How to Delete Already Merged Git Branches

Deleting merged branches is something that many developers like to do to keep their git repository clean and easy to browse. Let's find out how to remove branches that have already been merged.

Watch a course Git & GitHub - The Practical Guide

Steps to deleting already merged branches

Here are the steps you need to take and get the job done properly:

Listing branches

List all the branches that were merged in the remote.

git branch --merged

There may be some branches that you do not want to delete. Thus, we add a few arguments to exclude master and develop branches. The following command will skip the master branch, and anything that includes dev in it:

git branch --merged | grep -i -v -E "master|dev"

If you want to exclude another branch, add the name to the grep sequence like this:

git branch --merged | grep -i -v -E "master|dev|skip-branch-name"

To delete all local branches that are already merged into the currently checked out branch:

git branch --merged | grep -i -v -E "master|dev"| xargs git branch -d

Deleting local and remote branches

Delete a merged local branch by running the git branch command with the -d option. For more detailed information and instructions, you can check out How to Delete Both Local and Remote Branches in Git.

git branch -d <branch-name>

If it's not merged, run:

git branch -D <branch-name>

Delete it from the remote by the git push command with --delete (suppose, the name of remote is origin, which is by default) :

git push --delete origin <branch-name>

As an alternative, you can use the following command:

git push origin :<branch-name>

Deleting remote-tracking branches

After deleting the branch from the remote, prune to get rid of remote-tracking branches with the git remote command:

git remote prune origin

or prune individual remote-tracking branches with the git branch -dr command:

git branch -dr <branch-name>


Branches are a pointer to a snapshot of the changes. A new branch is created to encapsulate the changes when you want to fix bugs or add new features helping you to clean up the history before merging it. Branches represent an isolated line of development. They are accepted as a way to request a new working directory, staging area, and project history. Developing isolated lines of development for two features in branches will enable developers to operate on them in parallel and make the master branch free from questionable code.

Using the 'git-delete-merged-branches' tool

Alternatively, you can use the git-delete-merged-branches tool ( to automate the process of deleting merged branches. This tool will list all merged branches and prompt you to select which ones you want to delete. Here's how to use it:

  1. Install the git-delete-merged-branches tool using one of the methods described in the README file on GitHub.
  2. Make sure you are on the branch you want to delete: git checkout [branch-name]
  3. Run the git-delete-merged-branches command: git-delete-merged-branches
  4. Follow the prompts to select which merged branches you want to delete.

This tool can save time if you have many merged branches to delete. However, note that it may not be suitable for all use cases, and it's always a good idea to make a backup of your repository before making any major changes.