How to Keep Cat's Litter Box from Smelling Up Your House featured image

How to Keep Cat's Litter Box from Smelling Up Your House

We all want to enjoy the companionship of a cat (or 10) without our homes smelling like a litter box. Well, it IS possible, and we’re going to show you how ...

"Sorry it smells like a cat in here." Do you find yourself apologizing on your cat’s behalf when guests come over?

You’re not alone. As much as we love our sweet felines, that stinky litter box is the most unpleasant part of being a cat parent. But fear not! You can save your nose – and your friendships – by following these simple tips for stopping litter box odors.

7 Secrets for Controlling Litter Box Odors

#1. Scoop, There It Is!

The easiest way to control litter box odors is to scoop the litter box daily – yes, daily. And if you’re ultra-fastidious or have a sensitive nose, scoop as frequently as possible, ideally right after your cat goes. That way the odors won’t linger. (Too busy to scoop daily? It may be time to invest in a self-cleaning litter box.)

Note: scooping is not the time to half-*** things. (We see you skipping the corners when you vacuum.) You’ll want to adopt the mentality of no-clump-left-behind, as even the small pieces will raise a big stink if they’re left to fester in the litter box.

Aha moment: Make a scoop schedule

Got big intentions but lack follow-through? Create a set-it-forget-it schedule by incorporating the scoop into your morning routine. You could even play a mental mind-game with yourself, like no second cup of coffee until the litter is scooped.

#2. Room With a View?

It’s tempting to have a hidden litter box, out of sight in a small bathroom or laundry space. But this can do the air in your home a disservice. If there’s no ventilation in the room with the litter box, you’re guaranteed a battle with odors.

In a purrfect world (sorry), the litter box would be in a room with a window and door that you can open regularly to let in fresh air. (Nothing works better than Mother Nature to freshen things up.)

What about litter box furniture? If you have the ideal ventilated spot but a litter box would ruin the aesthetics of the room, try a "hidden litter box" as part of the décor.

Ideas for DIY hidden litter box furniture:

  • Make a decorative cover for the litter box out of a HOL storage table or bench.
  • Create a stylish cat cutout in a cabinet and put the litter box inside.
  • Add some cute privacy curtains to an end table to hide the litterbox.
  • Cut out an entrance into a cabinet or side table and house the litter box inside - add a hook to the inside door to hold your scooper.

Want more ideas? Check out these 23 cool ways to hide a cat litter box. Oh, and if DIY projects sound like torture, there’s lots of affordable litter box furniture online.

If you need a dog-proof litter box (in a dog’s opinion, cat poop = deliciousness), opt for one with a top entry. Cats don’t mind it and the dogs will keep out of it.

#3. Do a Head Count

Count the number of cats you have (we hope this can be done on one hand, but no judgment), and then keep that number of litter boxes in your home plus one. Having a choice of where to go will keep odors from being too concentrated in one spot in the home.

#4. Regularly Change the Litter

In addition to scooping the litter box once a day, you’ll want to change out all the litter once a month, or as often as recommended, depending on the brand/type of litter you use. (Non-clumping litter needs to be changed more often.) That's because small waste particles can get stuck in the litter, and the longer it sits, the smellier it gets. And if your litter boxes are getting seriously thrashed with scratches, it’s time to change those out too!

Pick of the litter?

If you want to reduce your cat’s carbon pawprint, consider moving away from clay litter, as it’s not biodegradable and clay mining has a huge impact on the environment. (Plus, it tracks dust EVERYWHERE!)

Natural litters like corn, wheat, walnut, shredded wood or paper pellets are more sustainably sourced. And no fragrance crud needed. They minimize odors with their natural scents and fibrous composition – many cat parents report loving the smell! However, cats are creatures of habit, and they may not adapt well to the change. Want to try mixing it up? Here are the most eco-friendly cat litters.

#5. Invite Baking Soda to the Party (Dis-invite Bleach)

Use the natural (and affordable) power of baking soda to control litter box odors. Here’s what you do: Add a layer of baking soda to the bottom of the litter box, then add ¾ of the total litter. Sprinkle in another layer of baking soda, and then add the last ¼ amount of litter. Boom! Fresh litter box and a non-toxic way to tackle odors.

Bleach = blech

We get it: cat urine smells terrible. And when it’s soiled the inside or outside of the litter box, it’s especially nasty. As it decomposes, the urine emits mercaptans, the same compounds that give skunk smell its potency. But save the bleach for your tidy-whities. It should not be used to clean up cat urine because cat urine contains ammonia. When mixed with chlorine bleach, it can create harmful fumes.

#6. Just Say No to Scented Deodorizers

Steer clear of scented products that only MASK litter box odors. You don't want fragrances in the air or absorbed into the plastic material of the litter box, which can irritate your cat. (Your grumpy cat may already be irritated enough.) A cat’s sense of smell is fourteen times stronger than a human’s and has twice as many smell-sensitive receptors, so what’s a little strong smelling to us can be A LOT for a cat.

Synthetic fragrances get their scent from chemicals (no such thing as a plant called "mountain air"), many of which are toxic. A single scent can contain anywhere from 50 to 300 chemicals. (A little light reading: "Is Your Pet Deodorizer Toxic? When to Worry & What Ingredients to Avoid.")

Besides, covering up litter box odors with strong-scented perfumes isn’t fooling anyone! Just like going into a public restroom where someone went crazy with the air freshener to cover up a number two, the perfumes just mingle with the litter smells, creating an unpleasantness that permeates throughout the entire house.

#7. Spray It, Don't Say It!

Rather than talk about a deep clean of the litter box, actually do it when you change out the litter. Why is this necessary? Your cat’s scratching can create crevices in the litter box, which can harbor nasty odors and bacteria.

Rather than fuss with washing the litter box out in the bathtub (ain’t nobody got time for that) or mess with dangerous bleach, make it easy and spray it down with Oxyfresh Pet Deodorizer. It’s the only deodorizer on the market with the proprietary odor-fighting ingredient Oxygene® that neutralizes odors on a molecular level in just 60 seconds. No waiting around for enzymes to break down and no fragrance coverups!

To freshen that stinky litter box, just soak it with Oxyfresh Pet Deodorizer, let it sit for 60 seconds, then thoroughly wipe it away with a towel. Because it’s 100% safe, non-toxic and contains no fragrances, you don’t have to rinse it. Seriously, just spray and wipe away. That’s it!

You can spray this cat-friendly deodorizer anywhere odors lurk in your home, from the litter box to carpets and mats to garbage cans and your cat's favorite spot on the couch ... even directly on your cat. Yes, it's that safe!

Try it, love it, and get those pesky litter box odors under control. Your guests will thank you!

No More Wet Dog Smell! | Advanced Pet Deodorizer Spray | Eliminate Pet Odors in Just 60 Seconds| Safe & Non-Toxic

melissa gulbranson oxyfresh cmo

Meet the Author

Melissa Gulbranson is the Co-Chief Operating Officer & Chief Marketing Officer for Oxyfresh. A recipient of the Pet Age's "Women of Influence" Award, she’s passionate about educating pet parents in ways that really resonate with them. Melissa loves days on the lake and hiking with her fur kid, Parker, and husband, Doug. Parker (a total ham) can be spotted running laps through the office each morning, greeting every team member. You can find Parker near the treats, and Melissa on Linkedin.