Facts about the animal kingdom

Tips to Eliminate the Smell of your Cat's Litter Box

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: November 1, 2017
Tips to Eliminate the Smell of your Cat's Litter Box

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The smell of cat urine and feces can be very overpowering. Therefore, the cleaning the litter daily - be it sepiolite or clumping litter - with a pronged shovel is vital to eliminate the most rancid waste.

With this simple maneuver you can keep the rest of the sand in good condition, and you only have to add a little more every day to compensate for the amount removed with the shovel.

This is a simple trick to keep a cat's litter box in a good condition, but it's not the only one. In this AnimalWised article we will show you the best tips to eliminate the smell of your cat's litter box.

You may also be interested in: 10 Smells that Cats Hate


  1. Sodium bicarbonate
  2. Weekly and monthly cleaning
  3. Clumping litter
  4. Self-washing litter boxes
  5. Self-cleaning litter box
  6. Activated Charcoal

Sodium bicarbonate

Sodium bicarbonate absorbs odors and is a disinfectant. However, in large amounts it is toxic to your cat. As such, you must use it sparingly and in a specific way, as explained below:

  • Distribute a very thin layer of sodium bicarbonate on the bottom of the clean tray or container, used as a base for the sepiolite or any other variety of cat litter.
  • Cover the thin layer of sodium bicarbonate with six or seven centimeters (2.5 inches) of cat litter.

Therefore, the litter is deodorized more effectively. Every day, remove all solid waste with a pronged shovel. You should buy bicarbonate at the supermarket since it is much cheaper than in pharmacies.

Learn more about the different types of litter for cats in our article to find the best one.

Tips to Eliminate the Smell of your Cat's Litter Box - Sodium bicarbonate

Weekly and monthly cleaning

Once a week, empty the litter box and wash it thoroughly with unscented bleach, or any other unscented disinfectant. Rinse the container well. Repeat the sequence of laying the sodium bicarbonate and add new litter. It is often the case that cats don't like scented litter, and they do their business away from the litter box.

You can use the dishwasher for a monthly cleaning of the litter box - without any dishes, pots, glasses, and cutlery - in the wash immediately before the dishwasher itself has its monthly clean. The temperature and powerful detergent will sterilize the litter box.

Tips to Eliminate the Smell of your Cat's Litter Box - Weekly and monthly cleaning

Clumping litter

There are various types of clumping litter on the market, which forms balls when it comes into contact with urine. As the feces are raked away each day, this type of litter also ensures that balls of urine are also removed, leaving the rest of the litter clean.

This product is somewhat more expensive, but it is quite efficient if all the clumped waste is removed on a daily basis. The sodium bicarbonate trick may or may not be used.

Tips to Eliminate the Smell of your Cat's Litter Box - Clumping litter

Self-washing litter boxes

There is an electrical device on the market that is a self-washing cat box. It costs from 200$ up, but there is no need to change the litter since it washes and dries it. The feces are liquefied and evacuated through the waste pipe, along with the dirty water.

You should regularly replenish any litter that is lost. The company that sells this litter box also sells all its accessories. It is an expensive product, but if you can afford it is a good product for your cat's health and comfort.

According to the information that comes with the litter box, there is a period of 90 days to make sure your cat gets used to it and is able to happily make its depositions in the device. This self-washing litter box is called CatGenie 120.

Tips to Eliminate the Smell of your Cat's Litter Box - Self-washing litter boxes

Self-cleaning litter box

A much cheaper and quite efficient option is a self-cleaning litter box. It costs between 69$ and 95$.

This self-cleaning litter box very neatly cleans all of the waste, since it uses clumping litter. It is a clever system that, with a simple lever, makes solid waste to fall to the bottom into a biodegradable plastic bag.

It is worth watching the video demonstration. This litter box is called SmartSift CATIT. It's ideal for when there is more than one cat at home. There are other, cheaper self-cleaning litter boxes, but they are not as complete as this model.

Tips to Eliminate the Smell of your Cat's Litter Box - Self-cleaning litter box

Activated Charcoal

Adding activated charcoal to the litterbox sand can be an excellent method to decrease the odor of feces. Many use this method that has proven to be very effective.

In addition, a study was done to see whether or not cats liked the presence of activated charcoal in their litter box. The results of the study demonstrated that cats used sand with activated charcoal more often than without charcoal [1] . Thus, this method can be very effective in preventing elimination problems or help prevent the cat from urinating out of the box.

Another study was conducted to compare the preference between sand with added sodium bicarbonate and activated charcoal, demonstrating that cats preferred activated charcoal boxes [2].

However, each cat is their own and ideally you should test different alternatives by providing different litter boxes to discover which type your cat prefers. You can, for example, in a litter box add baking soda and other activated charcoal and observe which of the boxes your cat uses most often.

If you've liked this article, keep browsing AnimalWised to learn all there is to know about caring for cats, including, Litter training a cat, Tips to stop a cat from meowing all the time and Can I wash my cat with shampoo?

If you want to read similar articles to Tips to Eliminate the Smell of your Cat's Litter Box, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

  1. Neilson, JC (2007) Litter preference test: evaluating enhanced litter . in Proceedings. Am Coll Vet Behav / Am Vet Soc Anim Behav. Scientific Paper and Poster Session. pp. 59-60.
  2. Neilson JC. (2008) Litter odor control: carbon vs. bicarbonate of soda. in Proceedings . Am Coll Vet Behav / Am Vet Soc Anim Behav 2008 Scientific Paper and Poster Session. pp. 31-34.
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Tips to Eliminate the Smell of your Cat's Litter Box