How does the intent to remember or forget information affect working memory (WM)? To explore this question, in four experiments, we gauged the availability of the to-be-forgotten information directly. Participants remembered six words presented sequentially in separate frames. After each word offset, the frame turned either blue or orange, indicating a to-be-remembered or to-be-forgotten word, respectively. In all experiments, consistently poor recognition performance for to-be-forgotten words and facilitation of to-be-remembered words demonstrated that intent has a strong impact on WM. These directed-forgetting effects are remarkably robust: They can be observed when testing the to-be-forgotten words up to four times (Experiment 1, n = 341), for both item and binding memory (Experiment 3, n = 124), and even when information has to be maintained in WM up to 5 s until the memory cue is presented (Experiment 2 + 4, n = 302 + 321). Our study establishes a new method to jointly study the effects of intent on WM content for both relevant and irrelevant information and provides evidence for directed forgetting in WM. Our research suggests that a combination of two processes causes directed forgetting in WM: One process reduces memory strength of earlier memory representations as a function of subsequently encoded events. Another process rapidly encodes or boosts memory strength only when the person intends to remember that information.