How to Clean Terminal in Linux

Clean Terminal in Linux

In the world of Linux, the terminal is a powerful tool that allows users to interact with the system using text-based commands. It’s a fundamental part of the Linux experience, offering a level of control and flexibility that graphical interfaces can’t match. However, as you work in the terminal, it can become cluttered with previous commands and outputs, making it difficult to read and navigate. That’s where the importance of cleaning the terminal comes in. This article provides a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to clean the terminal in Linux using the Command Line Interface (CLI).

Understanding the Terminal

The terminal, also known as the shell or console, is a text-based interface where users can input commands to perform tasks on the Linux system. It’s a powerful tool that can be used for everything from basic file management to system administration tasks. However, as you use the terminal, it can become cluttered with the history of commands and their outputs. This clutter can make it difficult to read and navigate, reducing your efficiency and productivity. Therefore, maintaining a clean terminal is crucial for efficient operations.

Clearing the Terminal Screen

One of the simplest ways to clean your terminal is by clearing the screen. This can be done using the clear command. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Open your terminal.
  2. Type clear and press Enter.

The clear command will remove all visible commands and outputs from the terminal screen, giving you a clean slate to work with. However, it’s important to note that this command does not remove the history of commands. You can still scroll up to view previous commands and outputs.

If you want to clear the terminal screen while keeping the scrollback buffer, you can use the clear -x command. The scrollback buffer is a feature that allows you to scroll up and view previous commands and outputs, even after clearing the terminal screen. In addition to the clear command, there are also keyboard shortcuts that you can use to clear the terminal. The Ctrl+L shortcut works similarly to the clear command, removing visible commands and outputs from the terminal screen. On the other hand, the Ctrl+Shift+K shortcut will clear the terminal screen and the scrollback buffer, giving you a completely clean terminal.

Reinitializing the Terminal

Sometimes, clearing the terminal screen may not be enough. If your terminal is behaving strangely due to misconfiguration or other issues, you may need to reinitialize it. This can be done using the reset command. The reset command will reinitialize the terminal, restoring settings to their default values and clearing any misconfigurations. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Open your terminal.
  2. Type reset and press Enter.

After running the reset command, your terminal should be back to its default state, ready for you to use.

Clearing Terminal History

While clearing the terminal screen can help reduce clutter, it does not remove the history of commands. This history can be a security risk, especially if you’ve entered sensitive information like passwords. Therefore, it’s important to clear your terminal history regularly. To clear your terminal history, you can use the history -c command. This command will remove all commands from your history, ensuring that they can’t be viewed or retrieved. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Open your terminal.
  2. Type history -c and press Enter.

If you want to delete a specific command from your history, you can use the history -d <line number> command. Replace <line number> with the number of the line that contains the command you want to delete. Another way to clear your terminal history is by using the unset HISTFILE command. This command will disable the history file, preventing commands from being saved to your history.

Additional Tips and Tricks

In addition to the methods mentioned above, there are other commands and shortcuts that you can use to clean your terminal in Linux. For example, the \ec command can be used to clear the terminal in specific terminals. It’s also important to understand the difference between the clear and reset commands. While both commands can be used to clean the terminal, they serve different purposes. The clear command simply removes visible commands and outputs from the terminal screen, while the reset command reinitializes the terminal and restores settings to their default values. Another useful tip is to use the Ctrl+XX shortcut to toggle between the start of the line and the current cursor position. This can be helpful when navigating long commands or outputs.


Maintaining a clean terminal is an essential part of efficient and effective Linux operations. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user, knowing how to clean your terminal using the CLI can greatly enhance your productivity and security. From clearing the terminal screen to clearing history, this guide has covered all the methods you need to keep your terminal clean. So, start incorporating these practices into your regular Linux usage and experience the difference.


r00t is a seasoned Linux system administrator with a wealth of experience in the field. Known for his contributions to, r00t has authored numerous tutorials and guides, helping users navigate the complexities of Linux systems. His expertise spans across various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian. r00t's work is characterized by his ability to simplify complex concepts, making Linux more accessible to users of all skill levels. His dedication to the Linux community and his commitment to sharing knowledge makes him a respected figure in the field.
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