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25 Surprising Uses for Cat Litter: Useful Tips & Tricks

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

a scoop in a sack of cat litter

When you think of cat litter, rather unpleasant images likely come to mind. It’s not unlike thinking about our toilet! But it turns out that litter can do more than be a cat’s toilet. In fact, cat litter can be downright handy!

Of course, the kind of kitty litter that you use will make a difference in a few of these suggestions. Clay litter tends to be the best option.

So, in no particular order, here are a multitude of uses for cat litter!

The 25 Uses for Cat Litter

1. It’s Good for Stuck Cars

Anyone who has ever been stuck in mud, snow, or sand knows that you need traction to become unstuck. Carrying a bag of kitty litter in your trunk at all times can help in these sticky situations.

Parked car in driveway with leaking fuel on cat litter to absorb the gas
Photo Credit: Kristi Blokhin, Shutterstock

2. It Helps With Oil Spills

We’re just talking about spilling oil in your garage. It can be quite a challenge to clean up, but cat litter can be incredibly effective at absorbing the excess oil.

This works for fresh oil spills, but it can also be used on old spills as an abrasive cleanser.


3. It Prevents Grease Fires

If you know anything about cooking, the most important rule is never to use water to extinguish a grease fire.

That said, kitty litter can work quite well at preventing a grease fire in your grill. Sprinkle a small amount of litter on the bottom of the grill. It will absorb the excess grease so there is less chance of a fire. Be sure to use all-natural clay litter for this.


4. It Keeps Closets Smelling Fresh(er)

Cat litter was made to absorb bad smells, so you can use it in other parts of the home, like certain closets, that need to smell fresher.

Just open up a bag (or container) of litter, and put it somewhere out of the way in any closet that needs help!

Cat litter in a paper bag
Image Credit: Maliflower73, Shutterstock

5. It Keeps Refrigerators Smelling Fresher

Cut open an onion and store it in the fridge, and soon, everything smells like an onion! You can use a box of open baking soda to help with this, but kitty litter can do the trick too!


6. It Can Save Your Phone

After you’ve dropped your phone in the toilet or another body of water, you’ve likely been told that putting your phone in dry rice will absorb water. If this happens and you don’t have any rice handy, kitty litter can work just as well.

Just be sure to wrap your phone in thin material, such as a sock, before covering it in the litter, to prevent the dust from entering every single crevice.


7. It’s for Slippery Sidewalks

If you live in a cold part of the world, you know how treacherous ice can be, particularly on sidewalks and your own walkway.

Cat litter can be better than most de-icing products on the market because it’s not dangerous for animals or the environment. Just sprinkle the litter on the ice, and let it do its work!

scooping out cat litter from the sack
Image Credit: EvGavrilov, Shutterstock

8. It Helps With Paint Disposal

If you’ve ever painted anything in your home, you know how tricky it is to dispose of the leftover paint. How many of us have partially empty paint cans gathered in the corner of a closet or garage?

Unless you want to keep the paint for touch-ups, you just need to pour cat litter into the can and let it sit. The litter will absorb the liquid, making for much easier disposal.


9. It’s Great for Ashtrays

Using cat litter in ashtrays gives you two distinct advantages: It effectively snuffs out the cigarettes and reduces the odor that usually emanates from ashtrays.


10. It Removes Algae From Your Pond

If you have a pond, you know what a pain algae can be. Here’s kitty litter to the rescue! You’ll need 1 pound of litter for every 2,000 gallons of water: Just pour it in and let it do its magic.

Bear in mind that the water will remain cloudy for several days, but once the dust settles (literally), your water will clear up, and algae should be a thing of the past!

Mature father and young adult son cleaning artificial garden pond bottom with high-pressure washer nozzle from
Image Credit: serhii.suravikin, Shutterstock

11. It Cleans Up Vomit

This is not the most pleasant thought, but it is a fact of life. If someone misses the toilet, just sprinkle kitty litter over the mess, give it time to absorb, and sweep it up.

If the mess is on a carpet (likely from the resident cat), sprinkle on the litter, wait for it to absorb, and vacuum up everything. This might need multiple applications.


12. It Keeps Your Soil Moist

While cat litter is fantastic at absorbing liquid, it can also help retain moisture in certain circumstances. For this purpose, you need non-clumping clay cat litter. Sprinkle it over your garden beds, or mix it into the soil itself, and you might find that you won’t need to water as often.


13. It Reduces Trash Can Odors

It’s practically impossible to reduce stinky odors from your trash cans completely. But if you sprinkle kitty litter on the bottom of your bin, it will help reduce foul odors and soak up any liquids that leak to the bottom.

Trash Bin
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

14. It Keeps Seasonal Items Fresher

Throw kitty litter inside a clean sock, tie it up, and place it in the box that contains your seasonal clothing and gear. These items tend to smell musty when you take them out of storage, and the cat litter should help with that.

It can also save you from washing and dry-cleaning everything to remove that rather unpleasant odor.


15. It Removes Graffiti From Pavement

If you discover spray-painted graffiti on your sidewalk, you can use cat litter to remove it. But it does take a bit of elbow grease!

  • Start by cleaning the concrete using a soapy solution and scrub brush to remove any excess dirt. Then, mix one-part cat litter with one-part water until it forms a paste.
  • Apply it to the graffiti, use the scrub brush to rub it in, and let it rest for roughly 6 to 8 hours.
  • After this time has elapsed, scrub it more (you’ll likely need to add water to moisten it), and then rinse.

This might require several more applications, but this is an environmentally friendly solution.


16. It Helps With Leaks

If your roof or tap is leaking, you can put a bucket underneath to catch the drips. Adding kitty litter to the bottom of the bucket will absorb a large amount of the water, so you don’t have to empty it as often.

If you have a leak in your basement coming up from the ground, you can’t use a bucket for that, so sprinkle kitty litter where the leak is—at least until you get it fixed.

Water droplets leaking in bucket from ceiling
Image Credit: Motortion Films, Shutterstock

17. It Helps Dry Flowers

If you enjoy drying flowers or are trying to preserve memories by drying a special bouquet, kitty litter can help. It absorbs liquid and moisture in other applications, so you can expect it to do the same with fresh flowers.

Sprinkle cat litter on the bottom of an airtight container, place the flowers on top, and seal the container. Let them sit for about a week to a week and a half, and your flowers will be dried and perfectly preserved.


18. It Can Purify Water

For this, you need cat litter made with bentonite clay because it binds with the impurities in water, including chemicals and bacteria.

Add 1/8th of a cup of litter for every 1 gallon of water, mix it, and wait for the clay to settle to the bottom.

Pour the water through some kind of filter (cheesecloth would work well) to strain out the clay, and you have purified water!


19. It Can Treat Oily Skin and Acne

When ground down and mixed with water, bentonite clay litter can make a facial mask that can effectively treat oily skin and acne.

Bentonite clay has antimicrobial properties and can clean pores and remove dead skin cells. Leave the mask on for about 20 minutes, and tell your friends that your skin looks great because of kitty litter!

Bentonite clay texture for cat litter
Image Credit: Hairullah Bin Ponichan, Shutterstock

20. It Can Keep Pests Away

Sprinkling used kitty litter around the crevices that mice might use to enter your home can prevent them from coming in. For obvious reasons, though, this can be unsanitary, and there’s the possibility of spreading toxoplasmosis, which can be found in cat feces.

There are better methods for preventing rodents from entering your home, but cat litter does work.


21. It Soothes Itchy Skin

Bentonite clay can act as an antihistamine, so if you run into poison ivy or are suffering from itchy bug bites, you can put some of this litter on the affected areas.

You’ll need to grind it up, add as much water as there is clay, blend it, and smear it on the itchy area. Just ensure that you’re using 100% pure bentonite clay.


22. It Weighs Down Vases

If you have a solid vase and don’t need a decorative filler, cat litter is a great way to weigh it down for anchoring things like silk flowers.

If you want to use the litter to weigh down real plants or flowers, put it in a resealable plastic bag, and place it at the bottom of the pot or vase.

Cat litter box with the red flower
Image Credit: Sharaf Maksumov, Shutterstock

23. It De-stinks Shoes and Boots

Even the smelliest shoes can be salvaged if you place kitty litter in stockings or socks and then place those inside the shoes. The litter will absorb the moisture and stench (so it is perfect for gym shoes).

This can also work well if your shoes or boots are soaked after being outside. The cat litter will help dry them out faster.


24. It Helps Build Muscle

For this, you’ll need to avoid any litter that brags about being lightweight—you want the heavy stuff! You can then use it for lifting weights.

Place the litter in thick resealable bags (freezer bags are the most durable), and then put the bags in a gym or duffel bag.

Aim for 5- or 10-pound bags so you can put as many or as few into the duffel bag as necessary to fine-tune your weights for working out.


25. It Helps Remove Smells From Old Things

Sometimes, old vintage clothing or books can take on a musty odor. Since they are vintage, they are also delicate, which is how cat litter can help.

Place the books or clothing into a container with cat litter for a couple of days, and the mustiness should evaporate. This can be helpful for those who regularly sell vintage clothing and old and rare books.

scooping cat litter in a large bag
Image Credit: EvGavrilov, Shutterstock

Conclusion

Kitty litter is quite handy, though of course, you should only use unused kitty litter for these tips. There are even more ideas out there, but these are among the more useful and unusual ones!

As cat owners, we couldn’t live without kitty litter, but everyone else might also find it helpful stuff, with or without a cat!


Featured Image Credit: EvGavrilov, Shutterstock

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