How to Auto-Delete Emails in Gmail for a Clean Inbox

Are you ready to clean up your messy inbox? Our guide shows you how to auto-delete emails in Gmail which saves time from manually removing old or unwanted messages. We’ll also explain how Clean Email can help you automatically delete messages more effectively and keep your inbox tidy moving forward.

Don’t Let Unwanted Emails Ruin Your Inbox

When Gmail launched in 2004, the email service offered one gigabyte of storage space for free. Today, Gmail users get to enjoy 15 GB of free storage, but that’s still not enough for some. Why? Because spam messages account for around 45 percent of all email traffic.

Indeed, it doesn’t take much time for spam messages to accumulate and eat up gigabytes of valuable storage space, leaving little room for messages that are actually important. Sure, you could purchase additional storage space from Google and call it a day, but that would be akin to throwing in the towel and letting spammers win.

Instead, you should learn how to automate email management using the solutions described in this article so that you can enjoy a clean, organized inbox without wasting hours of your precious time.

How to Auto-Delete Emails in Gmail

To set up Gmail for automatically deleting emails, you can create an inbox filter. Filters are basically Gmail rules where you set up a condition and then choose a subsequent action to take on emails matching your condition.

When you create a filter in Gmail to automatically delete emails, you can choose from the following conditions:

  • From
  • To
  • Subject
  • Has the words (keywords)
  • Doesn’t have (keywords)
  • Size
  • Has attachment

You may notice that unlike searching for emails in Gmail, the criteria available for filters lacks the Date within option. Fortunately, there is a workaround to filter and delete emails based on date, which we’ll show you below.

Let’s look at how to automatically delete old emails in Gmail as well as those with certain keywords.

Auto-Delete Old Emails in Gmail

Ridding your Gmail inbox of older messages that you no longer need is a perfect way to clean up your mailbox. If you’ve been using Gmail for many years, you can easily have emails that are close to 10 years old and no longer serve a purpose.

To create a filter to auto-delete Gmail after time, follow these steps:

  1. Visit Gmail on the web and sign in.
  2. Select the Settings icon (gear) on the top right and choose See all settings in the sidebar.
  3. Select See all settings in the sidebarSelect See all settings in the sidebar
  4. Go to the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab.
  5. Scroll to the bottom and pick Create a new filter.
  6. Create rules in Gmail
  7. Use the Has the words field in the pop-up window to enter the timeframe. As examples, you can enter “older_than:1y” for messages older than a year or “older_than:6m” for those older than six months.
  8. Select Create filter.
  9. Check the box for Delete it.
  10. Select Create filter to apply and run the filter.

From now on, Gmail will delete emails older than the timeframe you selected.

💡 Note: Although you can use Gmail’s Search feature to include the Date within option and create a filter, you cannot do this for dates that are only before a certain date or timeframe. Additionally, you must include another condition to set up a filter from the Search tool.

How to search in Gmail appHow to search in Gmail app

Auto-Delete Emails With Keywords in Gmail

You may have other types of emails in Gmail that are consuming space that you’d like to automatically delete. These could be promotional emails like limited-time deals from shopping sites or post notifications from social media networks.

You might not want to completely unsubscribe from messages from these senders, but instead, delete certain emails you receive from them.

To set up auto-delete in Gmail based on keywords, follow these steps:

  1. Follow Steps 1 through 4 above to open the Settings and choose Create a new filter.
  2. Use the available fields to enter the criteria. Here are a couple of examples:
    • To delete emails from any sender with “limited-time” in the email body, you’d use just Has the words: Limited-Time.
    • To delete emails from Twitter with “tweeted” in the subject, you’d use both of the fields From: Twitter and Subject: Tweeted.
  1. Select Create filter.
  2. Check the box for Delete it.
  3. Optionally check the box for Also apply filter to matching messages to delete existing messages in your inbox that match the criteria. If you prefer to start the filter moving forward and not delete existing matching messages, leave the box empty.
  4. Select Create filter to apply and run the filter.

Moving forward, Gmail will delete emails you receive that match your conditions.

If you want to edit or delete a Gmail filter, return to See all settings >Filters and Blocked Addresses. Note that you cannot turn off a filter temporarily. To pause a filter, you must delete it and then follow the above steps to set it up again when you’re ready.

Auto-Delete Emails in the Gmail Mobile App

Are you an on-the-go Gmail user? Unfortunately, you cannot currently create filters in the Gmail mobile app.

As an alternative, you can use the Clean Email app for Gmail on your mobile device. This allows you to set up Auto Clean rules for Gmail like those above, and more, which we’ll describe below.

How to Auto-Delete Emails in Gmail Using Clean Email

To automatically delete emails in Gmail using Clean Email, you can create a rule with the Auto Clean feature. This works just like the Gmail auto-delete using filters where you set up the condition and an action to take on matching messages.

When you create an Auto Clean rule in Clean Email to automatically delete emails, you can choose from the following conditions:

  • From
  • To
  • Email address or Domain
  • Subject, Sender, or Recipient (keywords)
  • Status
  • Date
  • Size
  • Flag/Star
  • Label, and more.

Auto Clean rules in Clean EmailAuto Clean rules in Clean Email

Not only does Clean Email offer many conditions for creating your rule, or “filter,” but gives you a friendly interface and the flexibility to fine-tune your rule.

Let’s walk through how to automatically delete emails in Gmail using Clean Email, both on the web and your mobile device.

Auto-Delete Emails in Clean Email

If you want to automatically clean Gmail from old messages, emails with certain words, those that are large in size, or another condition, you can set this up easily.

  1. Open Clean Email and choose Auto Clean on the left.
  2. Select either Create Rule or the plus sign on the right.
  3. Click the Create Rule button to create a new Auto Clean ruleClick the Create Rule button to create a new Auto Clean rule
  4. Give your rule and name and then pick the conditions. You’ll notice a few quick options to pick from including:
    • Old Mail lets you select a timeframe from one day up to 10 years.
    • Large Mail lets you pick messages from 1 KB to 500 MB in size.
  1. In the Any sender or recipients drop-down field, choose a criteria to filter your sender, e.g., the Sender Domain option. Start typing the domain name and click it from the search results below.
  2. Sender domain in Clean EmailSender domain in Clean Email
  3. In the Apply Action drop-down box, choose Delete to permanently remove the messages. Note that you can choose Trash instead which allows you to recover an email later if you like.
  4. Optionally, turn on the toggles for including the rule in Action History and applying it to existing messages.
  5. Click Create Rule to save and apply your rule.

You can see all the rules you create in the Auto Clean section of Clean Email. You can also return to this area to pause a rule. Yes, unlike Gmail, Clean Email lets you temporarily stop a rule without deleting it which is a handy feature.

Auto Clean feature with Clean EmailAuto Clean feature with Clean Email

Auto-Delete Emails in the Clean Email Mobile App

Because Gmail doesn’t offer filters setup in the mobile app, you can use Clean Email’s Auto Clean feature to do this on your Android device or iPhone.

  1. Open the Clean Email app and select Auto Clean from the menu.
  2. Tap either Create Rule or the plus sign on the right.
  3. Give your rule and name and then pick the conditions. You have the same criteria set as on the website.
  4. Create Rule in the Clean Email Mobile AppCreate Rule in the Clean Email Mobile App
  5. In the Apply Action drop-down box, choose Delete or Trash per your preference.
  6. Optionally, turn on the additional toggles and tap Create Rule.
  7. Auto-Delete Emails in the Clean Email Mobile AppAuto-Delete Emails in the Clean Email Mobile App

You can see your rules in the Auto Clean section of the mobile app, just like on the web. Plus, your rules sync across your devices, allowing you to pause and edit your rules at your desk or from your couch.

Keep Your Inbox Clutter-Free With Clean Email

Along with the Auto Clean feature for deleting Gmail messages in bulk, Clean Email gives you an advanced set of features for doing more to automate email tasks and keep your inbox neat and tidy.

Unsubscriber: To avoid the need to delete emails you no longer need such as promotional messages; an alternative is to unsubscribe from them. While Gmail gives you an Unsubscribe button to remove yourself from mailing lists, Clean Emails lets you unsubscribe from multiple emails at once and resubscribe later if you change your mind.

Unsubscribe from emails with Clean EmailUnsubscribe from emails with Clean Email

Cleaning Suggestions: If you struggle to find the best ways to clean up your mailbox, the Cleaning Suggestions offered by Clean Email may be just what you need. You’ll see recommendations for messages you can mark as spam, archive, or move to the trash. Not only that, but you can use the suggestions to act on groups of emails at one time.

Cleaning Suggestions feature in Clean EmailCleaning Suggestions feature in Clean Email

Screener: Ever wonder how your email address got on a sender’s mailing list in the first place? With Clean Email’s Screener, you can view messages from new senders all in one spot. Then, either allow the email or unsubscribe immediately.

Stop spam emails with Screener feature in Clean EmailStop spam emails with Screener feature in Clean Email

All Clean Email features are available both on the web and in the mobile app. So, no matter where you choose to manage your messages, you can enjoy simple, safe, and secure inbox management with Clean Email.


Now that you know how to auto-delete old emails in Gmail or those based on keywords, you can save a ton of time. Because Clean Email offers this same automation with even more flexibility, you can not only get rid of unwanted messages in a snap but do it on both your laptop and mobile phone.

Ready to step it up a notch? Look at our guides for how to automatically move emails to a folder and how to auto-delete spam in Gmail.

How to Auto-Delete Emails in Gmail - FAQs

Can you set Gmail to auto-delete?

Yes, it can be configured to auto-delete emails that meet certain criteria using its filters. Alternatively, you can achieve the same result but more easily using a third-party inbox cleaner, such as Clean Email.

Why is Gmail automatically deleting emails?

Does Gmail auto-delete old emails on its own? It does, but only those that it considers to be spam. If you want Gmail to automatically delete promotions and other types of email messages as well, then you need to manually create corresponding email filters.

How do I turn off auto-delete in Gmail?

To turn off auto-delete in Gmail, go to your Gmail settings, then find the section related to "Filters and Blocked Addresses" or a similar category. Here, you can edit or remove any existing filters that might be set to automatically delete emails.

How do I stop Gmail from deleting old emails?

This mail provider automatically deletes emails that are older than 30 days from Trash and Spam. Unfortunately, there’s no way to automatically delete spam in Gmail using a different time interval at the moment.

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