How to force empty Trash on your Mac using Terminal

If you're using a Mac, there has undoubtedly come a time when you've run into issues emptying Trash whether it be long wait times or freeze ups, especially if you're using the Secure Empty option.

If this has happened to you, there's actually a way around it using a simple command in Terminal. I've been using it for years and as far as I know, it'll work with not only Mountain Lion, but as far back as Tiger, if not even older versions.

Follow along and we'll get your Trash emptied in no time.

  1. Launch the Terminal app on your Mac by either searching for it in Spotlight or locating it in the Utilities folder under Applications.
  2. Type in the following command: "sudo rm -rf ~/.Trash/*" (without quotes) and then hit Enter on your keyboard.
  3. You may be prompted to enter your OS X user password. Type it in and then hit Enter on your keyboard.
  4. You should now be returned to the main user prompt in Terminal. Notice the Trash in your dock which should now be empty.

That's all there is to it. This trick is nifty for any time when the default empty trash process hangs up or if you've gotten a large amount of files to delete and the process seems to be taking forever. Just make sure you force quit trash from emptying before attempting to use Terminal to empty or the process will fail.