How to fix — Kubernetes namespace deleting stuck in Terminating state

Craig Newton
3 min readJul 12, 2019
Photo by Micaela Parente on Unsplash

So AWS launched their hosted Kubernetes called EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service) last year and we merrily jumped onboard and deployed most of our services in the months since then. Everything was looking great and working amazing until I started doing some cleanup on the platform. I am sure that it was possibly my fault for adding deployments, removing deployments, moving nodes around, terminating nodes, etc. over a period of time, I pretty much scrambled its marbles.

I removed everything from a namespace I had created called ‘logging’ as I was moving all the resource to a different namespace called ‘monitoring’. I then proceeded to delete the namespace using kubectl delete namespace logging. Everything looked great and when I listed the namespaces and it was showing the state of that namespace as Terminating. I proceeded with my day to day DevOps routine and came back later to find the namespace still stuck in the Terminatingstate. I ignored it and went and had a great weekend. Coming back on Monday, that same namespace was still there, stuck on Terminating. Frustrated I turned to Google and started looking if anyone had the same issue. There were quite a few results, tried most of them to no avail until I stumbled on this issue: I tried most of the recommendations also to no avail until I started mixing and matching some of the commands, and then finally, I got rid of that namespace that was stuck in the Terminating state. I know, I could have left it there and not bothered with it, but my OCD kicked in and I wanted it gone ;)

So it turns out I had to remove the finalizer for kubernetes. But the catch was not to just apply the change using kubectl apply -f, it had to go via the cluster API for it to work.

Before we get into, please take some time to check out this amazing book called Machine Learning on Kubernetes from Packt Publishing. Grab a copy now to see how you can build amazing machine learning applications on Kubernetes.

Here are the instructions I used to delete that namespace:

Step 1: Dump the descriptor as JSON to a file

kubectl get namespace logging -o json > logging.json

Open the file for editing:

Remove kubernetes from the finalizers array:

Step 2: Executing our cleanup command

Now that we have that setup we can instruct our cluster to get rid of that annoying namespace:

Update: The command below was posted in the comments section by Valer Cara, so I have adjusted the article to use this snippet instead as it is a lot simpler than the commands used before.


After running that command, the namespace should now be absent from your namespaces list.

The key thing to note here is the resource you are modifying, in our case, it is for namespaces, it could be pods, deployments, services, etc. This same method can be applied to those resources stuck in Terminating state.

More Resources

Want to learn more about Kubernetes. Please check out this great book that I helped review:

The Kubernetes Workshop
The Kubernetes Workshop