JavaScript DOM remove element


I'm trying to test if a DOM element exists, and if it does exist delete it, and if it doesn't exist create it.

var duskdawnkey = localStorage["duskdawnkey"];
var iframe = document.createElement("iframe");
var whereto = document.getElementById("debug");
var frameid = document.getElementById("injected_frame");
iframe.setAttribute("id", "injected_frame");
iframe.setAttribute("src", '');
iframe.setAttribute("width", "100%");
iframe.setAttribute("height", "400");

if (frameid) // check and see if iframe is already on page
{ //yes? Remove iframe
} else // no? Inject iframe
    // add the newly created element and it's content into the DOM
    my_div = document.getElementById("debug");
    document.body.insertBefore(iframe, my_div);

Checking if it exists works, creating the element works, but deleting the element doesn't. Basically all this code does is inject an iframe into a webpage by clicking a button. What I would like to happen is if the iframe is already there to delete it. But for some reason I am failing.

This question is tagged with javascript dom

~ Asked on 2012-01-12 06:06:29

The Best Answer is


removeChild should be invoked on the parent, i.e.:


In your example, you should be doing something like:

if (frameid) {

~ Answered on 2012-01-12 06:11:59


In most browsers, there's a slightly more succinct way of removing an element from the DOM than calling .removeChild(element) on its parent, which is to just call element.remove(). In due course, this will probably become the standard and idiomatic way of removing an element from the DOM.

The .remove() method was added to the DOM Living Standard in 2011 (commit), and has since been implemented by Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Edge. It was not supported in any version of Internet Explorer.

If you want to support older browsers, you'll need to shim it. This turns out to be a little irritating, both because nobody seems to have made a all-purpose DOM shim that contains these methods, and because we're not just adding the method to a single prototype; it's a method of ChildNode, which is just an interface defined by the spec and isn't accessible to JavaScript, so we can't add anything to its prototype. So we need to find all the prototypes that inherit from ChildNode and are actually defined in the browser, and add .remove to them.

Here's the shim I came up with, which I've confirmed works in IE 8.

(function () {
    var typesToPatch = ['DocumentType', 'Element', 'CharacterData'],
        remove = function () {
            // The check here seems pointless, since we're not adding this
            // method to the prototypes of any any elements that CAN be the
            // root of the DOM. However, it's required by spec (see point 1 of
            // and would
            // theoretically make a difference if somebody .apply()ed this
            // method to the DOM's root node, so let's roll with it.
            if (this.parentNode != null) {

    for (var i=0; i<typesToPatch.length; i++) {
        var type = typesToPatch[i];
        if (window[type] && !window[type].prototype.remove) {
            window[type].prototype.remove = remove;

This won't work in IE 7 or lower, since extending DOM prototypes isn't possible before IE 8. I figure, though, that on the verge of 2015 most people needn't care about such things.

Once you've included them shim, you'll be able to remove a DOM element element from the DOM by simply calling


~ Answered on 2014-12-19 21:46:40

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