Safely delete large numbers of records

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1.4.0 2024-03-08 13:00 UTC

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Last update: 2024-04-08 13:09:58 UTC


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Deleting many database records in one go using Laravel has a few pitfalls you need to be aware of:

  • deleting records is possibly a slow operation that can take a long time,
  • the delete query will acquire many row locks and possible lock your entire table, other queries will need to wait
  • even when managing query execution and cleanup, there's a fixed maximum execution time in a serverless environment

The pitfalls are described in more detail in this post on the Flare blog.

This package offers a solution to safely delete many records in large tables. Here's an example:

    ->query(YourModel::query()->where('created_at', '<',  now()->subMonth()))

The code above will dispatch a cleanup job that will delete the first 1000 records that are selected by the query. When it detects that 1000 records have been deleted, it will conclude that possibly not all records are deleted and it will redispatch itself.

We'll also make sure that this cleanup job never overlaps. This way the number of database connections is kept low. It also allows you the schedule this cleanup job repeatedly through CRON without having to check for an existing cleanup process.

By keeping the chunk size small, the query executes faster and potential table locks will not be held for long periods of time. The cleanup job will also finish fast, so you won't hit an execution time limit.

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You can install the package via composer:

composer require spatie/laravel-queued-db-cleanup

The package uses a lock to prevent multiple deletions for the same query to be executed at the same time. We recommend using Redis to store the lock.

Behind the scenes this package leverages job batches. Make sure you have created the batches table mentioned in the Laravel documentation.

Optionally, you can publish the config file with:

php artisan vendor:publish --provider="Spatie\LaravelQueuedDbCleanup\LaravelQueuedDbCleanupServiceProvider" --tag="config"

This is the contents of the published config file:

return [
     * To make sure there's only one job of a particular cleanup running,
     * this package uses a lock. Here, you can configure the default
     * store to be used by the lock and the release time.
    'lock' => [
        'cache_store' => 'redis',

        'release_lock_after_seconds' => 60 * 20

     * The class name of the job that will clean that database.
     * This should be `Spatie\LaravelQueuedDbCleanup\Jobs\CleanDatabaseJob`
     * or a class that extends it.
    'clean_database_job_class' => Spatie\LaravelQueuedDbCleanup\Jobs\CleanDatabaseJob::class,

     * In order to handle deadlocks on a high traffic table, the package can
     * automatically retry the transaction that performs the delete query
     * a specified number of times
    'delete_query_attempts' => 3,


This code will dispatch a cleanup job that will delete the first 1000 records that are selected by the query. When it detects that 1000 records have been deleted, it will conclude that possibly not all records are deleted and it will redispatch itself.

    ->query(YourModel::query()->where('created_at', '<',  now()->subMonth()))

The job will not redispatch itself when there were fewer records deleted than the number given to deleteChunkSize.

Starting the cleanup in a scheduled tasks

It is safe to start the cleanup process from within a scheduled task. Internally the package will use a lock to make sure no two cleanups using the same query are running at the same time.

If a scheduled task starts a cleanup process while another one is still running, the new cleanup process will be cancelled.

Customizing the queue and connection name

Internally, the package uses job batches. Using getBatch you can get the batch and call methods like onConnection and onQueue on it. Don't forget to dispatch the batch at the end, by calling dispatch().

    ->query(YourModel::query()->where('created_at', '<',  now()->subMonth()))

Customizing the database connection

Using onDatabaseConnection will allow you to delete records on another connection.


Manually stopping the cleanup process

By default, the cleanup jobs will not redispatch themselves anymore when they detect that they've deleted fewer records than the chunk size. You can customize this behaviour by calling stopWhen. It should receive a closure. If the closure returns true the cleanup will stop.

    ->stopWhen(function (Spatie\LaravelQueuedDbCleanup\CleanConfig $config) {
        return $config->pass === 3;

stopWhen receives an instance of Spatie\LaravelQueuedDbCleanup\CleanConfig. It contains these properties to determine whether the cleanup should be stopped:

  • pass: contains the number of times the cleanup job was started for this particular cleanup.
  • rowsDeletedInThisPass: the number of rows deleted in this pass
  • totalRowsDeleted: the total of number of rows deleted by in all passes.

Using the batch to stop the cleanup process

You can use the batch id to stop the cleanup process

$batch = CleanDatabaseJobFactory::forQuery(YourModel::query())

// you could store this batch id somewhere
$batchId = $batch->id;


Somewhere else in your codebase you could retrieve the stored batch id and use it to cancel the batch, stopping the cleanup process.



You can listen for these events. They all have one public property, cleanConfig, which is an instance of Spatie\LaravelQueuedDbCleanup\CleanConfig.


Fired when a new pass starts in the cleanup process.


Fired when a pass has been completed in the cleanup process.


Fired when the entire cleanup process has been completed.


composer test


Please see CHANGELOG for more information on what has changed recently.


Please see CONTRIBUTING for details.

Security Vulnerabilities

Please review our security policy on how to report security vulnerabilities.



The MIT License (MIT). Please see License File for more information.