How to Permanently Delete Emails in Outlook?

Last Updated on October 5, 2023 by Amit Bansal

Are you drowning in a sea of cluttered emails, struggling to keep your inbox organized and tidy?

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of permanently deleting emails in Microsoft Outlook.

While deleting emails seems straightforward, it’s essential to understand the nuances of permanent deletion to free up valuable storage space and ensure your sensitive information remains secure.

Discover the step-by-step methods to bid farewell to unwanted emails once and for all, and gain back control of your inbox with confidence.

Let’s embark on this journey to achieve an efficient and clutter-free email experience!

Understanding Outlook Email Deletion

When using Outlook, it’s important to know how to properly delete emails, especially when you need to permanently delete them.

In this section, we will explain the process of deleting emails in Outlook and some additional tips to manage your inbox efficiently.

Deleting an email in Outlook can be as simple as clicking the Delete button or pressing the Delete key on your keyboard.

This action will move the email to the Deleted Items folder. However, this does not mean the email has been permanently deleted.

To permanently delete an email, you can either press Shift + Del or go to the home tab, press, and hold Shift, and select Delete.

This will prompt a dialog box warning you that the message will be irrevocably deleted. If you wish to proceed, select Yes.

In some cases, you might want to turn off the confirmation dialog that pops up each time you permanently delete an email.

To do this, go to the File tab and follow the necessary settings to disable it. This allows for quicker deletion of emails without being constantly prompted for confirmation.

For those who use Outlook on mobile devices, deleting an email is as simple as tapping on it (or marking multiple emails) and then tapping the Trash Can icon.

This action sends the selected emails to the Trash folder. To permanently delete these emails, access the Trash folder by tapping the Account menu (three lines), then the Trash folder, and individually delete or mark multiple emails to be deleted.

In some instances, you may need to delete a large number of emails.

In such a situation, select either consecutive or nonconsecutive emails by using the Shift and Ctrl keys in combination with the Delete key.

This method allows for the efficient removal of multiple emails in one go.

By understanding how to delete emails in Outlook, be it on a computer or mobile device, we can maintain a well-organized and clutter-free inbox.

Just remember the difference between simply moving an email to the Deleted Items folder and permanently deleting it to ensure you are taking the desired action.

Delete Options in Outlook

In this section, we will discuss several options available in Outlook for permanently deleting emails.

Understanding these options will help you manage your inbox effectively and ensure that your deleted emails are not recoverable.

Delete All Emails

If you want to delete all emails in a particular folder, simply follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the folder that you want to empty.
  2. Select Delete All.
  3. Select Yes when prompted to move the messages to the Deleted Items folder.

Alternatively, you can use keyboard shortcuts to delete all messages in a folder.

Press Ctrl + A on Windows or Command + A on Mac to highlight all the messages, then press the Delete key.

Shift + Delete Method

Another way to permanently delete emails in Outlook is by using the Shift + Delete method. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Select the emails that you want to delete permanently. You can select multiple emails by holding down the Ctrl key on your keyboard while clicking on the emails you want to delete.
  2. Press Shift + Del. A dialog box will open, warning you that the message will be permanently deleted.
  3. Select Yes to confirm the deletion.

Using this method, the emails will bypass the Deleted Items folder and will be unrecoverable.

Home Tab Options

For users who prefer working with the Outlook interface, you can also permanently delete emails using the Home tab. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the emails you want to delete permanently.
  2. Go to the Home tab, press and hold Shift, and select Delete.
  3. A dialog box will open, warning you that the message will be permanently deleted.
  4. Select Yes to confirm the deletion.

By exploring these options to delete emails in Outlook, you can maintain a cleaner and more organized inbox while ensuring sensitive information is securely removed.

Why use Permanent Delete instead of Delete in Outlook?

In Microsoft Outlook, the choice between using “Delete” and “Permanent Delete” carries significant implications for email management and data security.

While the “Delete” option moves emails to the “Deleted Items” folder, “Permanent Delete” ensures that emails are permanently removed from both the inbox and the “Deleted Items” folder, leaving no chance of retrieval.

One of the primary reasons to use “Permanent Delete” is to free up storage space. When emails are merely deleted, they occupy space in the “Deleted Items” folder until it is manually emptied or automatically purged.

However, with “Permanent Delete,” emails bypass the “Deleted Items” folder, allowing for immediate space recovery.

This is especially crucial for users with limited mailbox storage or strict storage quotas, preventing unnecessary clutter and potential disruptions to incoming emails.

Additionally, “Permanent Delete” offers enhanced privacy and data security.

By eradicating emails completely, it minimizes the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information, thereby reducing the chance of a data breach.

In situations where confidentiality is paramount, like in business communications or personal matters, permanently deleting emails provides an added layer of protection.

While the benefits of “Permanent Delete” are significant, it comes with a word of caution. Once emails are permanently deleted, there is no means of recovery.

Therefore, careful consideration is necessary before employing this option, ensuring that no critical information is unintentionally erased.

Utilizing “Permanent Delete” judiciously can lead to a more organized, secure, and efficient email management system, streamlining communication and safeguarding valuable data.


In conclusion, mastering the art of permanently deleting emails in Microsoft Outlook is an essential skill for effective email management and data security.

By understanding the difference between regular “Delete” and “Permanent Delete,” users can optimize their inbox organization and reclaim valuable storage space.

Embracing “Permanent Delete” not only clears clutter but also ensures the protection of sensitive information, reducing the risk of data breaches.

However, it is vital to exercise caution when employing “Permanent Delete” to avoid accidentally erasing critical emails.

Always double-check the content of emails before choosing this irreversible option.

For added protection, consider archiving important messages that might be needed for future reference.

With the ability to permanently delete emails, users can maintain a clutter-free and secure inbox, allowing them to focus on essential communication and increase overall productivity.

By incorporating this valuable knowledge into their daily email routines, individuals can stay organized, safeguard their privacy, and optimize their Outlook experience to the fullest.

Embrace the power of “Permanent Delete” and take control of your inbox like a pro!

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Amit Bansal

Hello, my name is Amit Kumar Bansal, and I am the founder of Through this blog, I focus on Microsoft Outlook, offering insightful and informative content. Additionally, I produce educational videos on YouTube to further enhance the understanding of my audience. visit my YouTube Channel

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