Let’s say you have already added/committed some files to your git repository and you then add them to your .gitignore; these files will still be present in your repository index. This article we will see how to get rid of them.

Step 1: Commit all your changes

Before proceeding, make sure all your changes are committed, including your .gitignore file.

Step 2: Remove everything from the repository

To clear your repo, use:

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git rm -r --cached .
  • rm is the remove command
  • -r will allow recursive removal
  • –cached will only remove files from the index. Your files will still be there.
  • The . indicates that all files will be untracked. You can untrack a specific file with git rm --cached foo.txt (thanks @amadeann).

The rm command can be unforgiving. If you wish to try what it does beforehand, add the -n or --dry-run flag to test things out.

Step 3: Re add everything

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git add .

Step 4: Commit

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git commit -m ".gitignore fix"

Your repository is clean :)

Push the changes to your remote to see the changes effective there as well.