How to clear all children within a parent element using JavaScript

OpenJavaScript 0
Reading Time: < 1 minute 🕑

Last updated: July 25, 2022.

A simple way to clear the inner-contents of an element is to set the innerHTML property of the parent to an empty string. This overwrites any existing content with this new value:

<div id="parent">
  <span>Content</span>
  <img src="myImage.png" alt="My image">
  <p>Text</p>
  Thanks for reading!
</div>

<script type="text/javascript">

parent = document.getElementById('parent');
console.log(parent.children.length);  // 3

parent.innerHTML = "";
console.log(parent.children.length); // 0 (div has not inner content)

</script>

Alternatively, for the same result, you can loop through the children of the parent element, removing one each time until there are no more children:

<div id="parent">
  <span>Content</span>
  <img src="myImage.png" alt="My image">
  <p>Text</p>
  Thanks for reading!
</div>

<script type="text/javascript">

parent = document.getElementById('parent');
console.log(parent.children.length);  // 3

while(parent.firstChild){ // while there is still a child inside the parent
  parent.removeChild(parent.firstChild); // remove the first child
}
console.log(parent.children.length); // 0

</script>

In the tests we conducted using JSBEN.CH, the innerHTML solution was found to be about 10% faster than looping, though the difference was small enough that it could vary by browser.