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Removing Event Listeners with removeEventListener (Live Playground)

In this tutorial, we'll learn how to use the removeEventListener() method to detach event listeners from HTML elements, which allows you to manage your event handlers more effectively in JavaScript.

What is removeEventListener?

The removeEventListener() method is a built-in JavaScript function that allows you to detach an event listener from an HTML element. This method can be useful when you want to stop listening for a specific event, remove duplicated event listeners, or clean up event listeners before removing an element from the DOM.

The removeEventListener() method takes the same two arguments as addEventListener():

  1. event: The type of event you want to stop listening for, such as click, mousedown, or keyup.
  2. listener: The function that was previously attached as an event listener.

Here's the basic syntax for using removeEventListener():

element.removeEventListener(event, listener);

Example: Handling a Button Click and Removing the Event Listener

Let's create an example where we handle a button click, then remove the event listener after the first click:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<title>removeEventListener Example: Button Click</title>
<h1>Click the Button</h1>
<button id="myButton">Click me</button>

// Get the button element by its ID
const button = document.getElementById('myButton');

// Function to handle the click event
function handleClick() {
console.log('Button clicked!');
button.removeEventListener('click', handleClick);

// Add a click event listener to the button
button.addEventListener('click', handleClick);

In this example, we first get the button element by its ID using document.getElementById(). We then define a handleClick() function that logs a message to the console when the button is clicked. After logging the message, we use the removeEventListener() method to detach the handleClick() function from the click event on the button element. This ensures that the event listener is removed after the first click, and subsequent clicks will not trigger the handleClick() function.

Live Playground, Try it Yourself

Important Note: Anonymous Functions and removeEventListener

When using removeEventListener(), it's essential to note that anonymous functions cannot be removed using this method. This is because removeEventListener() requires the same exact function that was passed to addEventListener(). Since anonymous functions are unique instances, you won't be able to reference the same anonymous function again to remove it. To remove an event listener, you must use a named function instead.


Using removeEventListener() is important when you need to manage your event handlers in JavaScript effectively. It allows you to detach event listeners when they're no longer needed, preventing unnecessary event handling and improving the overall performance of your web applications.