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How to clean a litter box?

Cats are, in fact, pets that don’t cause inconveniences in maintenance. You should basically feed them and clean their litter tray regularly. However, the second thing is often ignored by some pet owners, which is a very big mistake. Want to know what’s the rightest and the best way to clean the litter box? This guide is here to help.

Short answer

You should put a 3-4-inch layer of litter into the box after disposing of its contents and cleaning it with mild dish soap and warm water. Make sure that gives your cat enough freedom for digging and covering.


Pregnant women should not clean cat litter boxes in order to prevent catching toxoplasmosis infection. Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that’s found in feline feces and can affect both owners and their cats.

Although it does not do any tangible harm to adult humans, it can affect the fetus and cause birth defects. If you have no choice, wear rubber gloves and a mask when cleaning the box.

It’s imperative to clean litter box daily. The parasites need an incubation period of several days before being able to infect someone. So cleanliness is the key to safety. 

Before we begin

1. Clean the box regularly for the best result

The more often you clean cat box, the easier it becomes. Sounds not logical, but it’s true. By maintaining cleanliness, you avoid problems with your cat leaving marks and poop at inappropriate places

So, how to clean a litter box more efficiently?


  • Scoop the poop and litter clumps every day.
  • Put the waste in a closed bag and dispose of it outside.
  • Wash the scooping shovel and store it in a plastic bag.
  • Wipe the edge of the litter box with soap and water or wet wipes.


  • Empty the litter box totally and wash it with non-toxic soap and water. Don’t use any harsh chemicals, especially the ones with bleach (chloride) or ammonia. The chemical smell will repel a cat. 
  • Fill the container with fresh litter.

By cleaning cat boxes in time, you will prevent several problems: infections, bad odor, and hygiene issues in cats.

2. Pick the right litter box

It’s not enough to know how to clean a cat box – you should know which model is suitable for your pet. Make sure to buy a sturdy plastic litter box with convenient corners where the clumped litter won’t get easily stuck. A large flat container without a cover is the best solution. 

Some cat owners prefer models with a cover – it helps to keep the foul smell locked. However, a high concentration of odor inside the tray is unpleasant for cats. It’s too much for their heightened sense. Besides, a cover is one more element you have to clean.

Don’t want to do much washing? Consider investing in a self-cleaning cat litter tray – it’s very convenient and hygienic, too.

3. Good litter scoop is a game-changer

Don’t forget to invest in a sturdy plastic or metal litter scoop. This way, you will make the process of scooping simpler. Besides, scoops tend to break under the weight of contents when people clean litter boxes. Pick advanced devices, such as Durascoop. They are very convenient in use and don’t degrade over time. Also, make sure to test the handle – it shouldn’t cause discomfort or collect litter deposits. 

4. Benefit from a litter mat 

When a cat steps out of the litter box, the litter and dust on her paws might spread all over the house. To prevent that, consider buying a litter mat. It’s placed under the container to absorb all residues of litter and dirt. This small detail can make a night-and-day difference in cleaning the entire room. You can vacuum it every 3-5 days and the rest can be cleaned by a robot vacuum cleaner.

Important: Don’t replace a litter mat with a usual bathmat or towel – it can teach your cat to pee or defecate on them in any spot of the house. Also, make sure to clean the litter mat once a week or at least clean it with soap or wet wipes. 

Further reading: Why does my cat pee everywhere?

5. Use the right amount of litter

Did you know that putting the right amount of litter is a game-changer? An optimal amount of litter will prevent tracking, bad smells and will make cleaning 5x easier. And on the other hand, not enough litter will lead to bad smells and too much litter will cause tracking and you will have to clean the floor as a bonus. Read our article about how much litter to put in a litter box – this will take only five minutes and will help you improve your cat’s litter box hygiene.

How to clean a cat litter box?

Step 1: Scoop the litter

The first thing to do is get rid of dirty box contents. Start with scooping out all solids. Make sure you remove all of them right from the bottom without leaving traces of waste. Before that, place the bag or a container for dumping all the litter. That will help you avoid carrying it all across the room and scattering it (things happen, you know). 

How to scoop a litter box more efficiently and get rid of wet sticky litter that stays in the corners of the container? Use the ‘Tip-and-Tap’ technique: tip the box at a 45° angle on its side so that the majority of litter would fall down. Tap on the box – that will make clumps unstick from the walls. Scrape and scoop the residues of litter with a special shovel and repeat the process on three other sides. 

Next, start cleaning a litter box with mild dish soap and warm water. Use a wipe to clean the dust and litter residues off. Ensure that you use a non-toxic cleaning agent. Don’t forget to clean the mat on which the litter box sits. It can be done with a broom or wet wipes. 

Step 2: Dispose of the waste

Now once you clean cat litter tray, you should dispose of the waste. Of course, you can throw it in the trash, but there’s a better way. Opt for a device called Liter Genie – it makes scooping and disposal easier. You just insert the plastic bagging roll inside, tie a knot at the end of it, secure it to a wheel and turn the handle in a half turn. Then open the top and place all scoop inside. Turn the handle again – the waste will be safely hidden at the bottom. Afterward, you can remove the bag and place it in the garbage.

Step 3: Refill the litter box

When you finished cleaning kitty litter box and wiped it dry, you can add fresh litter. Make sure to have a 3-4-inch layer – this is enough for a cat to dog and hide its poop. Yet, it’s an individual aspect: you should know the optimal depth of litter in the box and your cat’s preferred litter

Step 4: Clean up the scoop

To maintain the cleanliness of the litter box, remove all wet and clumped litter regularly. Dispose of cat poop right away – it will prevent the spreading of parasites and infection spores. Use Liter Genie for safe and odor-free storage of discharged scoop.

Step 5: Clean the litter box and completely replace the litter (weekly)

Cleaning and washing the litter box on a weekly basis is a must. This way, you not only prevent smell – you care about your cat’s health. Even if you keep scooping litter every day after your cat does its business, box contents should be replaced once in 7 days. There’s a lot of waste sticking to the bottom of the litter box – it’s full of bacteria, and its odor cannot be eliminated. 

In a word

Now when you know how to scoop cat litter, you don’t have to worry about your cat’s hygiene. Scooping clumps every day doesn’t sound like fun, but once you develop this useful habit, you won’t even notice that it takes you less time to perform full weekly cleaning. Invest in quality scoop and litter box: it does not just add convenience for cats – it simplifies the task for you. 

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