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How To Keep Cat Litter From Smelling (Simple Ways That Work)

Cat litter can tend to smell quickly, especially if your cat has an accident. Deodorizers may help for a short time, but they aren’t effective at controlling the smells…

Smells aren’t just upsetting to people, they can cause your cat to dislike his or her own litter box.

First, we’ll look at some products designed to help with cat litter odor, and then we will dive into some advice and best practices that help as well…

What Is The Best Litter Box To Control Odor?

There are a few good options available however I like the ScoopFree by PetSafe because it’s hands-free and automatic.

Not only does it solve the odor problem it also solves the… “How do I scoop cat litter without stirring up odors?” issue and the “Type of litter issue” as well.

I write more about this product here… Discover How A Scoopfree Litter Box Will Make Your Life Easier

The ScoopFree Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box is a clean, convenient and comfortable way to contain litter box odor. Never scoop again – just dispose of a filled disposable liner when full.

Each disposable tray comes with a convenient lid to help contain odors. A health counter tracks how often your cat uses the self-cleaning litter box.

The Premium Crystal litter absorbs urine and dehydrates solid waste for weeks between cleanings.” 5 times better odor control than clumping clay litter (based on ASTM’s E 1138).


PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self Cleaning Hooded Cat Litter Box


PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box – Automatic with Disposable Tray – Purple Covered

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The fact that I don’t have to smell urine odors AT ALL anymore is a bonus in and of itself. Seriously, that ammonia smell is something I can’t handle, even if just a hint of it is in the air. This product has eliminated ALL odor save for the poo smell right after the cat has left the box.


  • The only time I notice a smell is right after the cats have used the box to poo, but that is to be expected. I haven’t yet smelled any litter smell at all!
  • I am beginning to love having a cat because I don’t have to smell the nasty smells of a litter box AND with only one cat we only have to change the box ONCE A MONTH!
  • Once it scoops the poop away, the smell leaves the room, and that’s that. The pee just evaporates.
  • Very quiet, hardly any tracking, no smell, and at the end of the month you just toss the box and used crystals out and put another one in and forget it.
  • I keep the litter box under a cubby in my kitchen and the smell never bothers the room.
  • The smell compared to my previous clumping litter is WAY less (nearly nothing!) and the crystals are large enough to not cling to my kitten’s paws, so less gets tracked out of the box.
  • It’s more expensive than buying clumping litter, but leagues less work, less gross, and less smell.

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Can An Air Purifier Get Rid Of The Cat Litter Box Smell?

I have already written an article about how good the Germ Guardian air purifier is for removing odors caused by cat litter boxes and you can see it here… Cat Owners Reveal The Best Air Purifier For Cat Litter Dust

Using air purifiers is a great way to remove smells from your homes, such as the cat litter box and pet odors, and they are excellent at reducing dust allergy problems in rooms where you have a lot of dust and dirt.


Germ Guardian True HEPA Filter Air Purifier with UV Light Sanitizer


Germ Guardian True HEPA Filter Air Purifier with UV Light Sanitizer, Eliminates Germs, Filters Allergies, Pollen, Smoke, Dust Pet Dander, Mold Odors, Quiet 22 inch 4-in-1 Air Purifier for Home AC4825E

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The smell of the litter box was the primary reason I purchased this air purifier. After using this air cleaner regularly for about two years, I can confidently say that it effectively and completely removes the smell of the litter box, helps control the amount of hair that floats around the room, and generally does a very good job keeping dust from accumulating in the room.


  • On the lowest setting, dust from the litter box is immediately whisked away and cooking odors do not linger.
  • It really is a delight to be in the room and not smell litter boxes.
  • We use it near our litter box and haven’t had any odors from that area.
  • Great product, I wanted to use it to try to get the cat and litter smell out of the rooms and it sure does work.
  • We have cats and this purifier really helps clear out any odors from the litter box, as well as helps with the dander issue.
  • Works great for people who have pets. I used mine in the litter box area and it does help with the odor.
  • I keep one of these running next to the litter boxes and it makes a HUGE difference in lowering the dust and odor!
  • Put this by my cat’s litter boxes that always seem to smell. Wasn’t sure it would really work well with odors but it does!
  • Ever since I put this product in the room where my cat litter boxes are, I hardly ever am bothered by the smell of cat litter boxes.

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Can the Type of Litter Make Odors Worse?

First of all, no matter what kind of litter you use it is important that you keep enough litter in the box. If your cat can not cover up its poop, your litter will not be able to do a good job masking the smell.

Secondly, the type of litter you use is important when it comes to odors. Litters made with natural ingredients don’t eliminate odors as well as clay litters.

The reason is that the urine traps most of the odor in it rather than getting rid of it. Clay litters, on the other hand, are more efficient at removing and eliminating the odor.

Clay litters are super-absorbent and work best for households with multiple cats. The litter material absorbs the moisture, which removes odor that would otherwise waft into the air.

Clay litters also offer less dust and tend to be less dusty than scented litter. It is also lightweight which makes it easy to clean up.

Now it gets even better if you find clay litters with activated charcoal or silicone gel as they go one step further with claims of being able to absorb 5 times more moisture…


Fresh Step Advanced Clumping Cat Litter with Activated Charcoal


Fresh Step Advanced Simply Unscented Clumping Cat Litter, Recommended by Vets - 37 Pounds (Package May Vary)

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There is no dust, no chemical smell, and the cat odors are undetectable when entering the room where it is kept. I have tried practically every litter out there and none came even close to this heaven sent kitty litter!


  • It truly masks all the unpleasant odors that cats leave behind.
  • I was further thrilled to the end by the absolute lack of odor.
  • Outstanding odor protection. I haven’t tested the 10-day limit advertised, but over a long weekend away, I didn’t notice any smell upon returning.
  • This stuff is perfect. Doesn’t smell like ANYTHING. It seems to be somewhat odor-reducing (though while scooping, there is still a small amount of smell) and I’m glad there is Zero perfume in it.
  • Lasts a long time cuz truly clumps, doesn’t fall apart & makes a mess in the box. No kitty odors at all.
  • This stuff is easy and works. It’s still litter, and you still have to scoop, but it clumps up perfectly and we NEVER have had odor problems.
  • The litter dries fecal matter so any odor goes away quickly.
  • This litter somehow eliminates any cat box odor. Sometimes I don’t get the box cleaned out every day, and still no odor. It’s also quite easy to clean. It clumps very well.
  • Although it’s unscented- I have no issues with odors with this litter.
  • Fresh Step clumps harder and control odor better than anything in its price range.
  • We won’t use anything else because of the supreme odor absorbency of Fresh Step. I’ve had friends and family tell me my home no longer like a cat!
  • Not only does it eliminate any trace of odor, it is unscented, so you don’t get the impression the odor is being masked by some flowery chemical smell.

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The Importance Of Keeping Your Cat Litter Box Clean

Did you know that a dirty litter box is a filthy thing? Breathing in airborne particles from cat urine and feces may raise the risk of respiratory problems, including asthma.

Cats can also suffer illnesses such as bronchitis, eye infections, and ear infections which cats transfer to their owners through bacteria on litter and paws.

High-quality litter is only half the battle; you’ll also need to maintain a clean litter box to keep your kitty healthy and comfortable.

Cats are pretty picky about keeping clean. That is why it is to your advantage to keep your cat’s litter box clean by cleaning it out every day. The result will be that your kitty will go in there on a daily basis and you will have a cleaner house!

If you have a busy schedule and can’t get to the litter box every day, then make it every other day. The key is to make sure that there isn’t an overwhelming amount of waste in there for days on end because their sense of smell will become overwhelmed and they will start avoiding that area because of the smell.

Can Green Tea Help Litter Box Smell?

Green tea is a natural deodorizer. But did you know that it can absorb cat urine and also add a touch of scent to your litter box?

For fresh-smelling kitty litter, try adding a few dry green tea leaves to the bottom of the litter box. Not only do these help absorb odors, but they also have natural deodorizing properties.

Green tea has natural anti-bacterial properties, so there’s virtually no way it’s going to harm your cat. But if you’re worried about giving your cat any caffeine at all, you can brew the green tea first, then let it cool and dry out before adding it to your litter box.


Can Baking Soda Help Litter Box Smell?

The natural compounds found in baking soda are particularly good at breaking down the ammonia in pet urine. The additional compounds also help to remove unpleasant smells that are caused by urine.

The way to use baking soda for litter box odor is simply to add it as an additive to the cat litter itself. This means using a combination of baking soda and either litter-based or non-clumping kitty litter.

Essentially, the alkaline nature of baking soda helps to break down the urine crystals into smaller particles that are easier to remove from the litter boxes.

Eventually, as new urine enters the box, it reacts with baking soda to neutralize odors faster than it would without the substance present.

Do Litter Deodizers Work?

Using a deodorizer is like killing the symptom, not the cause. Before investing in a litter deodorizer, you need to consider if the smell is really that bad.

If it is not causing a serious issue, then don’t spend the money on the deodorizer.

Litter deodorizers won’t work on their own to make your outdoor litter box problem smell good. They will get the odors under control but you still need to scoop out solid waste regularly.


Is There A Way To Scoop A Litter Box Without Stirring Up Odor?

Sure, there’s a way to scoop your cat box without stirring up odors. You can use litter box liners! Litter Box liners made of cloth keep your cat box fresh and clean at all times.

Not only will your litter stay in the litter box and not spread throughout your home, but it won’t soil the plastic liner either. When you are ready to change litter boxes just throw away the used liner and replace it with a new one.

Does Where You Place The Litter Box Matter When It Comes To Odors?

Getting the litter box into the right spot is one of the most important aspects of keeping your home odor-free.

The best places for litter boxes are private, secure areas that have a constant source of fresh air.

Some owners have had the cat litter box placed in the garage. Others have put their cat litter box in a laundry room, guest bathroom, or a spare bedroom that is only used occasionally.

Yet others keep the litter box right in the middle of the human living area of your home.

The boxes need to be placed where there is good air circulation to handle such odors. It should also be placed in a place where there is enough ventilation.

This will help keep those odors at bay and give your cats a safe, clean place to do their business.

Will Changing My Cats Diet Improve The Litter Box Smell?

The fact is, you might be feeding your cat the wrong diet. Cats are carnivores with a low tolerance for grains, yet many commercial pet foods contain high amounts of grain filler.

This creates a serious problem: cats eating these diets tend to develop small crystals in their urine, which then trickle into the litter box and create unpleasant odors.

Feeding your cat a diet including meat, fish, and eggs makes good sense. Your cat derives nutrients from just the right amount of protein and fat: he won’t become obese on a species-appropriate diet, but he will be satisfied enough to leave less uneaten food in the litter box.

But how does your cat’s diet affect other aspects of his health? Studies show that when cats eat species-appropriate diets, they have significantly fewer urinary tract problems and lower levels of calcium in their urine, so they are less likely to cause blockages with calcium deposits that also contribute to litter box issues.

You see, by simply changing your cat’s diet, you can eliminate these odor-causing crystals, thus improving your cat’s quality of life while also improving the overall smell of the litter box.

Declawing Your Cats Can Cause Litter Box Issues

Many cat owners don’t realize that declawing your cats may lead to difficulties in litter box training.

Declawed cats have a higher likelihood of developing litter box issues, including scratching the box’s side, urinating outside the box, and even refusing to use it at all.

While people declaw their cats for a variety of reasons, deep down, they all feel the same way about it. It’s bad for everybody involved. The cat becomes anxious and less trusting.

Besides the cruelty aspect declawing is fast becoming illegal in many areas and you really should look for other alternatives.


Do I Need More Than One Litter Box Per Cat?

If you have more than one cat, there are several benefits to having a litter box per cat. The biggest reason is that each cat needs her own space because she will want to use it.

Usually, you want one more litter box than you have cats.

Cats do not like to share their personal bathroom and it is no different when there is only one litter box.

So most cat owners recommend you get multiple litter boxes for your cats. If you are concerned about the aesthetics of having extra litter boxes around, you can hide them in places where they can’t be seen.

I hope you have discovered some ideas to adapt to your own personal circumstance that will help you combat the smell from your cat’s litter box.

A combination of ideas will work best depending on your financial situation.

The air purifier is a fabulous idea and will certainly help. The scoop-free kitty litter box is another clever idea and way less work however also costs more money.

Choosing the right kitty litter is important and experimenting with different brands is well worth it. Green tea and baking soda are definitely worth experiment with and getting litter box liners is a must.

If your cat is not on a proper carnivore diet then it will pay to switch and that will not only help with odors but will be more beneficial for your cat.

You may also be interested in… Best Cat Litter Mat That Actually Works In Catching Litter