BASH Programming

Delete a Folder in Bash

While working on Linux Mint 20, you have to work on different files and folders. But the method of creating or deleting a folder or directory to some extent is different than creating or deleting a file. When deleting files or directories from the command-line, be vigilant because once the directory has been removed using the commands mentioned in this article, it will no longer be completely recovered.

In this article, you will learn about all the basic methods to delete folders in Bash.

There are two methods to delete the folders or directories. These are as follows:

  • Command rmdir – Used for deleting the folders or directories that are empty.
    • Remove a Single Folder
    • Remove Folder within a Folder
    • Remove Multiple Folders
  • Command rm – Used for deleting the folders or directories that are not empty.

Let’s try these two methods using some examples for deleting folders.

Command rmdir

If you are a Linux user and want to delete an empty folder, you have to use the “rmdir” command. So, at the very start, you have to check how many folders are currently present in your home directory as follows:

$ ls

Remove a Single Folder

Firstly, make a new directory with the name “Folder1” using the following simple command, and list all the directories again. You will see a newly created folder in the list of directories.

$ mkdir folder-name

To remove this newly created folder, which is empty right now, use the following command:

$ rmdir folder-name

List all the directories, and you will see that the particular folder has been deleted and not present in the list.

Remove Folder within a Folder

List all the directories you have. Make a new directory with the name “Folder2” using the “mkdir” command as follows:

$ mkdir folder-name

Now, make another folder, “Test1”, within a newly created folder named “Folder2”.

$ mkdir folder1-name/folder2name

You can also make a folder within a folder by going through a “cd” command, as shown below:

$ cd folder1-name
$ mkdir folder2-name

Now, try to remove the “Folder2” folder using the “rmdir” command. You will end up getting an error: “Directory not empty” since “Folder2” has “Test1” in it, which is why the “rmdir” command is unable to delete the folder “Folder2”.

$ rmdir foldername

So, you have to delete the “Test1” folder using the command below:

$ rmdir folder1-name/folder2-name

You can also try another method to delete a folder within a folder using the “cd” command instead of folder path as follows:

$ cd foldername
$ rmdir subfolder-name

You can see the folder “Test1” has been deleted from “Folder2”.

Note: If you want to see a removal message while the folder has been deleted, you have to use the following command along with “-v” flag:

$ rmdir –v filename

Remove Multiple Folders

To delete multiple folders at a time, you have to create multiple folders first. So, create three folders with the name “Test1”, “Test2”, and “Test3” using the “mkdir” command. List all the newly created folders using the “ls” command.

$ mkdir folder1 folder2 folder3

You may use the following command to delete folders if they have different names:

$ rmdir folder1 folder2 folder3

If your folders have different names, then try the following command to delete them:

$ rmdir –v folder*

In this command “*” sign shows that it will pick all folders that are started with the specific word “folder”. In the image below, all the folders having names started with “Test” will be deleted.

Command rm

If you want to delete a folder that is not empty, then you have to use the “rm” command. So check how many folders are currently present in your home directory by listing them as below:

$ ls

Now, make a new folder with the name “New” and also make some other folders within this folder as “Test1”, “Test2”, “Test3”, etc.

$ mkdir foldername
$ cd foldername
$ mkdir subfolder1 subfolder2 subfolder3

Check out the currently available folders present in your home directory.

Now, it’s time to use the “rm” command to remove the non-empty folder. For this purpose, use the following “rm” command followed by the name of the folder to be deleted:

$ rm –r folder-name

In this command “-r” flag refers to delete all the contents of a folder first.

You can also use capital “R” instead of small “r”. You will see that the folder will be deleted. Not only this, but all the folders inside the folder “New” are also removed with it.

There is another command with a slight change to remove the non-empty folder, as shown below:

$ rm –rf folder-name

In this particular command, the “-r” flag will delete all the sub-folders or files in this particular folder, then proceeds to a folder that needs to be deleted. On the other hand, the “f” flag is used to forcefully delete this folder without showing a prompt.


$rm –rfv folder-name

In the above-mentioned command, the “v” flag is used to show the process of deleting a folder with text output. It will also display a message that a directory has been deleted successfully, as shown below.


To sum up, we have successfully discussed the methods on how to delete the empty and non-empty folders in Bash using the “rmdir” and “rm” command, respectively. We have also elaborated on how to delete empty folders with different conditions, e.g., single folder, folder within a folder, and removing multiple folders. Hopefully, this article has helped you a lot to cover your basics about deleting the folders in Bash. Also, by following the above tutorial, you can now conveniently delete files and folders in Bash.

About the author

Aqsa Yasin

Aqsa Yasin

I am a self-motivated information technology professional with a passion for writing. I am a technical writer and love to write for all Linux flavors and Windows.