How to Remove an Event listener in React

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Borislav Hadzhiev

Last updated: Jan 17, 2023
3 min

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# Remove an Event listener in React

To remove an event listener in React:

  1. Add the event listener in the useEffect hook.
  2. Return a function from the useEffect hook.
  3. Use the removeEventListener method to remove the event listener when the component unmounts.
App.js
import {useRef, useEffect} from 'react'; const App = () => { const ref = useRef(null); useEffect(() => { const handleClick = event => { console.log('Button clicked'); }; const element = ref.current; element.addEventListener('click', handleClick); // ๐Ÿ‘‡๏ธ remove the event listener when the component unmounts return () => { element.removeEventListener('click', handleClick); }; }, []); return ( <div> <button ref={ref}>Click</button> </div> ); }; export default App;

We added an event listener to an element in the useEffect hook of the component.

If you want to add an event listener to the window, or document objects, use the same approach, excluding the ref.
App.js
useEffect(() => { const handleClick = event => { console.log('Button clicked'); }; const element = ref.current; element.addEventListener('click', handleClick); // ๐Ÿ‘‡๏ธ remove the event listener when the component unmounts return () => { element.removeEventListener('click', handleClick); }; }, []);

We passed an empty dependencies array to the useEffect hook, so it's only going to run when the component mounts.

We only want to call the addEventListener method once - when the component mounts.

We stored a reference to the element in a variable and used the addEventListener method to add a click event listener to the button.

The first parameter the method takes is the type of event to listen for and the second is a function that gets invoked when an event of the specified type occurs.

The function we returned from the useEffect hook is called when the component unmounts.
App.js
return () => { element.removeEventListener('click', handleClick); };

We used the removeEventListener method to remove the event listener that we previously registered.

The cleanup step is important because we want to make sure we don't have any memory leaks in our application.

The 2 parameters we passed to the removeEventListener method are:

  1. The type of event for which to remove the event listener.
  2. The corresponding event handler function.

Here is a better way to visualize how removing an event listener works in React.

App.js
import {useRef, useState, useEffect} from 'react'; const Box = () => { const ref = useRef(null); useEffect(() => { const handleClick = event => { console.log('Button clicked'); console.log('bobbyhadz.com'); }; const element = ref.current; element.addEventListener('click', handleClick); // ๐Ÿ‘‡๏ธ remove the event listener when the component unmounts return () => { element.removeEventListener('click', handleClick); console.log('โœ… Event listener removed'); }; }, []); return ( <div> <button ref={ref}>Click</button> </div> ); }; const App = () => { const [isShown, setIsShown] = useState(true); return ( <div> {isShown && <Box />} <br /> <br /> <button onClick={() => setIsShown(isShown => !isShown)}> Toggle box visibility </button> </div> ); }; export default App;

react remove event listener

The Box component has registered a click event listener that gets triggered every time the user clicks on the button.

The useEffect hook of the component returns a cleanup function that runs when the component unmounts.

App.js
return () => { element.removeEventListener('click', handleClick); console.log('โœ… Event listener removed'); };

We used a boolean state variable in the App component in order to render and unmount the Box component.

When the Box component unmounts, the "Event listener removed" message gets logged to the console and the event listener gets removed.

# Additional Resources

You can learn more about the related topics by checking out the following tutorials:

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Copyright ยฉ 2024 Borislav Hadzhiev