I am trying to update the value of one custom post type's meta when another custom post type is deleted.

When a space_rental is deleted, I need to update some meta value on a space.

I don't think I can use delete_post because it fires after the meta data has been deleted, but this isn't working for me either (either on trashing the post or emptying the trash).

Here is the function and below that is the structure of the meta data for each post type.

//When a space_rental is deleted, we release the space slots they had saved
add_action( 'before_delete_post', 'tps_delete_space_rental' );
function tps_delete_space_rental( $postid ){

if (get_post_type($postid) != 'space_rental') {
//Loop through the selected slots in the rental
$selectedSlots = get_post_meta($postid, 'selectedSlots', true);
foreach ($selectedSlots as $slot) {
    $spaceSlots = get_post_meta($slot['spaceid'], 'allSlots', true);
    //Loop through the slots in the space and find the ones that have the rentalID set to the deleted post
    foreach ($spaceSlots as $sSlot) {
        if($postid == $sSlot['details']['rentalID']) {
            $sSlot['details']['slotStatus'] = 'open';

The 'space' post_type meta is stored like this:

allSlots => array(
'timestamp' => '123456789', //timestamp representing this slot
'details' => array(
    'slotStatus' => 'open', //this is either open or filled
    'slotUser' => 123, //The ID of the user who owns the rental using this slot
    'rentalID' => 345, //The post_id of the 'space_rental' that is using this slot

This 'space_rental' post_type meta is stored like this:

selectedSlots => array(
'spaceSlots' => array(
    123456789, 654321987, 9876432654, etc...,// An array of timestamps in this rental
    'spaceid' => 789, //The post_id of the 'space' where this rental is

2 Answers 2


There's a trash post hook

add_action( 'trash_post', 'my_func' );
function my_func( $postid ){

    // We check if the global post type isn't ours and just return
    global $post_type;   
    if ( $post_type != 'my_custom_post_type' ) return;

    // My custom stuff for deleting my custom post type here
  • It's important to note the hook runs only when the WordPress user empties the Trash. If you're using this hook note that it will not fire if the user is deleting an Attachment, since attachments are force deleted, i.e., not sent to the Trash. Instead use the delete_post() hook. From the link
    – Benoti
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 9:39
  • How is that an answer to the problem on hand? Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 16:34
  • My bad, I've changed the action to trash_post
    – Tunji
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 16:45

if you want to to catch it when user delete( means click trash on post) then possible solution is to use trash_post hook

add_action( 'trash_post', 'my_func_before_trash',999,1);

function my_func_before_trash($postid){
        //my custom code
  • +1 But if you're using this, you might have to consider what happens when untrashing - there's the hook untrash_post. Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 16:32
  • Not working for me. Can't get_post_meta on either delete_post or trash_post...
    – JohnG
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 12:03

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