How To Delete Mails From Or To A Specific Email Address From Your Mail Queue (Postfix)

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme

If you get hit by a spam attack that floods your server with hundreds/thousands of emails from the same sender email address or to the same recipient email address, you can clean your mail queue from these emails with one single command before the mail flood takes your server to its knees.

You can check your current mail queue like this:

postqueue -p

To delete all mails from the mail queue that come from [email protected] or are sent to [email protected] (the command is the same regardless of if it's the sender or recipient address), you can use this command:

mailq | tail +2 | awk 'BEGIN { RS = "" } / [email protected]\.com$/ { print $1 }' | tr -d '*!' | postsuper -d -   

Afterwards check your mail queue again:

postqueue -p

It should now be much shorter.

Share this page:

25 Comment(s)

Add comment

Please register in our forum first to comment.


By: Anonymous

You should probably use tail -n +2 instead of tail -2 which is deprecated and does not work everywhere.

By: Anonymous

Hello, I've the same problem. more than 60000 mails is in the mail queue! and I can't delete it, handy. I use this command and after 1 second it will done without any error but it doesn't work.


mailq | tail -n +2 | awk 'BEGIN { RS = "" } / [email protected]\.com$/ { print $1 }' | tr -d '*!' | postsuper -d -

By: Dan Purcell

It worked for me when I ran it this way:

postqueue -p | tail -n +2 | awk 'BEGIN { RS = "" } / [email protected]\.net/ { print $1 }' | tr -d '*!' | postsuper -d -


+1 for your Comment.

This Command works for me too on Debian Squeeze.

By: Anonymous

Why not:


mailq|fgrep [email protected]|sed 's/\*.*//'|postsuper -d -

By: Bryand

mailq | tail -n +2 | awk 'BEGIN { RS = "" } / [email protected]\$/ { print $1 }' | tr -d '*!' | sudo /opt/zimbra/postfix/sbin/postsuper -d -

mailq|fgrep [email protected]|sed 's/\*.*//'|sudo /opt/zimbra/postfix/sbin/postsuper -d -

this command works for me.

By: Joe B

This worked for me (taken from above). 12/18/2018. Thanks Dan.


/opt/zimbra/postfix- -p | tail -n +2 | awk 'BEGIN { RS = "" } / [email protected]\.com/ { print $1 }' | tr -d '*!' | sudo /opt/zimbra/postfix/sbin/postsuper -d -


By: Anonymous

Works on wheezy

By: Anonymous

This was the only one that worked for me on RHEL

By: Ivan DaGreat

This worked like a charm - 18k emails - 2secs.

Ubuntu - CentOS

By: maethlin

+1 thank you for this comment as well. Worked for me on a CentOS 6.8 server

By: Chris

Works perfectly! 


By: liviu

worked for me as well

By: Edo

For me works this

mailq | tail -n +2 | awk 'BEGIN { RS = "" } / [email protected]\.com$/ { print $1 }' | tr -d '*!' | sudo postsuper -d -


The above commands are not working

For deleting email from some domain, you can use
<code> mailq | awk '$7 ~ /@domain.tld$/ { print $1 }' | tr -d '*!' | postsuper -d -</code>

for deleting email from specified user, use 
<code>mailq | awk '$7 ~/^[email protected]$/ { print $1 }' | tr -d '*!' | postsuper -d -or for </code>


By: Anonymous

this one works for me on debian ... THANX

By: Some Guy

postsuper -d <queue id> works much more easily.

get the id from postqueue -p:

8D609414BFF4     9564 Fri Feb 27 10:42:42  [email protected]

(conversation with[] timed out while receiving the initial server greeting)

So in this case

postsuper -d 8D609414BFF4


By: till

If you have just one or two mails, then yes. If you have o clean up a few thousand spam mails, then its more handy to use a script like the one above. 

By: DearWebby

Nice for Postfix, but how do I do that with SENDMAIL?


By: Steven

Somehow your solution didn't work for me. However, what did work is this:

mailq | grep -E "^[A-Z0-9]+" | grep [email protected] | cut -c1-12 | postsuper -d -


By: Hannes

a liitle bit eassier: mailq |grep -i [email protected] |cut -c1-10 | postsuper -d -


By: Ninja



postqueue -p | tail -n +2 | awk 'BEGIN { RS = "" } / [email protected]\.net/ { print $1 }' | tr -d '*!' | postsuper -d -

By: Tattwam

I am having Mac OS X Server. I have faced spamming issues several times. It shows few thousands emails in the mail queue (sudo mailq). When firing sudo postfix -d ALL , it doesn't give any output like xxx messages deleted.

By: John

@tattwam On Mac OS X Server, you must specify the full path inside of the package when invoking the "post*" commands (mailq does not require the path). So if you wanted to invoke... postqueue -p ...on OS X Server, you would invoke... /Applications/ -p If you don't include the path, it tries to use the wrong queue and you'll get invalid (empty) results. If you have a command like the mailq command above that invokes "postsuper -d" at the end, just paste in that same path just before postsuper, so the command above would end up as: mailq | tail +2 | awk 'BEGIN { RS = "" } / [email protected]\.com$/ { print $1 }' | tr -d '*!' | /Applications/ -d -

By: RkaneKNight

I just used this...

mailq | grep username | cut -c1-12 | postsuper -d -