Whether your cat is cute and cuddly or an independent soul, they have one thing in common: the litter box. Scooping litter is a fact of life for cat owners, but litter box odors can be overwhelming. You don’t have to deal with unpleasant litter smells in-between cleanings. There are things you can do to eliminate litter box odors and make your home a pleasant-smelling oasis for you and your cat.
Scooping your litter box regularly (at least once a day) is the first key step to reducing litter box odor, along with replacing litter once a week and replacing your litter box once a year. In addition to regular maintenance, adding cat litter deodorizer can help reduce odor even further. These products can increase the life of your litter and keep it smelling fresh when you have to go a little longer between cleanings.
Let’s take a look at the top cat litter deodorizers available to help get rid of that smell!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2022
The 11 Best Cat Litter Deodorizers
1. Hepper Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray – Best Overall
|Cleaner Type:||Enzyme cleaner|
|Top ingredients:||Live and Beneficial Bacterial Spores|
The Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator does it all. It tackles all sorts of pet stains, including urine, vomit, feces, and drool.
It also works on multiple surfaces, such as carpets, floors, furniture, and fabric, and you can spray it over litter boxes to deodorize smells. If you plan to use this deodorizer to clean stains, just make sure to test a small area first to ensure that it won’t stain or cause the material to fade.
The formula of this deodorizer is powerful because it contains enzymes that bind, dissolve, and lift stubborn stains and fight against odors. It also has a neutral scent, so you don’t have to worry about any chemical fragrances masking scents in cat litter.
An added benefit to using this spray is that it contains eco-kind components. So, you can rest assured in knowing that it’s manufactured responsibly and safe for the environment.
We can confidently say that the Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray is the best overall cat litter deodorizer because it effectively neutralizes odors and leaves a natural scent behind instead of masking smells with strong, harsh perfumes.
You might have guessed, this is our own product – but we love it so much we just have to share it, and hope you get to own one too!
2. Nature’s Miracle Cat Litter Box Odor Destroyer Spray – Best Value
|Cleaner Type:||Deodorizer, Odor control|
|Top ingredients:||Proprietary odor control formula|
Nature’s Miracle Odor Destroyer spray is the best litter box deodorizer for the money. While the term “odor destroyer” might seem like over-selling, it’s not far from the truth. You need very little of this product to destroy litter box odor, and one spray will take care of them for a week or more.
This spray is already budget-friendly at under five dollars a bottle, and because it works so well, you don’t have to use it very much.
There is fragrance in this spray, so it’s still possible to find yourself overwhelmed with an aroma, albeit a much more pleasant one than you started with. Given how inexpensive and effective the Odor Destroyer spray is, it’s hard to criticize it.
3. TriNova Natural Cat Litter Box Deodorizer – Premium Choice
|Top ingredients:||Natural Clay|
TriNova provides a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free formula for absorbing and neutralizing cat litter box odors. This natural, clay-based odor neutralizer comes at a cost, though. This cat litter box deodorizer will set you back almost four times as much as other 16-ounce bottles of granular deodorizers.
While it is significantly more expensive than some of the other options, TriNova is still number three on our list for a reason. This litter box deodorizer is like three products in one. It absorbs odors, absorbs moisture, and is 100% fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. You can use it in dumpsters or trash cans as well, and it is biodegradable, so you don’t have to worry about your environmental footprint.
The best part is how quickly odors vanish using this product. It’s virtually instant and keeps working throughout subsequent litter box visits.
4. Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Cat Litter Deodorizer
|Top ingredients:||Baking soda|
It would be tough to review the best cat litter deodorizers without an Arm & Hammer product landing somewhere on the list. They have several different lines of deodorizing products, and all of them are very good at odor elimination. For the purposes of this article, we’ve reviewed the Double Duty deodorizer, but other Arm & Hammer deodorizing products have a similar level of effectiveness.
Baking soda has a long history as an odor eliminator. What’s great about using a baking soda product is that it gets rid of the nasty poop stink and leaves a clean, fresh smell behind, which is a welcome change from some other fragrance-filled options.
Since this deodorizer is mostly baking soda, you can even use it on your carpet and vacuum to get rid of other odors your cat may have left behind.
Arm & Hammer’s boxes are something to be desired. They have large holes in the top that allow the powder to flow through unrestricted, so it can be tough not to use too much at once. For especially bad litter box smells, you may find you have to use a lot of this product to fully eliminate the smell.
If you clean your litter box regularly, you’re not likely to find a lot to complain about with Arm & Hammer. It’s not a great choice if you go for long periods of time between cleanings.
5. NonScents Cat Litter Deodorizer
|Top ingredients:||Natural Zeolite, Proprietary Coating|
This all-natural cat litter deodorizer from NonScents does a great job of controlling litter box odors directly at the source. Instead of just masking odors, the zeolite formula coats pet waste directly to prevent smells from escaping. It really does what it says, which is why it has made our list of great cat litter deodorizers.
The shaker bottle makes it easy to apply and reduces waste. It can also extend the life of your litter, allowing you to continue to use your litter without throwing it out due to odor.
NonScents claims to be completely scent-free, but it does have a slight smell to it. It’s not over-powering and certainly more pleasant than the smell of the litter box. However, owners with sensitive noses might find it bothersome.
6. Rocco & Roxie Pro Strength Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator
|Cleaner Type:||Enzyme-activated odor eliminator|
|Top ingredients:||Enzymatic bacteria|
While this product from Rocco & Roxie Supply Co. is not strictly a litter box deodorizer, it works well enough to warrant a spot on this list. As a professional strength pet stain and odor eliminator, it will both remove any tough stains from carpeting or furniture and do double duty to remove the smell from your litter box.
The multiple uses for this spray-on formula are a huge plus. It is free from any harmful chemicals, and it reduces odors by breaking down the bacteria that cause it.
As for how it smells, that depends on how picky you are. The scent is overwhelming when it’s first sprayed, but it dissipates quickly. Some cats are so turned off by the smell that they won’t use the litter box until it subsides. This odor eliminator also only works for a day or two, so you’ll have to spray it frequently. While we would consider this a huge negative, there are limited options for all-natural, biodegradable products, which is why we’re listing this one here.
7. Fresh Step Cat Litter Box Deodorizer
|Cleaner Type:||Deodorizing crystals|
|Top ingredients:||Not listed|
Fresh Step Cat Litter Box Deodorizer is designed to dissolve inside your cat litter, so there is no residue to clean up. This is a great low-maintenance option for keeping litter box smells away, and it works in any type of cat litter.
The scent is only released from these crystals when they come into contact with waste, so you won’t have to deal with constant smells. They also last longer because of this, and you won’t have to constantly add to their supply.
The issue with the Fresh Step crystals is that sometimes the waste odor outlives the smell from the crystals. You either have to add more or dump your litter as time goes on. For multi-cat households, they may not do a great job. If one cat uses the litter box right after another one, the crystals don’t always reactivate.
8. Zero Odor Litter Box Odor Eliminator
|Top ingredients:||Hydrated active complex, alcohol, pH balancer|
This litter box deodorizer from Zero Odor is as odor-free as the name implies. Sort of. While it doesn’t contain any fragrances or perfumes to mask smells, it does issue a temporary “tracer scent.” According to the manufacturer, this temporary scent isn’t for odor elimination but to let you know where you have sprayed. The scent does dissipate in about 30 seconds, and it’s not unpleasant in any way. It actually smells a little like bleach, but the formula doesn’t contain bleach in the ingredient list.
Zero Odor products are non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and fully biodegradable. It also works as an air freshener and can be used to remove odors from furniture or other surfaces. It removes litter box odors by using “molecular technology” to bind to odor-causing molecules and change their molecular structure.
Overall, this product seems to do a very good job at eliminating litter box odors. The one downside is that it dampens the litter, which can lead to excess tracking if your cat uses the litter box right after you spray it. Some consumers complain that the bottle has a strong bleach smell or that the bleach smell doesn’t dissipate as advertised. Zero Odor is also more expensive than a lot of other options.
9. Simple Solution Cat Litter Box Deodorizer
|Cleaner Type:||Deodorizing spray|
|Top ingredients:||“Oxy-charged” molecules|
Simple Solution deodorizer is another spray option for reducing litter box odor. There are three different spray settings on the bottle: foam, stream, and mist. While the stream is designed for targeted areas, the mist is great for spraying the entire litter box. Foam is only really useful for cleaning your empty litter box but handy for plastic litter boxes that may retain odors all on their own.
Regardless of which setting you decide to use, you can expect the spray bottle to clog after a few uses. While the liquid formula doesn’t add clumps to your litter, it does form a crusty film over the top, which will not only prevent your litter from absorbing moisture but also make it uncomfortable for your cat to use.
10. Scent Away Fragrance-Free Cat Litter Deodorizer
|Top ingredients:||Active carbon and zeolite|
Scent Away promises to provide quick and easy odor elimination using all-natural ingredients that are non-toxic and fragrance-free. This deodorizer can be used with any type of litter and is safe for pets and family members.
What’s interesting about this deodorizer from Scent Away is that it actually improves the moisture-absorbing capacity of your cat litter. It uses carbon to absorb and trap odors, while the zeolite absorbs moisture above and beyond what your litter already does. A side effect of using these products is that they can actually reduce the number of greenhouse gases in the air. We’re not sure how many greenhouse gases are hanging around your cat’s litter box to remove, but the capability is there nonetheless.
This product’s success in eliminating odors is questionable. The deodorizer itself smells like clay and charcoal, which isn’t the most pleasant smell, and it doesn’t overcome the litter box odor.
11. Citrus Magic Pet Odor Control “Paws” for Litter
|Cleaner Type:||Air freshener|
These odor control “paws” from Citrus Magic Pet are unlike any other litter box deodorizer on this list. The paws are designed to be placed inside your cat litter to provide up to a week of freshness. They come in Fresh Linen and Ocean Breeze scents. If you’ve ever wished your cat’s poop could smell like fresh, clean laundry, this is a perfect choice for you.
Calling these paws a litter box deodorizer is a bit misleading. They are, in fact, air fresheners that cover up the litter smell rather than trap or eliminate it. This would be okay if it worked, but it actually makes the problem worse. The consistency of your cat litter is also altered by these paws. It becomes sludgy and more difficult to scoop out. What the paws do a good job of is keeping insects out of your litter box. They’re made from Borax, which is an extremely good insect repellant. This isn’t much of a benefit for a deodorizer.
Buyer’s Guide: Picking the Best Cat Litter Deodorizers
This list contains a few different types of cat litter deodorizers. Let’s break them down for you so you can choose which one is most likely to work for you.
Types of cat litter deodorizers
The most common type of cat litter deodorizer is powder deodorizer. Most of them are made out of baking soda or some form of ground-up mineral. Dispensers vary from simple boxes to bottles reminiscent of baby powder.
A typical powder deodorizer will have moisture-activated particles and some sort of fragrance. They are meant to be sprinkled onto your cat litter as needed for odor control.
Because the powder is sprinkled on top, it can potentially be buried in the litter by your cat. It can also be prone to tracking around your house.
We have found that powder deodorizers have the strongest smells of any deodorizer type, which has the potential to turn your cat off their litter box. On the other hand, they also have the best odor control for even the stinkiest of messes.
One other positive of powder litter box deodorizers is that they are often the most affordable.
Granular deodorizer has much larger particles than powder. It can be made from a variety of materials, but zeolite and other aluminosilicates are the most popular forms.
Granules are designed to be sprinkled onto trouble spots or spread over the entire litter box. They don’t have strong perfume odors but rely on the odor-fighting capacity of zeolite. For cat owners with smell sensitivities or allergies, this is especially helpful.
Deodorizing products with granules are usually more expensive than powder deodorizers. If you only need it for occasional odor issues, this might not matter.
Litter box beads are a completely different approach to odor control than other deodorizing products. Instead of sprinkling the product in the litter box, you simply drop some beads in it.
Tracking and dust aren’t issues with bead deodorizers, and they don’t usually have strong perfume odors. Since they are quite large, it’s easy to dispose of and replace the beads as needed.
The beads do a decent job of masking litter box odors, but they don’t appear to have the same level of performance as granules or powder, especially for masking ammonia smells.
Spray cat litter deodorizers can be either scented or non-scented and are arguably the most easily used type of litter box deodorizer. The spray component is convenient. You can easily cover a large or small area with total control over your application.
Despite this convenience, spray deodorizers aren’t without their drawbacks. Spray bottles can clog or jam up, causing mess and frustration. The spray also comes at a premium cost.
Factors to Consider Before Buying Cat Litter Deodorizer
Here are a few metrics to think about before making your next purchase of cat litter deodorizer:
- The number of cats in your house – If you have a multi-cat household, you will use your deodorizer more often and with heavier applications than a single cat household. This may mean you need a lower-cost solution.
- The number of litterboxes you have – Again, the more deodorizer you use, the more cost becomes a factor. But this can vary. If you have a single cat with three litter boxes, you may use very little.
- The proximity of your litter box to common areas – Where your litter box lives will directly affect how much you are bothered by the smell. If you live in a small apartment with a litter box in the living room, you will want a very effective deodorizer. If the litter box is in your basement laundry room, you may hardly need one at all.
- Type of litter – Every cat owner has a favorite litter brand, and some are more effective at reducing smells than others. If you already have a litter that provides good odor control, you might only need to add a sprinkle of deodorizer with each new batch.
- Sensitivities/Allergies – If you or your cat have any smell sensitivities or allergies, you want to look for an effective but odorless variety of litter deodorizers. Beads and granular products are usually a safe bet. There are several hypoallergenic options that are listed in our reviews above.
- Budget – Whether we want to admit it or not, sometimes it all comes down to cost. Litter box deodorizers are an additional expense on top of the price of your cat litter. If you’re on a tight budget, take a look at our value pick to get the best value for the money.
Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray is the best overall cat litter box deodorizer of the ones we reviewed because it works at eliminating litter box odors rather than covering them up. Nature’s Miracle is the best value for the money. In spite of its very low price point, it’s still very effective at eliminating odors and extending your litter’s lifespan.
While your litter box deodorizer probably isn’t the most important choice you’ll make for your cat, anyone who has lived in a small apartment with a stinky litter box knows how awful it can be. Choosing the right deodorizer can help make life with your cat just a little more pleasant.
Featured Image Credit: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock