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How to Clean a Cat Litter Box: 6 Easy Ways to Keep Odor Away

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

Cat litter with flower deodorizer

Cats are probably the most finicky animals out there when it comes to their bathroom habits. If you don’t keep up with daily, weekly, and even monthly cleanings, then you’re just asking for a mess. Keeping up with your cat’s litter box standards is essential. If they ever feel that it isn’t clean enough, then they’d much rather prefer to go elsewhere in your home. Avoid any cat messes on your floors or furniture by sticking to a schedule and keeping their bathroom as clean as you’d want yours to be. hepper-cat-paw-divider

Tips for Keeping Litter Box Odors to a Minimum

1. The Right Amount of Litter Boxes

You should always keep at least one litter box per cat in the home, plus an additional one. The more boxes they have, the less likely they are to eliminate outside of it. Only having one litter box for two cats is not a good idea. Cats like to have their own space to use the bathroom, and they don’t usually enjoy taking care of business in another animal’s filth.

tabby cat in a litter box
Image Credit: Davynia, Shutterstock

2. Choosing a Litter Box

There are a lot of different types of litter boxes out there. While covered boxes give your cats some more privacy, they are easier to forget about. Standard litter boxes are also acceptable, but only if you don’t mind cleaning up the litter that sprays onto the floors when they try to cover their scent. Self-cleaning litter boxes are a great option if you prefer not to scoop them clean daily. These boxes are available in a range of prices and are often set on a timer that scoops the mess randomly throughout the day.

3. Types of Litter

Choosing between all the different types of cat litter on the market is overwhelming. Between clay, gel, and pellets, how do you know which kind of litter to pick? Most cats prefer to have a fine-grained, unscented litter. When you find a type of litter your cat likes, stick with it. Switching the type of litter they use could result in them refusing to use the box. Some outdoor cats prefer dirt. Try to keep them out of your houseplants and, instead, mix in some soil with regular litter to lure them to where they are supposed to be. Refrain from using scented litter or air fresheners that are sometimes off-putting to cats.

a young cat using a silica cat litter box
Image Credit: RJ22, Shutterstock

4. Litter Box Placement

It’s understandable why you would want to keep the litter box out of sight. Many people opt to put their litter boxes in a basement where no one who enters the house will see them. Some cats do fine with this placement, but others might be a little upset if they have to walk next to a loud appliance or on a cold cement floor to use the bathroom. Keep your cat box in a spot that gives your pets some privacy without being too inconvenient to get to. Refrain from putting them near noisy appliances that could make the cat nervous and scare them away. Keep the boxes as far away from their food and water bowls as possible. If you have more than one cat, keep boxes in several locations throughout the house. Finally, if putting the box in a bathroom or closet, ensure that they won’t get locked out of that room by accident.

5. How Often to Clean a Litter Box?

Litter boxes are associated with daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning duties. You must scoop out any poop or clumps from the litter daily, especially if you have more than one feline using a box. Every week, enter all the old litter into an outdoor trash bin. The longer you wait to replace the old litter with new litter, the more likely they are to go outside the box. Once per month, thoroughly clean the entire area where the litter boxes are located. This includes a deep clean of the litter box itself.

ginger cat near litter box
Image Credit: Yuliya Alekseeva, Shutterstock

6. Use Filters When Possible

Some litter boxes now come with charcoal filters that help keep unpleasant odors to a minimum. If you do use these filters, make sure you change them out every few months to keep the area odor-free.


I think we can all agree that the only downside to owning a cat is that their litter boxes smell awful. Thankfully, there are a few ways to keep on top of your cleaning schedule and keep all the odors to a minimum. When you stay on top of these tasks, you won’t even notice the litter box at all.

Featured Image Credit to evakerrigan, Shutterstock

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