How to Automatically Delete Emails in Outlook to Stay Organized

You can take your email management to the next level by learning how to auto-delete emails in Outlook using its built-in inbox organization features and third-party tools like Clean Email.

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Stop Wasting Your Time And Automate Email Management

It doesn’t matter if you’re a casual Outlook user or if you rely on Microsoft’s email service and client professionally, keeping it clean and well-organized should be your top priority otherwise you risk missing important email messages and the opportunities that come with them.

The problem is that manual inbox management is time-consuming, boring, and inefficient. Email has evolved a lot since the first email message was sent in 1971, and the same can be said about the tools for its organization.

If you’re still manually opening each and every email message that ends up in your Outlook inbox to decide which messages are important and which can be deleted, then you’re wasting a lot of time that could be spent far more productively. Fortunately, learning how to automate email deletion is easy, and we describe the entire process in this article.

How to Create Auto-Delete Rules in Outlook

Outlook is capable of automatically deleting emails that you don’t consider to be important or legitimate, but you need to configure it first, which you can do by visiting the web version of Outlook or using the Windows/Mac application.

Outlook Web Version

The web version can be accessed from any device with a modern web browser and a connection to the internet, making it perfect for checking emails on the go. Despite its web-based nature, it boasts many advanced features and capabilities, and support for automatic email deletion is among them.

  1. Go to the web version of Outlook and log in with your email address and password.
  2. Open any email message that you find irrelevant or malicious.
  3. Click the three horizontal dots in the menu bar.
  4. Select the Create Rule option.
  5. Specify what you want to do with messages from the sender. If you want to delete them automatically, then tell Outlook to always move them to the Deleted Items folder.

Outlook for Windows/Mac

If you access your Outlook email account using the Windows or Mac email client, then you need to follow a different set of instructions to configure Outlook to auto-delete emails. Don’t worry: the process is just as easy, and it won’t take you more than a few minutes.

  1. Launch Outlook for Windows or Mac.
  2. Open any email message that you find irrelevant or malicious.
  3. Click the Rules button in the toolbar and select the Create Rule option.
  4. Configure the conditions for the rule and specify that you want to move all emails that match the conditions to the Deleted Items folder.
  5. Click OK to create the rule.

With a bit of effort, it shouldn’t be a problem to figure out how to automatically forward emails in Outlook using rules or how to move Outlook incoming emails into specific folders automatically.

Alternative method: Clean Email

Alternatively, you can use a third-party inbox organizer like Clean Email to make the creation of Outlook auto-delete rules easier and more consistent across different devices and platforms.

  1. Go to: https://app.clean.email/
  2. Sign in with your email account.
  3. Select Inbox from the left pane and open any email message that you find irrelevant or malicious.
  4. Click the Delete button in the toolbar.
  5. Choose to apply the same action to all selected and future similar emails.
Send emails to Trash automatically in Clean EmailSend emails to Trash automatically in Clean Email

How to Delete Old Emails in Outlook

The desktop version of Microsoft Outlook has a useful feature that makes it possible to automatically delete emails that are older than a certain number of days, weeks, or months. The feature is called AutoArchive, and here’s how you can use it:

  1. Launch Outlook for Windows or Mac.
  2. Right-click your Inbox folder or any other folder where you receive new email messages.
  3. Select Properties and switch to the AutoArchive tab.
  4. Click the Archive this folder using these settings options.
  5. Choose how old you want the emails to be before automatically deleting them.
  6. Select the Permanently delete old items option to delete emails without moving them to a different location first.

Unfortunately, the AutoArchive feature can only be applied to entire folders—not specific senders and email messages in general. If that’s what you want to do, then Clean Email is your best option:

  1. Go to: https://app.clean.email/
  2. Sign in with your email account.
  3. Select Inbox from the left pane.
  4. Click the Older than menu next to the search box and specify the age of emails you want to automatically delete.
  5. Select an email from any sender whose messages you would like to automatically delete.
  6. Click the Delete button and choose to apply the same action to all selected and future similar emails that are older than the age you’ve specified.

You can also quickly and automatically delete all emails that are older than one year using the Quick Clean feature or Clean Email’s Smart Views, which are handy predefined views that make email organization a breeze.

Smart Views feature in Clean EmailSmart Views feature in Clean Email

How to Stop/Prevent Outlook from Auto-Deleting Emails

If you would like to delete or modify any rule you’ve created to stop Outlook deleting emails, you can do so from Settings → Mail → Rules when using the web version.

There, you can also click the Add new rule button to create all kinds of rules directly, including Outlook rules to delete emails older than a certain amount of time or date. With just a few well-thought-out rules, maintaining a clean Outlook inbox shouldn’t be a problem.

To view and manage your rules using the desktop version of Outlook, click the Rules button in the toolbar again and select the Manage Rules & Alerts option.

Disabling the AutoArchive feature in Outlook for Windows or Mac is a matter of selecting the Do not archive items in this folder option located in the AutoArchive tab.

Clean Email makes it extremely easy to prevent Outlook from auto-deleting emails. All you need to do is select the Auto Clean tab and manage your rules as you see fit.

Auto Clean feature in Clean Email appAuto Clean feature in Clean Email app

Keep Your Inbox Clutter-Free With Clean Email

Learning how to automatically delete emails in Outlook is a great first step, but there’s a lot more that you can (and should) do to keep your inbox clutter-free, which is where third-party inbox organizers like Clean Email come in.

With Clean Email, you can, for example, unsubscribe from emails on Outlook with a simple click, and it doesn’t even matter if the email you want to unsubscribe from includes an unsubscribe link or not. Other kinds of unwanted email messages can be prevented from ending up in your inbox using Clean Email’s Block feature, which lets you block any sender without notifying them.

Unsubscribe from emails with Clean EmailUnsubscribe from emails with Clean Email

Emails you don’t have time to deal with at the moment can be removed from your inbox and moved to the Read Later folder, where they wait for as long as you need.

Read Later feature in Clean EmailRead Later feature in Clean Email

Best of all, Clean Email can automate any email management action—not just deletion. For example, you can tell it to automatically move Slack notifications to a dedicated folder, label invoices from clients accordingly, or mark forwarded emails as read.

If you’re wondering how to auto-delete emails in Gmail or how to move emails to a folder in Yahoo Mail automatically, then we have great news for you: Clean Email supports all major email providers, so you can also use it to create filters for Yahoo deleting emails automatically and more.


How to Automatically Delete Emails in Outlook - FAQs

How do I turn off auto-delete in Outlook?

You can turn off the auto-delete feature in Outlook by deleting the corresponding rule or disabling the AutoArchive feature. We explain how to do both of these things in this article.

Can Outlook automatically delete emails?

Yes, Outlook can automatically delete emails by moving them to the Deleted Items folder when they arrive or by deleting them after a certain amount of time.

Why are my Outlook emails deleting themselves?

If your Outlook emails seem to be deleting themselves, then there’s a chance that you have the AutoArchive feature turned on. Right-click your Inbox folder, select Properties, go to the AutoArchive tab, and turn the feature off.

Why are my emails being deleted automatically?

The most likely explanation is that you’ve created an inbox rule in the past and no longer remember it. We recommend you review your rules using the instructions provided in this article and disable any rules that are no longer helpful.

Clean Email Team Updated on Nov 30, 2021
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