How to clear the canvas for redrawing


After experimenting with composite operations and drawing images on the canvas I'm now trying to remove images and compositing. How do I do this?

I need to clear the canvas for redrawing other images; this can go on for a while so I don't think drawing a new rectangle every time will be the most efficient option.

9/17/2016 1:35:47 AM

Accepted Answer

const context = canvas.getContext('2d');

context.clearRect(0, 0, canvas.width, canvas.height);
4/13/2018 11:22:28 AM

If you are drawing lines, make sure you don't forget:


Otherwise the lines won't get cleared.


Others have already done an excellent job answering the question but if a simple clear() method on the context object would be useful to you (it was to me), this is the implementation I use based on answers here:

CanvasRenderingContext2D.prototype.clear = 
  CanvasRenderingContext2D.prototype.clear || function (preserveTransform) {
    if (preserveTransform) {;
      this.setTransform(1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0);

    this.clearRect(0, 0, this.canvas.width, this.canvas.height);

    if (preserveTransform) {


window.onload = function () {
  var canvas = document.getElementById('canvasId');
  var context = canvas.getContext('2d');

  // do some drawing

  // do some more drawing
  context.setTransform(-1, 0, 0, 1, 200, 200);
  // do some drawing with the new transform
  // draw more, still using the preserved transform

  • Chrome responds well to: context.clearRect ( x , y , w , h ); as suggested by @Pentium10 but IE9 seems to completely ignore this instruction.
  • IE9 seems to respond to: canvas.width = canvas.width; but it doesn't clear lines, just shapes, pictures and other objects unless you also use @John Allsopp's solution of first changing the width.

So if you have a canvas and context created like this:

var canvas = document.getElementById('my-canvas');
var context = canvas.getContext('2d');

You can use a method like this:

function clearCanvas(context, canvas) {
  context.clearRect(0, 0, canvas.width, canvas.height);
  var w = canvas.width;
  canvas.width = 1;
  canvas.width = w;

This is 2018 and still there is no native method to completely clear canvas for redrawing. clearRect() does not clear the canvas completely. Non-fill type drawings are not cleared out (eg. rect())

1.To completely clear canvas irrespective of how you draw:

context.clearRect(0, 0, context.canvas.width, context.canvas.height);

Pros: Preserves strokeStyle, fillStyle etc.; No lag;

Cons: Unnecessary if you are already using beginPath before drawing anything

2.Using the width/height hack:

context.canvas.width = context.canvas.width;


context.canvas.height = context.canvas.height;

Pros: Works with IE Cons: Resets strokeStyle, fillStyle to black; Laggy;

I was wondering why a native solution does not exist. Actually, clearRect() is considered as the single line solution because most users do beginPath() before drawing any new path. Though beginPath is only to be used while drawing lines and not closed path like rect().

This is the reason why the accepted answer did not solve my problem and I ended up wasting hours trying different hacks. Curse you mozilla


Use clearRect method by passing x,y co-ordinates and height and width of canvas. ClearRect will clear whole canvas as :

canvas = document.getElementById("canvas");
ctx = canvas.getContext("2d");
ctx.clearRect(0, 0, canvas.width, canvas.height);

Licensed under: CC-BY-SA with attribution
Not affiliated with: Stack Overflow
Email: [email protected]