How To Clear Bash History

Shell Programming

Hey there, fellow tech enthusiasts! Today, I want to share with you a useful trick that I’ve picked up along my journey as a developer: clearing the bash history. Sometimes, when working on sensitive projects or troubleshooting technical issues, it’s important to maintain privacy and security by clearing out any potentially sensitive commands from your bash history. Let’s dive in and explore how to do this effectively.

Understanding the Bash History

First off, let’s start with a brief overview of what the bash history actually is. In simple terms, the bash history is a log of all the commands that have been executed in the terminal. This can be a handy feature for recalling past commands, but it can also pose a security risk if it contains sensitive information.

Clearing the Entire Bash History

One way to clear the entire bash history is by using the following command:
history -c. This command effectively clears the entire history, leaving you with a clean slate. However, it’s worth noting that this only affects the current shell session. If you open a new terminal window or start a new session, the history will not be cleared.

Clearing Specific Commands from History

If you want to remove specific commands from your bash history, you can use the
history command to display the list of commands along with their line numbers. Once you identify the command you want to remove, you can use the
history -d <line_number> command to delete it from the history. This can be useful for selectively removing sensitive commands without clearing the entire history.

Automating History Clearing

For those who want to automate the process of clearing the bash history, you can add the command
history -c to the
.bash_logout file in your home directory. This ensures that every time you log out of a session, the bash history will be cleared, providing an extra layer of security.


Clearing the bash history is a simple yet important step in maintaining privacy and security while working in a terminal environment. Whether you’re handling sensitive information or just want to keep your command history clean, these methods offer effective ways to manage your bash history. I hope this article has been helpful, and I encourage you to incorporate these practices into your workflow for a safer and more secure development experience.