5 Fresh And Effective Ways To Control Litter Box Odor

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
There’s a reason why kitty litter isn’t a popular Glade Plugin scent! Keep your litter box, and your home, smelling sweet with these invigorating tips.

Litter box odor isn’t only embarrassing and disgusting, it can also prevent your kitty from using the box as he should. After all, your pet’s sense of smell is so much stronger than yours, so if you can smell a dirty litter box, imagine how it smells to your cat!

The tips below can help you effectively control litter box odors so you’ll be able to rest assured that your kitty will be willing to use the litter box. But in addition to ensuring your cat will always gladly use the litter box, by controlling odor, you also won’t have to deal with unpleasant smells throughout your home, so it’s a win-win for you and your feline companion.

Related: The Most Common Litter Box Mistakes You’re Making

Keep the Litter – and the Box – Clean

Instead of focusing on constantly masking odors, the best way to control, and even eliminate, them is by simply scooping the box clean at least once a day, regardless of the type of litter that you use.

In addition to cleaning out the litter itself, you should ensure that there’s always enough litter in the box for your kitty to cover up his urine and feces. So if you notice that you removed a lot of litter while cleaning it, you can replace it to maintain adequate amounts of litter in the box at all times.

Related: What Is The Best Cat Litter For Your Kitty?

Once you notice that the litter is getting too dirty overall, discard it and replace it with fresh litter. You’ll probably have to do this every 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the type of litter you use and how dirty it becomes, as well as how many cats are using the box.

When changing out the litter completely, you can also go a step further by washing the box, as doing so will help it smell as fresh as possible. One easy way to do this is by washing the litter box with fragrance-free, mild dish detergent (don’t forget to wash the top half of the litter box, too, if you’re using a box with a lid). Then, dry it completely before refilling it with litter. This step is especially important if you don’t use litter box liners to keep the box itself clean.

Place the Box in a Well-Ventilated Area

Placement of your litter box can make a difference in your ability to control odors. Below are some tips on how to decide where to set up your pet’s litter box so you can ensure he will have easy access to it at all times, and so you won’t have to smell it either—after all, how embarrassing would it be to have guests over who can pick up on the offensive odors?!

First off, even though you want to put your cat’s litter box in an area where she can do her business in private, be sure that it is a spot in your home that has plenty of ventilation. That way, the smells can disperse rather than concentrate in one area.

Also, keep in mind that your cat will use the litter box multiple times a day, so you want to be sure it’s in an area of your home that she can access easily, and that has enough light for her to see well, too. If it’s a quiet space, that’s certainly something that your feline will likely appreciate. On the other hand, it isn’t a good idea to put the box in an area of your home that your kitty avoids spending time in.

Another thing to keep in mind: kitties prefer when their litter boxes are set up in an area that’s a good distance away from their food and water bowls. Makes sense, right?

Finally, it’s a good idea to avoid placing the box in an area that’s dark, small, and hidden away because this can make the unpleasant smells that come from it even worse, and it might even deter your kitty from using the box.

Once you choose the location for the litter box, position it so it’s easy for your cat to get into and out of it. This is another one of the many simple steps you can take to help ensure she will use the box rather than urinating and defecating around the house.

Note: If you have more than one kitty, having more than one litter box in different parts of your house is recommended.

Try Baking Soda or a Deodorizer, but Steer Clear of Heavy Fragrances

Scented litters and deodorizers that try to mask litter box odors with strong fragrances can be overpowering to your feline’s sensitive nose, and this can cause him to avoid the litter box altogether. Instead, you can try natural deodorizers like baking soda.

Make a Litter Box Air Freshener

To make your own litter box air freshener, all you need is some activated charcoal and cheesecloth.

Activated charcoal, which is sometimes used as a treatment in cases of poisoning, is also utilized in aquarium filters and air filters. And it can be purchased at hardware stores. How does it work when it comes to reducing litter box odors? Well, it works on trapping the odors because it’s highly porous. It can basically act like a sponge when absorbing smells from the air.

Cheesecloth can be purchased at a grocery store, so that’s definitely convenient. It’s nothing more than loosely woven cotton. But what if you can’t find any cheesecloth or you just don’t want to use it? Well, you have other options because you can use any fabric that can be described as net-like and breathable (an example is nylon stockings).

Once you have everything you need, all you have to do is place a few tablespoons of the charcoal onto several layers of the fabric you chose. Make sure the charcoal is able to stay securely in place as you tie or sew it into a convenient little bundle.

Finally, bury your DIY air freshener into your cat’s litter so it can begin naturally absorbing the odors every time your cat uses the litter box. Alternatively, if you don’t want to put this right into your cat’s litter, you can set it up near the box, hang it off the side of the box, or place it on top of the box.

If the Litter Still Smells Horrible, It’s Wise to Talk to Your Vet About It

If your kitty’s stool smells really foul, the offensive odors may be extremely difficult to eliminate, no matter how hard you try. You might attempt gradually switching to a higher quality diet to see if that helps. But it’s also a great idea to contact your veterinarian, as the strong odors might be caused by illnesses or parasites.

A Few of the Best Products to Help Control Litter Box Odor

In addition to making sure you’re using the right type of litter and litter box, selecting the right cleaning supplies is also important, as doing so may help reduce odors. But you always want to be sure that you are using high-quality cleaning and disinfecting products that are considered safe for pets, as your cat is more sensitive than you might imagine.

To help you locate some of the top products that can help control litter box odors, we’ve compiled a list of seven items that you can consider. The following products can help neutralize odor, as well as help prevent it before it can cause any embarrassment.

NonScents Cat Litter Deodorizer

Made in the USA from completely natural ingredients, the revolutionary formula of this litter deodorizer doesn’t just mask bad smells, it completely and instantly eliminates them. This product is biodegradable, non-toxic, and safe for pets, it is fragrance free, and it doesn’t contain any chemical additives. Plus, it is easy to use: just sprinkle some on your cat’s litter. It works on any type of litter to prolong its usability by removing and preventing odors. You can also add more, as needed, whenever you clean the litter.

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Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator

As discussed above, one of the key steps to an odor-free litter box is regularly washing it, but you’ll have to use the right cleaning supplies for the best results. This professional-quality cleaning spray with an enzymatic formula is designed specifically for removing and neutralizing urine odors. Also, it’s chlorine-free and certified safe for pets and people, so it can be a good option for cleaning litter boxes.

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Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Odor Destroyer Litter Powder

This deodorizing powder neutralizes odors and leaves behind a light, fresh scent in the litter—and the scent lasts. You can use it with all types of litter and various types of litter boxes, from manual to automatic. It will get to work by drawing fluids away from the litter, so it can even help your litter last longer. Using it is easy too: just apply some on the bottom of the box when doing a litter change, and then add some more to the top of the litter. Then, after you clean the litter, you can add more of this powder, as needed, to help keep the box smelling fresh.

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PURGGO Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bag

Hook this chemical-free, fragrance-free, and sustainable product onto the litter box or hang it somewhere near the box, and prepare to be amazed. This seemingly plain pouch can help remove any kind of nasty smells coming from your pet’s litter. Made with bamboo charcoal and hemp, this eco-friendly odor eliminator will last a year, too, making it a cost-effective solution for litter smells.

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Zero Odor Litter Box Odor Eliminator

Just spray some of this odor eliminator on the bottom of the litter box after you have cleaned it during a complete litter change. Then, you can spray it onto the litter, as needed, to keep everything smelling fresh. This product can be used with clumping and clay litters, and it doesn’t just hide bad smells with a nice scent because it neutralizes them completely instead. Plus, it’s cat-safe, non-toxic, cruelty-free, non-allergenic, and biodegradable, and it doesn’t leave a scent behind.

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PetSafe ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box

If you’re too busy to clean your pet’s litter box often or you have more than one cat, an automatic self-cleaning litter box may make your life so much easier. This particular model uses smell-absorbing crystal litter that is scooped and cleaned automatically, so all you have to do is load a new tray and dispose of the used one every few weeks.

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Fresh Step Advanced Extreme Clumping Cat Litter with Odor Control

Your choice of litter can influence the odor in your litter box. Some pet parents prefer scented cat litter, such as this clumping option that has a strong, fresh scent to help hide the odor of urine and feces. Just keep in mind that your kitty might not be too keen on intense fragrances, so if you notice your pet avoiding the litter box if it’s scented, switch back to a fragrance free option.

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Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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