Completely Deleting All Rows from a Django Model Table

Django provides a very convenient way to delete all rows from a database table that is tied to a Django model. While dropping the table and recreating it is an option, Django allows you to truncate the table instead which is faster, especially for large tables.

The Django Model and Database Table Relationship

First, it’s important to understand the relationship between a Django model and the associated database table. When you create a model in Django, it automatically generates a database table to store the model instances.

For example:

class Person(models.Model):
    first_name = models.CharField(max_length=30)
    last_name = models.CharField(max_length=30)

This Person model would generate a person table in the database with columns for id, first_name, and last_name.

So the model and the table have a direct correlation in Django.

Truncate vs Delete in SQL

When looking to remove all rows from a database table, you have two options:

  1. Delete all the rows
  2. Truncate the table

Deleting all the rows requires running a DELETE statement, like:

DELETE FROM table_name;

The DELETE statement goes through and deletes each row individually. This can take a long time on large tables.

Truncating the table is much faster:

TRUNCATE TABLE table_name;

The TRUNCATE statement drops all existing rows and resets the table instantly. It is not logged and cannot be rolled back.

Django’s Model.objects.all().delete()

In Django, you can delete all rows in a model table using:


For example:


Behind the scenes, this runs a DELETE statement. Again, on large tables this can be slow.

Using Truncate Instead

Luckily, Django provides access to execute raw SQL statements. So you can directly truncate the table for much better performance:

from django.db import connection

with connection.cursor() as cursor:
    cursor.execute('TRUNCATE TABLE table_name')

Just replace `table_name` with the actual database table name.

If you aren’t sure what the table name is, you can query the database dictionary like this:


So to quickly truncate the Person table:

from django.db import connection

with connection.cursor() as cursor:
    cursor.execute('TRUNCATE TABLE person')

And that will instantly remove all rows from the person table!

When to Use Truncate

The main downside to TRUNCATE compared to DELETE is that it cannot be rolled back since it does not log each row removal.

So before truncating, consider if the data loss is an issue for your application. During development/testing, truncate is usually perfect for quickly clearing a table.


Django provides a convenient interface to your database tables through its model framework. Clearing all data from a table can be done through the Model.objects.all().delete() approach, but involves executing a DELETE statement.

For better performance, especially on large tables, directly truncate the table through raw SQL. Just be aware transactions and rollbacks are not possible when truncating.

I hope this gives you an overview of how to quickly and effectively clear all data from a database table in Django! Let me know if you have any other questions.