When I woke up this morning, I found my root had filled overnight

du -hx --max-depth=1 /

132M    /boot  
4.0K    /media  
16K /lost+found  
16M /root  
702M    /lib  
4.0K    /OLDHOME  
8.2G    /usr  
73M /etc  
4.0K    /srv  
11M /sbin  
4.0K    /selinux  
8.0K    /.config  
4.0K    /cdrom  
4.6G    /var  
181M    /opt  
4.0K    /mnt  
9.3M    /bin  
4.0K    /lib64  
14G /  

The space is used by /var/cache/polipo (2.7G). How can I clean this up safely?
I tried restarts=>didn't work
Used bleachbit=>the space is not detected in the cleanup preview

PS: I did rm -rf youtube inside /var/cache/polipo and it freed up 2G space. Dunno if it was safe though

  • 1
    whats that polipo ?
    – Raja G
    Oct 29, 2013 at 0:45
  • 1
    polipo is a caching proxy
    – avmohan
    Oct 29, 2013 at 2:12

6 Answers 6


Method 1:

sudo apt-get autoclean
sudo apt-get autoremove

Method 2:

Launch your bleachbit as root user : no space in disk; sudo apt-get clean not working

  • 7
    All these were already done. The problem is in /var/cache. I want to know how to clean /var/cache safely.
    – avmohan
    Oct 29, 2013 at 2:13
  • 1
    went from 500M to 300M but somehow not everything...hmm...
    – rogerdpack
    May 8, 2017 at 5:10

Polipo, a web caching program may store a lot of data in an on-disk cache.

One way to clear this up is to issue the command sudo polipo -x - this will cause polipo to clear the local disk cache.

  • 4
    This is the ONLY right answer to this question (regarding polipo)! Why the hell does it not already have enough votes to make that clear?!? Oct 12, 2017 at 3:09

The most powerful of all commands to clean the cache for command line users is of course

sudo apt clean

Which will also delete all the cached files.

  • I don't know what this command did but it didn't clear /var/cache, space is nearly double after I ran it!
    – Nagev
    Oct 2, 2018 at 8:51
  • 2
    This command will only delete the apt cache from /var/cache/apt.
    – ranu
    Jan 18, 2021 at 17:17

Try cleaning ubuntu unnecesarry files using bleachbit. It is a tool that will help you clean your cache, temp files, cookies and it has other features also...

To install it:

sudo apt-get install bleachbit
  • 5
    Unfortunately it appears to be an X windows app, any love for us server command line folk?
    – rogerdpack
    May 8, 2017 at 5:09
  • 2
    yes that will work when your disk is full...
    – RickyA
    Jun 13, 2017 at 15:19

It sounds so obvious, and yet chances are you haven’t done this.

By default Ubuntu keeps every update it downloads and installs in a cache on your disk, just in case you ever need it again.

This is useful if you regularly add and remove apps, find yourself needing to reconfigure/reinstall a specific package, or simply have a poor connection.

But the flip side is that the apt package cache can quickly swell to several hundred MBs. This command tells you how big your apt cache is:

du -sh /var/cache/apt/archives

To clean the apt cache on Ubuntu simply run the following command.

sudo apt-get clean

The apt clean command removes ALL packages kept in the apt cache, regardless of age or need. If you’re on a slow, capped or intermittent connection you may want to consider skipping this step.


  • 2
    It is all true what you say but the OP wrote "The space is used by /var/cache/polipo (2.7G)"
    – PerlDuck
    Feb 7, 2019 at 19:32

Go to settings > privacy > File history & Trash scroll down and click delete temporary files.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .