To free page cache:

echo 1 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches


To free d-entries and i-nodes:

echo 2 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches


To free page cache, d-entries and i-nodes:

echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches


Alternatively, we can do it using sysctl:

sysctl -w vm.drop_caches=1


or we can ask the kernel to reclaim the memory used for caching more aggressively:

sysctl -w vm.vfs_cache_pressure=n  (n > 100)


But in case the cache is used up because of a program reading a huge file, we can sacrifice some performance by asking the kernel to access the file directly rather than cache it in the memory, by invoking fcntl with the file descriptor fd:

fcntl(fd, F_SETFL, O_DIRECT)