Today I had a machine that had no swap space left which in return triggered a monitoring alert. Since the pressure was already gone but the swap wasn't cleared fast enough I searched and found this script as a nice solution. The script was a bit older and was made for a version of free that seperated buffers and caches. In newer versions they are combined as "buff/cache" and a new field is introduced that shows the combined available memory. Which gave me a chance to simplify the script.


free_mem="$(free | grep 'Mem:' | awk '{print $7}')"
used_swap="$(free | grep 'Swap:' | awk '{print $3}')"

echo -e "Free memory:\t$free_mem kB ($((free_mem / 1024)) MiB)\nUsed swap:\t$used_swap kB ($((used_swap / 1024)) MiB)"
if [[ $used_swap -eq 0 ]]; then
    echo "Congratulations! No swap is in use."
elif [[ $used_swap -lt $free_mem ]]; then
    echo "Freeing swap..."
    sudo swapoff -a
    sudo swapon -a
    echo "Not enough free memory. Exiting."
    exit 1

 Thx Scott Severance for the initial script