What is the correct way to completely remove category attributes from the database?

Attributes were added this way using setup script:

$setup->addAttribute('catalog_category', 'seo_text', array(
    'group'             => 'General',
    'label'             => 'Additional Text',
    'type'              => 'text',
    'input'             => 'textarea',

    'backend'           => '',
    'frontend'          => '',
    'visible'           => true,
    'required'          => false,
    'searchable'        => false,
    'user_defined'      => true,
    'visible_on_front'  => true,
    'wysiwyg_enabled'   => false,
    'global'            => Mage_Catalog_Model_Resource_Eav_Attribute::SCOPE_STORE
$setup->addAttribute('catalog_category', 'cat_icon', array(
    'group'             => 'General',
    'label'             => 'Category icon',
    'type'              => 'varchar',
    'input'             => 'select',
    'source'            => 'categoryseo/source_ico',
    'backend'           => '',
    'frontend'          => '',
    'visible'           => true,
    'required'          => false,
    'searchable'        => false,
    'user_defined'      => true,
    'visible_on_front'  => true,
    'wysiwyg_enabled'   => false,
    'global'            => Mage_Catalog_Model_Resource_Eav_Attribute::SCOPE_STORE

Later these attributes were removed in another setup script, I used the standard code which can be found in many tutorials:

$setup = $this;
$setup->removeAttribute('catalog_category', 'seo_text');
$setup->removeAttribute('catalog_category', 'cat_icon');

This deleted the attributes from my categories. I also checked in the database and attributes were also removed from the table eav_attribute.

But data of these attributes is still stored in other tables. E.g. in table catalog_category_entity_varchar there is still info about attribute "cat_icon" for many categories.

Shouldn't all this data be automatically removed when I delete the attributes with $setup->removeAttribute(...) method? Does it mean that I have some errors in my Magento so Magento doesn't fully remove the attribute data?

Or did I just delete the attributes incorrectly? If yes, then how to do it properly? How to delete eav attributes and all the data associated with deleted attributes?

3 Answers 3


If you got orphan attribute values it means that there is something wrong with your database.
For example the table catalog_category_int has a constraint on the attribute_id column.


This means that if the attribute is deleted, all the values for the attribute from the table catalog_category_int will be deleted.
It's the same for the rest of the tables (catalog_category_*).

From experience I saw that usually constraints are lost during a migration process. You export the database but without the constraints. If this is the case then remember in the future to use System->Tools->Backupto create database dumps for migration.

Here is the code I've used. I've created a simple extension that adds an attribute to the category entity, I edited a category and filled in a value for that attribute, then deleted the attribute through an upgrade script.
Here are the extension files:

app/etc/module/Easylife_Attr.xml - declaration file

<?xml version="1.0"?>
                <Mage_Catalog />

app/code/local/Easylife/Attr/etc/config.xml - the configuration file

<?xml version="1.0"?>

app/code/local/Easylife/Attr/sql/easylife_attr_setup/install-0.0.1.php - the install script


$this->addAttribute('catalog_category', 'dummy', array(
    'group'         => 'General',
    'input'         => 'textarea',
    'type'          => 'text', //can be any type
    'label'         => 'Custom attribute',
    'backend'       => '',
    'visible'       => true,
    'required'      => false,
    'visible_on_front' => true,
    'global'        => Mage_Catalog_Model_Resource_Eav_Attribute::SCOPE_GLOBAL

Now add a value for this dummy attribute for a category.
You should see it in the table catalog_category_entity_text.

After that create an upgrade script to remove the attribute. app/code/local/Easylife/Attr/sql/easylife_attr_setup/upgrade-0.0.1-0.0.2.php

$this->removeAttribute('catalog_category', 'dummy');

and change in config.xml the version from 0.0.1 to 0.0.2.

Refresh any page and look in the same table catalog_category_entity_text. The value that was added for the dummy attribute is gone. (at least for me).

  • I tested this on a clean installation of Magento and when I remove attribute by using removeAttribute, all the values for that attribute are not deleted and are still in the database.
    – kahirm
    Jul 9, 2014 at 23:43
  • I've just tested on a clean install of using removeAttribute and the values were deleted. Make sure that your catalog_category_* tables have the constraint I mentioned in my answer. Other than that, make sure you are deleting the correct attribute.
    – Marius
    Jul 10, 2014 at 7:55
  • Thank you for your help. I'm testing this locally on XAMPP on Windows in clean Magento, and for me removeAttribute doesn't delete values. I checked table catalog_category_entity_varchar in phpMyAdmin, constraints are there, but this table still stores the value for attribute "cat_icon" which is of type varchar. Is it possbile that these constraints just doesn't work on XAMPP for some reason? Also, do we talk about the same tables? E.g. I don't see catalog_category_int, but there is catalog_category_entity_int.
    – kahirm
    Jul 10, 2014 at 15:16
  • @kahirm. Yes we are talking about the same tables. I just spelled them wrong. Sorry for that. It is catalog_category_entity_*. I tested on WAMP, but I don't think this is important. I have no other idea. I give up. I wasn't able to reproduce this.
    – Marius
    Jul 10, 2014 at 18:48
  • 2
    Doesn't $setup->startSetup(); disable the foreign key checking and all those constraint and cascade delete which you mentioned? In class Varien_Db_Adapter_Pdo_Mysql in startSetup() variable FOREIGN_KEY_CHECKS is set to zero. So maybe $setup->startSetup(); in my setup script is the problem? You don't have startSetup() in your example.
    – kahirm
    Aug 2, 2014 at 11:08

Remove the call to the methods startSetup() and endSetup() from your script.

They are dispensable.

Explanation : By removing the call to those methods, you are preventing the variable FOREIGN_KEY_CHECKS to be disabled and that way the constraints DELETE CASCADE are still executed.

Here is the code of those both methods (Magento :

$this->raw_query("SET SQL_MODE=''");


$this->raw_query("SET SQL_MODE=IFNULL(@OLD_SQL_MODE,'')");

The removeAttribute function simply removes the attribute but leaves the values in place. What you can do is follow up the removeAttribute with another second query that removes the values.

 * retrieve attribute id so that the records from the attribute table will be deleted, removing the attribute does not
 * cascade on the attribute table
$attributeId = $this->getAttributeId('catalog_category', 'seo_text');

// retrieve attribute table to delete the leftover records after the attribute removal
$attributeTable = $this->getAttributeTable('catalog_category', 'seo_text');
if(!empty ($attributeId) && !empty ($attributeTable)) {
    // remove attribute first so that another record won't be added to its table values
    $this->removeAttribute('catalog_category', 'seo_text');

    // remove attribute values so that no data is leftover after attribute removal
    $installer->run('DELETE FROM ' . $attributeTable . ' WHERE attribute_id = ' . $attributeId);


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