Written by: Lucas James

Litter Box Smell Hacks

Cat Health

Last Updated:

It simply involves more frequent cleaning, along with certain add-ins such as deodorizers. This is not a one size fits all prescription, however– you may have to go through some trial and error to find out which solution, or which combination of solutions, works best for you and your pet.

Cat Health

Litter Box Smell Hacks

Written by: Lucas James

Last Updated on:

Litter Box Smell Hacks

You love your feline friend, right?

Of course!

Cats keep us company, keep us entertained, and are an extension of the family. What you probably don’t love is the smell of your cat’s litter box. Cats sometimes get a bad rap for this, but the litter box smell is avoidable.

It simply involves more frequent cleaning, along with certain add-ins such as deodorizers. This is not a one size fits all prescription, however– you may have to go through some trial and error to find out which solution, or which combination of solutions, works best for you and your pet.

Litter Box Smell

Cats use their litter box to go to the bathroom, so of course, the litter box is going to smell if not dealt with and cleaned regularly. As pet owners, our role is to care for our cats and clean up after them– and if we don’t, this can also be a sanitary issue. But what exactly is it that causes this specific litter box smell?

Also Read – Best Cat Litter for Multiple Cats

Litter box smell hacks

What Causes Litter Box Smell?

Litter boxes smell, and of course, this is because they collect your pet’s waste. However, the reason for such a strong and lasting smell is because of the main component in urine– urea. Urea releases ammonia when it decomposes, which has a very particular smell. Cats actually have more urea than humans do, so this is the reason for the increased smell. The litter box also helps to collect the ammonia and thus concentrates the odours even more if not cleaned frequently.

Many of our readers at My Ragdoll Cats love travelling with their cats. One of the issues is making sure that your cat has a litter box and crate combo, or system. These can also smell, our recommendation is to clean them each time that the cat uses it.

Dealing With Litter Box Smell

When you own a cat, you may feel that litter box smell is something that comes with the territory– something you must simply learn to live with. This is not true! There are several ways to combat this. Of course, you will want to clean the litter box regularly to avoid any waste or smell buildup, but there are additional precautions you can take against the smell.

New Cat Litter

Sometimes, the first– and easiest– step is to change out your cat litter and try a new brand. For example, clumping kitty litter makes cleanup a lot easier and ensures that you do not miss anything. Naturally, the easier it is to clean the litter box, the more efficient and conscientious you will be. This, of course, will also mean that the litter box will not be as stinky. Some cat litters also smell better than other brands– however, when it comes to anything with added fragrances, be careful. Some cats may not like the new smells and will choose not to use their box.

Clean the Litter Box

Of course, you are scooping out your cat’s waste, but go one step further and clean out the entire litter box at least once a week. Empty the box of any litter and give it a thorough clean and wipe down. You can even wipe the box down afterwards with vinegar, which acts as a natural deodorizer. You can also add a liner to the litter box to make cleaning easier or sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the box to combat stench before you add in the new kitty litter. Adding a litter box liner does help with cleanup as well since it makes it easy to pick up the litter and dispose of it in one go.

Check out our article – Best Trash Can for litter Boxes

Replace the Litter

At the very least, you should be fully replacing the kitty litter once a week. If you do it more than once a week, even better! When you are cleaning out the box, you should not always just scoop out the cat’s waste and leave the rest. It is important to fully empty and then refill — your cat needs a refresh! This is important for sanitary reasons for your cat as well as for avoiding any lingering litter box smell.


There are several deodorants you can use for your litter box. One, which most of us already have in our homes, is baking soda. Baking soda works well as a natural deodorant. If you want to save your baking soda for baking, no problem– there are also commercial litter box deodorizers. These often have stronger scents and fragrances, though, so be aware.

Tea Leaves

Dried tea leaves are an unusual hack, but, like baking soda, they act as a natural deodorizer. You can either purchase green tea leaves that have already been dried, or you can buy green tea leaves and dry them out yourself.

Then, you can mix these in with the cat litter in your litter box. The green tea leaves absorb odours and also possess naturally occurring anti-bacterial properties.


It could also help to relocate the litter box, or at the very least, take another look at the location that the box is currently in. If there is a lack of ventilation, you are certainly going to have an issue with smell.

Be sure that there is air circulation where you place the litter box, such as a large bathroom or a basement– not a closet! You do also want to make sure that this location does not get a lot of foot traffic, so your cat will feel comfortable and have the privacy it needs to do its business.

Increase Litter Boxes

The rule of thumb is typically to have an extra litter box in the house. You should have one more litter box at home than the number of cats you own.

One of the reasons this is helpful is that it cuts down on the amount of waste in each litter box, so there is less buildup of waste, and thus, less smell buildup as well.  When thinking about litter boxes for multiple cats it is a good idea to really plan it out.

Replace Litter Box

It is important to note that plastic does take on and absorb scents after a while. If none of your efforts to decrease the smell are bearing fruit, it may be time to retire this particular litter box. Purchase a new one and implement the deodorizing tips above from day one!