Remove empty html tags recursively

Sometimes we have the code with html tags that contain nothing but whitespace characters. Often those tags are nested. See a code below:


What regex might be used to find and remove those tags?

Obvious solution is <div>\s*?<\/div> .

\s stands for “whitespace character”. It includes [ \t\n\x0B\f\r]. That is: \s matches a space( ) or a tab (\t) or a line(\n) break or a vertical tab (\x0B) sometimes referred as (\v) or a form feed (\f) or a carriage return (\r) .

General case

In general case, we use the following regex:
<(?<tag>[a-z]+?)( [^>]+?|)>\s*?<\/(\k<tag>)>

where <tag> is a named match group: [a-z]+?

JAVA code

When applying it recursively we might use the following code, JAVA:

public static String removeEmptyTags(String html) {
        boolean compareFound = true;
        Pattern pattern = Pattern.compile("<(?<tag>[a-z]+?)( [^>]+?|)>\\s*?</(\\k<tag>)>", Pattern.MULTILINE | Pattern.DOTALL);
        while (compareFound) {
            compareFound = false;
            Matcher matcher = pattern.matcher(html);
            if(matcher.find()) {
                compareFound = true;
                html = matcher.replaceAll("");
        return html;

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