Unintrusive soft-delete for django

delete, django, soft-delete
pip install django-tombstones==0.1.13



Build Status PyPI version Requirements Status License: MIT

Unintrusive soft-delete for django.

An example admin screen for a soft-deletable model:

Example admin

Design decisions

  1. Only works for models that have a primary key of type UUID

  2. Does not change the behaviour of Model.delete. Instead adds soft_delete and soft_undelete methods to model instances.

  3. Does not care about cascading. If you soft-delete an object that has related objects, those related objects are untouched.

  4. The soft-deletion state of a model is stored in a generic tombstones table, so each model is not cluttered with any extra deleted attribute. This means:

    • Making a model soft-deletable does not require database changes to that model's table.
    • When using django-rest-framework model serializers, there is no need to worry about some deleted attribute appearing.
    • When querying soft-deletable models, an extra join to the tombstone table is made.


  • Python: 3.4 and over
  • Django: 1.8 or 1.10 and over


Add tombstones to your INSTALLED_APPS, together with the contenttypes app that comes with django (it's most likely already an installed app):


For every model where you want soft-delete, you should inherit from SoftDeleteModel:

class MyModel(SoftDeleteModel):

You should also use the soft-delete-aware ModelAdmin, and configure it:

class MyModelAdmin(SoftDeleteModelAdmin):
    list_filter = [SoftDeletedListFilter]             # Hides soft-deleted objects by default, and gives the option to show all objects.
    list_display = [..., 'soft_delete_button']        # Adds a column on the admin list with a button to delete/undelete the object
    readonly_fields = [..., 'soft_delete_button']     # Adds a button on the detail list to delete/undelete the object