Recently, my cat, Fluffy, got me thinking about how to clean a cat tree.

This is after I noted he was uncomfortable perching on his usual spot and something seemed off.

I knew I had to do some cleaning when I found fur and dirt on the tree post.

If you are a cat parent and unsure of where to start cleaning your pet’s tree, this post is for you.

ALSO CHECK: Wooden Cat Trees No Carpet

Items/Tools Required to Clean a Cat Tree! 

The first essential step in learning how to clean a cat tree is having the proper tools. When cleaning your cat tree, you will need;

lady holding tools to show how to clean a cat tree
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • Dish soap
  • Lukewarm/hot water 
  • A de-shedding tool
  • A scrubbing brush/comb
  • A cat-friendly disinfectant
  • Spray bottle

Luckily, these requirements are easy to get, and you have some lying in your home. Pet stores also have various pet-dedicated disinfectants you can check out.

What are the Safe Disinfectants for Cats to Use – What are some safe disinfectants for cats?

lady using disenfectant

Disinfectant usage in your home becomes a sensitive issue when your pet is around. According to The Humane Society of the United States, your animals are likely to get poisoned if they interact with the cleaning products you are using. (1)

If you recently used disinfectants to clean your best cat tree for large cats or your floor space, your furry friend is likely to have walked on the surface. And since cats love to lick their feet, the following signs show your cat has ingested the chemicals.

  • Vomiting 
  • Drooling 
  • Mild diarrhea
  • Tummy upset 
  • Chemical burns
  • Seizures
  • Skin abnormalities like itchiness, redness, constant scratching, or sores.

For this reason, you want to get an odor-removing solution that is a safe disinfectant for cats. Hillspet experts recommend using accelerated hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and dish soap. (2)

How to Clean and Disinfect a Cat Tree in 5 Easy Steps

Cleanliness is vital whether you want to know how to clean cat towers, like an old 9-foot pawhut,  or recently got a second-hand cat tree. You can help your feline friend avoid infections by developing a regular cleaning habit.

Here are six easy steps you can follow;

#1 Disassemble the entire structure

Cat furniture comes in unique designs, and if you have a 72-inch multilevel cat tree, cleaning it can be challenging. The best step to take to ensure you are cleaning every bit of the structure is to take it apart.

However, before taking the structure apart, take note of where every component goes to avoid confusion during reassembly. You can use your phone camera to take a snapshot of the entire cat tower if you are tech-savvy like me.

A snapshot will also save you time if this is the first time you are disassembling the cat post. You can also find tutorials on how to assemble and disassemble your cat’s post online.

This video shows you how to assemble a cat tree.

#2 De-shed the Tree

A cat sheds its fur to mark its territory. While cleaning your feline’s furniture, you want to leave it cat-hair free so take your time to remove the hair traces.

A de-shedding brush or comb does the perfect job for this task. However, start on the top going downwards to ensure you are catching any fallen hairs.

Also, ensure you are reaching the hidden corners, as this is where a significant amount of dirt hides.

Another handy tool you can use is the wired-slicker brush, as highlighted in the Two Crazy Cat Ladies YouTube video; however, use it carefully.

#3 Run the Vacuum

After de-shedding the cat tower surfaces using a lint removal tool or comb, there is a chance some hairs still linger on the structure. By using a vacuum, you can be sure to get this stubborn hair and dander.

As a general rule of thumb, work from the top downwards a few times. Be careful around dangling toys, which can get sucked up, damaging the tree’s visual appeal.

#4 Apply Disinfectant

A good vacuuming removes the visible hair and dander but mainly can not kill the germs. And since a used piece of furniture can hide bacteria and germs, using a disinfectant is crucial.

Mix the hydrogen peroxide solution with water in the proper ratio; usually, you will find the instructions written on the label. Using the spray bottle, spray the entire structure and leave for 1-5 minutes.

At this point, clean the parts using dish soap and lukewarm water. If it is made of real wood, avoid soaking the components to prevent damaging the wood.

Use the scrubbing brush to catch and brush off the stains for carpeted perches and sisal posts. However, do so carefully to avoid damaging the carpet’s fabric, leaving bald spots.

Let the structure air dry in the open for some time. You can finish up by vacuuming it again after drying.

#5 Assemble the Tree

Now that the cat tree is clean, disinfected, and dry, it is time to get it back together. If you had taken a picture of the structure, as I did, that comes in handy.

Screw back the perches and scratching posts to position and tighten to avoid destabilizing the tree. You can test the firmness by giving the tree a little shake on each perch and scratching post.

How Do You Get the Kitty Smell Out of the Cat Tree?

The disinfectant and soap have done the perfect cleaning job, but there is still some odor from the tree. These foul odors are persistent and can worsen if you do not do something about them.

Luckily, pet stores and supermarkets have enzyme-based odor neutralizers. After spraying the odor remover solution, pat the tall corner cat tree dry with paper towels.

Another option aside from the commercial odor neutralizers is using baking soda and vinegar. However, do not let this solution stay on the tree for long since it can fade the color.

And as you do this, ensure your furry friend is out of reach of the cleaning area. Their absence helps avoid toxic ingestion, inhaling, and contact.

How Do You Remove Hair From a Cat Tree?

You can follow various ways to remove cat fur from your pet’s tree. This YouTube video from the CatPusic Academy gives you a visual guide on the methods highlighted below;

Hand Rubber Gloves

You are probably aware of static electricity from the good old days. When you rub rubber gloves on a piece of clothing, in this case, the cat tree, you produce static charges.

These charges attract excessive hair, and you will be wiping the fur from your gloves within no time. You can also dip the glove in water as you wipe.

Vacuum 

There are portable vacuums designed for de-shedding pets. These pet hair-dedicated devices have more suction power than the typical vacuum cleaners.

Moreover, the device can reach hidden places and suck the hair out. They also have bristles able to handle stuck-on cat hair.

Use a Bristle Brush

bristle brush with cat hair

A scrub brush is a handy tool you usually have in your home. It works similarly to a rubber glove in that it creates static charges to draw the hair out.

Moreover, you can dip it in a fabric softener solution to leave your cat furniture smelling fresh. Wrap up your brushing by removing the drawn-out hairs by hand.

Remember, when you put your tree back together, check for stability.  Learn how to weigh down a cat tree.

READ MORE: Replacement Fabric for Cat Tree

FAQs

CAN YOU STEAM CLEAN A CAT TREE?

steam cleaning of the cat tree

Yes, steam cleaners offer an excellent alternative to using a noisy vacuum cleaner. Moreover, you can get a pet-dedicated steam cleaner from a pet store near you.

CAN YOU CLEAN A CAT TREE WITH VINEGAR?

Yes, a mixture of water and vinegar makes the perfect homemade cleaning solution. You can also mix it with baking soda to get rid of foul cat smells.

DOES PEROXIDE GET RID OF CAT URINE SMELL FROM CAT TREES?

Yes, you can use hydrogen peroxide to get rid of the urine smell from your kitty’s tree. Mix the solution with dish soap and let it soak for a while; the stench will disappear.

WILL A MESSY CAT TREE AFFECT MY CAT’S HEALTH?

kitten scratching the scratching post

YES AND NO, BUT IT DEPENDS ON WHAT KIND OF MESS IS IN QUESTION. HOWEVER, A MESSY TREE POST IS LIKELY TO HOUSE GERMS AND BACTERIA, WHICH CAN MAKE YOUR FURRY FRIEND SICK.

IS A SECOND-HAND TREE A GOOD OPTION FOR MY CAT?

No, if possible, get your feline a new cat tree.  If you do get one learn how to disinfect used cat tree well. Cats are territorial creatures, and if your cat detects another cat’s smell on the tree, it will avoid it.

DO I REALLY NEED TO CLEAN MY CAT’S TREE?

Yes, it is absolutely necessary to clean your pet’s scratching furniture. Your pet’s favorite spot can turn out to be a bacteria and germs-infested place when neglected. 

Conclusion

Maintaining a clean and healthy environment for your furry friends is essential as a cat parent. And since your kitty spends most of its time on these pieces of cat furniture, keep them clean to avoid unnecessary vet visits.

The above guide on how to clean a cat tree shines a light on how you can easily do this in five simple steps. It is now up to you to give your cat a sparkling cat tree to promote their playtime and good health.

cute cat standing on a cat tree

How do you clean your cat’s tree? Please share your tips below!

References:

  1. “EXCLUSIVE: How to Keep Your Pets Safe around Cleaning Products.” The Humane Society of the United States, www.humanesociety.org/news/exclusive-how-keep-your-pets-safe-around-cleaning-products. Accessed 28 May 2022.
  2. Colgate. “What Cleaning Products Are Safe for Pets?” Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Publisher, 8 Oct. 2021, www.hillspet.com/pet-care/resources/what-cleaning-products-are-safe-for-pets#:~:text=Accelerated%20Hydrogen%20Peroxide%20(AHP)%3A.
Peter W
Peter W

Peter is a cat dad who loves sharing his experience with other cat parents.
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