The Gmail Trash is not a safe place to keep emails (“just in case”). Find out below how long Gmail will keep emails in the Trash and Spam labels before it deletes them forever.

First, Grounds for Shedding Skin

Instead of throwing your coffee grounds out of the window and onto your plants, why not flush them down the drain?

If you scrub and rub your skin with the edgy black particles before, they will take dead skin with them in droves: coffee grounds are a great exfoliant—and almost always at hand.

The emails you have deleted and the spam Gmail has identified will eventually go down a metaphorical drain as well. You do have some time to brew coffee, though, before Gmail starts to flush:

How Long Does Gmail Keep Emails in “Trash” and “Spam”?

Gmail will keep messages for you to recover from the Spam and Trash labels

  • for 30 days

at least. Any email that has been in either folder for more than 30 days will be deleted permanently.

When Does Gmail Start Counting Days?

Gmail starts counting days (up to the 31 that will trigger automatic deletion) as soon as a message is placed in the Spam or Trash labels.

The action that moved the message there does not matter. The counter starts whether

Is There a Way to Reset the Gmail Auto-Deletion Counter?

To reset the counter and keep the email for 30 days more:

  1. Undelete the message or recover it from Spam.
  2. Delete the message again or mark it as junk respectively.

Does Gmail Auto-Delete Emails in Folders Other Than Trash and Spam?

No. Gmail will automatically delete only messages from the Trash and Spam labels. All other emails are only deleted when you or a filter command it.

(How long does Gmail keep emails in “Trash” and “Spam”? tested with Gmail; updated May 2018)