How to use Soft Deletes in Laravel



Hey there, fellow Laravel enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving deep into one of the coolest features of Laravel 10 – Soft Deletes. If you’re a developer looking to level up your data management game, you’ve come to the right place! In this post, we’ll explore how to leverage the power of Soft Deletes in Laravel 10, ensuring that your data remains intact and recoverable, even when faced with accidental deletions. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get started on using Soft Deletes in Laravel!

Understanding Soft Deletes in Laravel 10

Before we dive into the code, let’s quickly grasp the concept of Soft Deletes. In essence, Soft Deletes allow us to “delete” records from the database while retaining them behind the scenes. It’s like giving your data a second chance, just in case you ever need it back. Laravel 10 makes this process even more straightforward and efficient, allowing us to protect against accidental data loss with ease.

In Laravel 10, enabling Soft Deletes for a model is as simple as adding the `use SoftDeletes;` trait and the `protected $dates = [‘deleted_at’];` property to your model. This automatically gives your model the ability to perform Soft Deletes.

1. Adding the `deleted_at` column in Migration:

When creating a new table or modifying an existing table to support Soft Deletes, you need to add the `deleted_at` column to the table. You can achieve this in the migration file using the `softDeletes()` method.

Example migration file:

class CreatePostsTable extends Migration
    public function up()
        Schema::create('posts', function (Blueprint $table) {
            $table->softDeletes(); // Adds the 'deleted_at' column

    public function down()

The `softDeletes()` method adds the `deleted_at` column to the table, which will be used to store the timestamp when a record is soft-deleted.

Implementing Soft Deletes in Laravel 10

Now that we understand the theory, let’s put it into practice! Suppose we have a “Posts” table, and we want to enable Soft Deletes for it. First, ensure that your “Posts” model includes the `SoftDeletes` trait and the `$dates` property, as mentioned earlier.

Once you’ve set up the model, you can call the `delete()` method on an instance of the “Posts” model to perform a Soft Delete. Behind the scenes, Laravel sets the `deleted_at` timestamp and effectively hides the record from regular queries.

Example Eloquent model:

class Post extends Model
    use SoftDeletes; // Enable Soft Deletes for the model

    protected $dates = ['deleted_at']; // Specify the 'deleted_at' column as a date field

With the `SoftDeletes` trait and the `$dates` property, your model is now equipped to handle Soft Deletes. Whenever you call the `delete()` method on an instance of the model, it will update the `deleted_at` column with the current timestamp, effectively soft-deleting the record.

Deleting Data in the Controller

Alright, let’s bring it all together and see how we can delete data using a controller in our Laravel application.

Assuming you have a `Post` model with SoftDeletes enabled, and you want to soft-delete a specific post using the controller, follow these steps:

1. First, make sure to import the `Post` model at the beginning of your controller file.

2. In your controller method, you can find the post you want to delete by its ID and then call the `delete()` method to perform the delete operation.

3. If you want to perform a soft delete (recommended for maintaining data integrity), use the `delete()` method on the model instance. If you want to force delete the record (permanently removing it from the database), use the `forceDelete()` method.

Example Controller Method:

class PostController extends Controller
    public function softDeletePost($id)
        // Find the post by its ID
        $post = Post::findOrFail($id);

        // Soft delete the post

        // Optionally, you can redirect or return a response
        return redirect()->route('posts.index')->with('success', 'Post soft-deleted successfully!');

Permanently Deleting Records

Sometimes, Soft Deletes are just a safety net, and you want to get rid of those deleted records permanently. Laravel 10 makes this process smooth and seamless.

To permanently delete a Soft Deleted record, you can call the `forceDelete()` method on the model instance. This action will remove the record from the database permanently, and it won’t be recoverable anymore.

// Permanently delete a soft deleted post
$softDeletedPost = Post::onlyTrashed()->find($postId);

In the example above, we use the onlyTrashed() method to find the specific soft deleted post we want to permanently delete, and then we use the forceDelete() method on the model instance to remove it from the database permanently.Important Note: Be cautious when using the forceDelete() method, as it permanently removes the record from the database, and there’s no way to recover it after that. Make sure you really want to permanently delete the data before using this method.

Recovering Soft Deleted Data in Laravel 10

What’s fantastic about Soft Deletes in Laravel 10 is that it’s not a one-way street. You can easily recover your Soft Deleted data when needed. Say goodbye to those dreadful moments of accidental deletions!

To retrieve Soft Deleted records, you can use the `withTrashed()` method on your model’s query. This will include the Soft Deleted records along with the active ones. If you want to retrieve only the Soft Deleted records, you can use the `onlyTrashed()` method instead. Recovering your data is now as simple as calling the `restore()` method on the model instance.

Example Code:

// Retrieve all posts including soft deleted posts
$allPosts = Post::withTrashed()->get();

// Retrieve only the soft deleted posts
$softDeletedPosts = Post::onlyTrashed()->get();

// Restoring a soft deleted post
$softDeletedPost = Post::onlyTrashed()->find($postId);


Congratulations! You’ve now unlocked the potential of Soft Deletes in Laravel 10. By using this powerful feature, you can safeguard your data and prevent those hair-raising moments of accidental deletions. Laravel 10 has made Soft Deletes a breeze to implement, recover, and even permanently delete when necessary. So go ahead, embrace Soft Deletes in your projects, and code with confidence!

Remember, data protection is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity. Happy coding, and until next time, keep on Laravel-ing!

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