interesting from the official site of python. Just for sharing another idea for removing of all contents in a directory. Because I have some problems of authorization when using shutil.rmtree() and I don’t want to remove the directory and recreate it. The address original is Hope that could help someone.

def emptydir(top):
    if(top == '/' or top == "\"): return
        for root, dirs, files in os.walk(top, topdown=False):
            for name in files:
                os.remove(os.path.join(root, name))
            for name in dirs:
                os.rmdir(os.path.join(root, name))
Answered By: Sawyer

I used to solve the problem this way:

import shutil
import os

Answered By: ProfHase85

As a oneliner:

import os

# Python 2.7
map( os.unlink, (os.path.join( mydir,f) for f in os.listdir(mydir)) )

# Python 3+
list( map( os.unlink, (os.path.join( mydir,f) for f in os.listdir(mydir)) ) )

A more robust solution accounting for files and directories as well would be (2.7):

def rm(f):
    if os.path.isdir(f): return os.rmdir(f)
    if os.path.isfile(f): return os.unlink(f)
    raise TypeError, 'must be either file or directory'

map( rm, (os.path.join( mydir,f) for f in os.listdir(mydir)) )
Answered By: fmonegaglia

Yet Another Solution:

import sh
Answered By: Robin Winslow

Notes: in case someone down voted my answer, I have something to explain here.

  1. Everyone likes short ‘n’ simple answers. However, sometimes the reality is not so simple.
  2. Back to my answer. I know shutil.rmtree() could be used to delete a directory tree. I’ve used it many times in my own projects. But you must realize that the directory itself will also be deleted by shutil.rmtree(). While this might be acceptable for some, it’s not a valid answer for deleting the contents of a folder (without side effects).
  3. I’ll show you an example of the side effects. Suppose that you have a directory with customized owner and mode bits, where there are a lot of contents. Then you delete it with shutil.rmtree() and rebuild it with os.mkdir(). And you’ll get an empty directory with default (inherited) owner and mode bits instead. While you might have the privilege to delete the contents and even the directory, you might not be able to set back the original owner and mode bits on the directory (e.g. you’re not a superuser).
  4. Finally, be patient and read the code. It’s long and ugly (in sight), but proven to be reliable and efficient (in use).

Here’s a long and ugly, but reliable and efficient solution.

It resolves a few problems which are not addressed by the other answerers:

  • It correctly handles symbolic links, including not calling shutil.rmtree() on a symbolic link (which will pass the os.path.isdir() test if it links to a directory; even the result of os.walk() contains symbolic linked directories as well).
  • It handles read-only files nicely.

Here’s the code (the only useful function is clear_dir()):

import os
import stat
import shutil

def _remove_readonly(fn, path_, excinfo):
    # Handle read-only files and directories
    if fn is os.rmdir:
        os.chmod(path_, stat.S_IWRITE)
    elif fn is os.remove:
        os.lchmod(path_, stat.S_IWRITE)

def force_remove_file_or_symlink(path_):
    except OSError:
        os.lchmod(path_, stat.S_IWRITE)

# Code from shutil.rmtree()
def is_regular_dir(path_):
        mode = os.lstat(path_).st_mode
    except os.error:
        mode = 0
    return stat.S_ISDIR(mode)

def clear_dir(path_):
    if is_regular_dir(path_):
        # Given path is a directory, clear its content
        for name in os.listdir(path_):
            fullpath = os.path.join(path_, name)
            if is_regular_dir(fullpath):
                shutil.rmtree(fullpath, onerror=_remove_readonly)
        # Given path is a file or a symlink.
        # Raise an exception here to avoid accidentally clearing the content
        # of a symbolic linked directory.
        raise OSError("Cannot call clear_dir() on a symbolic link")
Answered By: Rockallite

This should do the trick just using the OS module to list and then remove!

import os
DIR = os.list('Folder')
for i in range(len(DIR)):

Worked for me, any problems let me know!

Answered By: B. Filer

Answer for a limited, specific situation:
assuming you want to delete the files while maintainig the subfolders tree, you could use a recursive algorithm:

import os

def recursively_remove_files(f):
    if os.path.isfile(f):
    elif os.path.isdir(f):
        for fi in os.listdir(f):
            recursively_remove_files(os.path.join(f, fi))


Maybe slightly off-topic, but I think many would find it useful

Answered By: fmonegaglia

I resolved the issue with rmtree makedirs by adding time.sleep() between:

if os.path.isdir(folder_location):


os.makedirs(folder_location, 0o777)
Answered By: physlexic

If you are using a *nix system, why not leverage the system command?

import os
path = 'folder/to/clean'
os.system('rm -rf %s/*' % path)
Answered By: silverbullettt

Use the method bellow to remove the contents of a directory, not the directory itself:

import os
import shutil

def remove_contents(path):
    for c in os.listdir(path):
        full_path = os.path.join(path, c)
        if os.path.isfile(full_path):
Answered By: amrezzd

To delete all the files inside the directory as well as its sub-directories, without removing the folders themselves, simply do this:

import os
mypath = "my_folder" #Enter your path here
for root, dirs, files in os.walk(mypath, topdown=False):
    for file in files:
        os.remove(os.path.join(root, file))

    # Add this block to remove folders
    for dir in dirs:
        os.rmdir(os.path.join(root, dir))

# Add this line to remove the root folder at the end
Answered By: Kevin Patel

I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the awesome pathlib to do this job.

If you only want to remove files in a directory it can be a oneliner

from pathlib import Path

[f.unlink() for f in Path("/path/to/folder").glob("*") if f.is_file()] 

To also recursively remove directories you can write something like this:

from pathlib import Path
from shutil import rmtree

for path in Path("/path/to/folder").glob("**/*"):
    if path.is_file():
    elif path.is_dir():
Answered By: Husky

Pretty intuitive way of doing it:

import shutil, os

def remove_folder_contents(path):

Answered By: Manrique

the easiest way to delete all files in a folder/remove all files

import os
files = os.listdir(yourFilePath)
for f in files:
    os.remove(yourFilePath + f)
Answered By: PyBoss

Well, I think this code is working. It will not delete the folder and you can use this code to delete files having the particular extension.

import os
import glob

files = glob.glob(r'path/*')
for items in files:
Answered By: Kush Modi

I had to remove files from 3 separate folders inside a single parent directory:


This simple code did the trick for me: (I’m on Unix)

import os
import glob

folders = glob.glob('./path/to/parentdir/*')
for fo in folders:
  file = glob.glob(f'{fo}/*')
  for f in file:

Hope this helps.

Answered By: NicoBar

To delete all files inside a folder a I use:

import os
for i in os.listdir():
Answered By: andrec

use this function

import os
import glob

def truncate(path):
    files = glob.glob(path+'/*.*')
    for f in files:

Answered By: dazzafact

Other methods I tried with os and glob package, I had permission issue but with this I had no permission issue plus one less package usage. Probably fail if sub directory exist.

import os

def remove_files_in_folder(folderPath):
        # loop through all the contents of folder
        for filename in os.listdir(folderPath):
            # remove the file


Folder structure

  +-- src
       +-- inputFiles
            +-- tmp
                 +-- file1.txt
                 +-- img1.png
Answered By: zorro
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