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The strip() Function in Python

Python supports object-oriented programming and has a concise, readable, and easy-to-learn syntax. It is no wonder that it is one of the most popular programming languages. An integral part of Python are its built-in functions. 

We've written a series of articles to help you learn and brush up on the most useful Python functions. In this article, we’ll learn about Python's strip() function and how to use it. 

If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready! Also, read Python String join() Method, Python Exit commands, and Type and Isinstance In Python for more content on Python coding interview preparation.

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In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What Is the strip() Function in Python and What Does It Do?
  • The strip() Function in Python: Syntax
  • The strip() Function in Python 3: Example
  • FAQs on the strip() Function in Python

What Is the strip() Function in Python and What Does it Do?

Python’s strip() function is a built-in function that removes specific leading and trailing characters from the start and end of the original string. These characters to remove are given as an argument to strip() for removal. 

If we provide no string as an argument, then the strip() function removes leading and trailing whitespaces by default. If no leading or trailing strings match the argument, the new string returned is the same as the original string.

The strip() Function in Python: Syntax


string.strip([characters])

Parameter: 

characters (optional): Set of characters to remove from the start and end of the original string.

Return Value:

Returns a new string that’s a copy of the original string with required leading and trailing characters removed.

The strip() Function in Python 3: Example

Here, we take a look at how you can use the Python function strip() the next time you need it:

Code to Explain the Working of strip() in Python

Here’s a basic example to understand the working of the strip() function in Python:


stringExample = "interview inter interinter"
print(stringExample.strip("inter"))

From the start:

  • The first instance of “inter” is found in “interview” and removed. 
  • The next instance is checked at “v,” and since that’s a mismatch, removal from the start ends there.
  • The string now starts with “v.”

From the end:

  • The last “inter” in “interinter” is removed first.
  • The next instance is checked at “r” in “interinter,” which is found and removed.
  • The next check happens at the space “ “ between “inter” and “interinter.” Since that’s a mismatch, removal from the end ends there.
  • The string now ends with a space.

Output

Note that the search from the start or end stops as soon as there's a mismatch in the original string.


view inter

Code to Demonstrate the Working of strip() With More Examples


# Using strip() in Python 3

# Default strip based on space
stringExample1 = "    This is *****Interview Kickstart******     !    "
print("Original string 1: "+ stringExample1)

strippedString1 = stringExample1.strip()
print("By default strip() strips spaces from the left and right ends: "+ strippedString1+ "\n")

# Stripping based on a letter, strip() is case sensitive, removes instances only at the ends
stringExample2 = "This is Interview Kickstart"
print("Original string 2: "+ stringExample2)

strippedString2 = stringExample2.strip("t")
print("Strip t from the left and right ends only removes lowercase t: "+ strippedString2+ "\n")

# Stripping example using symbols


# Using a symbol in the middle (!)
stringExample3 = "****This is Interview Kickstart!****"
print("Original string 3: "+ stringExample3)

strippedString3 = stringExample3.strip("!")
print("Since ! is not at the end, strip() doesn't remove it: "+ strippedString3)

# Using a symbol at the end that repeats at the ends several times(*). strip() only strips all instances of the symbol at the ends
strippedString4 = stringExample3.strip("*")
print("Strip * from the left and right ends: "+ strippedString4)

Output


Original string 1:     This is *****Interview Kickstart******     !    
By default strip() strips spaces from the left and right ends: This is *****Interview Kickstart******     !

Original string 2: This is Interview Kickstart
Strip t from the left and right ends only removes lowercase t: This is Interview Kickstar

Original string 3: ****This is Interview Kickstart!****
Since ! is not at the end, strip() doesn't remove it: ****This is Interview Kickstart!****
Strip * from the left and right ends: This is Interview Kickstart!

Found this article helpful? You can learn about more Python functions on the learn page. 

FAQs on the strip() Function in Python

Q1. What is the use of the function strip() in Python?

The strip() method removes characters from both the left and right ends based on the optional argument we can pass to strip(). The optional argument is a string specifying the set of characters to remove if present at the start or the end.

Q2. How do you strip whitespace in a line in Python?

In Python, we can use some string functions like strip() to remove extra spaces from both ends, lstrip() to remove from only the left end, and rstrip() to remove from the right end only. Since we cannot modify strings in place, all these three functions return new strings with the necessary leading and trailing characters removed.

Q3. How would you strip whitespaces in Python?

Python’s string function called strip() removes both leading and trailing whitespaces. To remove only leading or trailing spaces, we can use lstrip() for leading spaces and rstrip() function for trailing spaces.

Q4. Does strip() remove newline Python?

Python’s strip() function can remove \n, a newline character, from a string. The strip() function can remove both trailing and leading newline characters from the original string.

Q5. What is the difference between Python’s strip() and split() functions with respect to whitespaces?

There's no practical difference as split() by default ignores trailing whitespace at the end of the input. If someone calls strip() first and then uses split(), they either don’t know this behavior of split(), or they’re just doing it for clarity. 

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