Trash-cli – A Trashcan Tool to Manage ‘Trash’ from Linux Command Line

Trash-cli is a command line interface that trashes files and records the original absolute path, deletion date, and associated permissions. It uses the same trashcan used by popular Linux desktop environments such as KDE, GNOME, and XFCE which can be invoked from the command line (and via scripts).

Trash-cli provides these commands:

$ trash-put           #trash files and directories.
$ trash-empty         #empty the trashcan(s).
$ trash-list          #list trashed files.
$ trash-restore       #restore a trashed file.
$ trash-rm            #remove individual files from the trashcan.

In this article, we will show you how to install and use trash-cli to find the original path, deletion date, and permissions of deleted files in Linux.

How to Install Trash-cli in Linux

The straightforward way of installing trash-cli is by using easy_install tool as follows:

$ sudo apt-get install python-setuptools		#Debian/Ubuntu systems
$ sudo yum install python-setuptools			#RHEL/CentOS systems
$ sudo easy_install trash-cli	

Else, install Trash-cli from source as shown.

$ git clone
$ cd trash-cli
$ sudo python install

How to Use Trash-cli in Linux

To trash a specific file, run.

$ trash-put file1

List all trashed files.

$ trash-list

2017-05-05 10:30:48 /home/tecmint/file1
2017-05-10 13:40:41 /home/tecmint/file2
2017-05-12 22:30:49 /home/tecmint/file3
2017-05-12 22:50:48 /home/tecmint/test

Search for a file in the trashcan.

$ trash-list | grep file

2017-05-05 10:30:48 /home/tecmint/file1
2017-05-10 13:40:41 /home/tecmint/file2
2017-05-12 22:30:49 /home/tecmint/file3

Restore a trashed file.

$ trash-restore

0 2017-05-05 10:30:48 /home/tecmint/file1
1 2017-05-10 13:40:41 /home/tecmint/file2
2 2017-05-12 22:30:49 /home/tecmint/file3
3 2017-05-12 22:50:48 /home/tecmint/test

Remove all files from the trashcan.

$ trash-empty

Remove only the files that have been deleted more than <days> ago:

$ trash-empty <days>

Here is a demonstration of this command:

$ date
Mon May 15 20:26:52 EAT 2017
$ trash-list
2017-05-12 13:51:12 /home/tecmint/new.txt
2017-05-11 10:41:30 /home/tecmint/old.txt
2017-04-05 20:43:54 /home/tecmint/oldest.txt
$ trash-empty  7
$ trash-list
2017-05-12 13:51:12 /home/tecmint/new.txt
2017-05-11 10:41:30 /home/tecmint/old.txt
$ trash-empty 1
$ trash-list
2017-05-12 13:51:12 /home/tecmint/new.txt

Remove only files matching a pattern.

Do not forget to use quotes in order to protect the pattern from shell expansion:

$ trash-rm  \*.txt

For more information, check out Trash-cli Github repository:

That’s all! Do you know of any similar CLI tools for Linux? Share some info about them with us via the comment form below.

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6 Responses

  1. Duc says:

    Hey can you tell me how to UNinstall it? :/

    • Aaron Kili says:


      You can use Python PIP to uninstall it, like this:

      $ sudo pip uninstall trash-cli
      • Duc says:

        Dear Aaron, thank you for the fast message but I have to disappoint you:

        DEPRECATION: Uninstalling a distutils installed project (trash-cli) has been deprecated and will be removed in a future version. This is due to the fact that uninstalling a distutils project will only partially uninstall the project.
        Uninstalling trash-cli-
        Proceed (y/n)? y
        Successfully uninstalled trash-cli-

        but if I retry to use the trash command it still working… do you have any ideas?

        • Aaron Kili says:


          Ensure that you are using the latest version of PIP. If it still fails, try the next option, which is to run the following command, which removes all dependencies of trash-cli:

          $ sudo easy_install -m trash-cli

          Then remove the egg file for the trash-cli package:

          $ sudo rm -rf /usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages/trash_cli-

          I hope this will help you.

  2. Mauricio says:

    Very useful tool! Thank you for the article, it’s great help.

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