Removing Workflows

To delete an installed workflow run directory, we recommend using the cylc clean command. cylc clean takes care of deleting workflows on the local filesystem and any remote install targets. It follows any symlink directories specified in global.cylc[install][symlink dirs] (see A note on symlink directories below). You can also use cylc clean to just delete certain files or subdirectories (see Cleaning specific subdirectories or files below).

If you’ve used rose suite-clean before, the functionality is similar, but not identical.


cylc clean only affects workflow run directories (located in the cylc-run directory). It will not affect workflow source directories.


cylc clean is intended for use on workflows installed with cylc install. If you clean a workflow that was instead written directly in the cylc-run directory and not backed up elsewhere, it will be lost.

Simple example of using cylc clean:

$ cylc clean myflow/run1
INFO - Removing directory: ~/cylc-run/myflow/run1

Cleaning on remote install targets

If any jobs in your workflow ran on a remote platform, Cylc will automatically remove the workflow files on there in addition to the local filesystem.

$ cylc clean remote-example
INFO - Cleaning on install target: enterprise1701
INFO - [enterprise1701]
        INFO - Removing directory: /home/user/cylc-run/remote-example/run1
INFO - Removing directory: ~/cylc-run/remote-example/run1


This relies on determining which platforms were used from the workflow database. If the platforms recorded in the database are out of date with the global configuration, or if the database is missing altogether, you will have to manually remove the files on remote install targets.

You can also clean on just the local filesystem using the --local option, or just the remote install target using the --remote option.

Cleaning specific subdirectories or files

You can clean specific subdirectories or files inside a run directory using the --rm option (we refer to this as a targeted clean). For example, to remove the log and work directories:

$ cylc clean myflow --rm log --rm work

Colons can be used to delimit the items to clean, so the following is equivalent:

$ cylc clean myflow --rm log:work

You can also use globs. E.g., to remove all job logs for cycle points beginning with 2020:

$ cylc clean myflow --rm 'log/job/2020*'


Make sure to place glob patterns in quotes.