Last Updated: 6 months ago

Tired of dealing with a stinky litter box? We’ve all walked into someone else’s house and immediately knew there were cats there, even if we didn’t see them.

Most of the time, when that happens, we don’t say anything to not embarrass the person’s home we are visiting.

So we just suffer through the smell, smile, and bear it. But what happens when that house is your house?

While you might be immune to the odor, you can bet your guests aren’t! Don’t let your cat’s “business” become an embarrassment to you!

10 Tips How to Keep a Litter Box from Smelling

How to Keep a Litter Box from Smelling: 10 Proven Ways

If you are a cat owner, you know how important it is to keep your litter box clean and odor-free.

A smelly litter box can make your home unpleasant and unhealthy, and it can also affect your cat’s behavior and well-being.

But how can you keep a litter box from smelling without spending too much time and money on it?

Check out these tips; you will be able to keep your home fresh and your cat comfortable. Let’s get started!

1. Clean Twice A Day

Regular cleaning is crucial to prevent odor buildup. Cleaning the litter box twice a day removes waste promptly, reducing the chances of unpleasant smells lingering in the environment.

This may seem extreme to some pet owners, but cleaning the litter box once in the morning and once at night will help keep those pesky odors away for longer periods of time.

2. Consider Stainless Steel

metal litter box for cats

Most litter boxes are made out of plastic material, which, after a lot of use, can absorb odors, and you won’t be able to get rid of them.

You might not easily find a stainless steel litter box at the pet store, but at a thrift store, you could find a stainless steel buffet food pan.

Also, stainless steel litter boxes are non-porous and resistant to bacterial growth. This makes them easier to clean and less likely to retain odors compared to plastic alternatives.

3. Baking Soda

Most households have baking soda on hand, and sprinkling some in the litter each time you clean can help to keep odors away as well.

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that helps absorb and neutralize unpleasant odors. Sprinkling a layer of baking soda in the litter box effectively combats smells, keeping the area fresh.

You can also sprinkle some at the bottom after you’ve cleaned and dried it once a month (or more with multiple cats).

4. Give it a good wash

giving cat litter box a wash

Periodically washing the entire litter box helps eliminate any residual odors that may accumulate over time.

Thorough cleaning prevents the buildup of bacteria and keeps the litter box smelling clean.

Dump out the old litter, take everything apart, and take it outside to give it a good wash. Use your hose and a pet-friendly soap. One time a month is good if you have one cat.

If you have multiple cats, you might want to completely clean it a little more often.

5. Keep It Ventilated

Be sure to keep your kitty’s potty in a well-ventilated area and not in a closed-up area.

The better the ventilation, the less odor will be apparent. You can hide the litter box under the bathroom sink, but make sure you have enough ventilation.

Yes, we know, those fancy “hide the box in a side table” things look awesome, but they tend to trap odors.

When you open them up, you’re blasted with the stench. It kind of makes cleaning the litter boxes a nightmare!

6. Completely Change Litter Weekly

completely changing cat litter

Regularly changing the entire litter, not just scooping, helps maintain a clean and odor-free environment.

It prevents the accumulation of waste at the bottom of the box, which can contribute to persistent smells.

Be sure to completely change the kitty litter at least twice a week, replacing it with fresh litter.

Keeping it fresh is a great way to eliminate odors. If you have multiple cats, you may need to change it more often.

7. Powdered Herbs

Consider adding powdered herbs or cornstarch to the litter to help keep the odors down.

Certain powdered cat-safe herbs, such as dried mint or catnip (lemon and lavender), can act as natural deodorizers.

Sprinkling these herbs in the litter helps control odors and adds a pleasant scent to the box.

8. Vinegar

using white vinegar

Just like baking soda, most households already have a bottle of vinegar in them.

When cleaning the box once a month, wipe the litter box down with vinegar. The vinegar smell will fade once the box dries completely.

If the vinegar is too strong, consider adding some cat-safe essential oils to it to if you don’t like the vinegar smell Be sure to research what oils can be safely used around felines.

9. Make Some Spray

Creating a homemade deodorizing spray using water, vinegar, and essential oils provides a quick and effective way to refresh the litter box between cleanings.

Mix vinegar with water and add the essential oils that are safe around felines into the mixture, and when you clean it or change it out, spritz the spray around the box and area.

Don’t spray it in the box, though.

10. Choose The Right Litter

cat in a cat litter box

The type of cat litter used significantly impacts odor control.

No one ever said that cats were not finicky. Be sure to use a litter that your cat and you like.

If a cat doesn’t like the smell or texture of the litter, they are more likely to have potty time somewhere you really don’t want them to have potty time at!

We can’t really tell you what the right litter is for you; all cats have different preferences.

We suggest opting for clumping litters with natural odor-absorbing ingredients, which helps trap and neutralize smells, keeping the litter box fresh for longer periods.


There you have it—some of the best ways to eliminate litter box odor! You may need to try a few different ones to find the combination that works best for your needs.

If you just have one cat, you can get away with doing a lot less. The more cats you add to your family, the more on-top of the litter box situation you’ll need to be

Do you have other good ideas to help eliminate litter box odor? Let us know how to keep a litter box from smelling in the comments below!

Dealing with a super stinky litter box? Check out 10 of our favorite ways to eliminate litter box odors and for all so you and kitty can live in harmony without the smell!

Dr. Linda Simon MVB MRCVS is a locum veterinary surgeon who has worked in London for the past 8 years. She graduated top of her class in small animal medicine from UCD, Dublin. She is currently a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Linda is the resident vet for Woman magazine and a frequent contributor to People’s Friend Magazine, the Dogzone website, Vet Help Direct and Wag! Linda also writes content for the CVS veterinary group, Vetwriter and a number of other establishments.