Clean Unused Git Branches

Git is a powerful tool to help developers work confidently and try different approaches without losing any of it.

Here is a Git workflow borrowed from here Git Workflow

Its apparent that keeping things handy can lead to lot of git branches which need to be cleaned up once proved your research and executed.

Here is a script which is extremely apt script


echo "Delete branches having last commit before 1st June 2015 -
DRY_RUN=1 to show commands - ignore if execution"
echo "DRY_RUN=1 '2015-06-01' 'pod_rev'"

echo $DRY_RUN
echo $1

sprint_prefix = $2

for branch in $(git branch -a | sed 's/^[ ]*//' | sed 's/^remotes\///' | grep -v 'master$'); do
  ## Addition to check a prefix in remote branches while deleting from remote
  if [[ "branch" =~ "$sprint_prefix/" ]]; then
    if [[ "$(git log $branch --since $date | wc -l)" -eq 0 ]]; then
      if [[ "$branch" =~ "origin/" ]]; then
        local_branch_name=$(echo "$branch" | sed 's/^origin\///')
        if [[ "$DRY_RUN" -eq 1 ]]; then
          echo "git push origin :$local_branch_name"
          git push origin :$local_branch_name
        if [[ "$DRY_RUN" -eq 1 ]]; then
          echo "git branch -D $branch"
          git branch -D $branch
    echo "$branch NOT SCOPED"


  • DRY_RUN = 1 can be passed to show commands instead of executing them
  • Pass date after which commits would be looked in branches
    • Ignore the branch if any commit done after it
  • Accepts sprint_prefix to clean only branches related to it
  • Iterate over all branches
  • Remove whitespace at start of branch name
  • Remove remotes/ string at start of branch name
  • Skip master branch
  • Clean Git branches related to last completed hotfix / feature
    • It’s advisable to add a prefix based on sprint/epic to all features developed for it
    • Look for decided prefix and follow further steps
  • Check, whether any commit done SINCE given date
    • Ignore the branch if any commit done after it
  • Perform git push remote <branch_name> if contains origin i.e. remote branch
  • Perform git branch -D <branch_name> if local branch
  • print the command if DRY_RUN is set as 1, else execute

Remote Branch Reference Pruning

  • git gc –prune=now
  • git remote prune
  • git fetch -p
Written on July 7, 2015