How To Clean a Cat Litter Box – Because Who Likes a Dirty Bathroom!

cleaning cat litter

Most cat owners know that much of what they do is to meet what their cat prefers. They’re your fur baby, after all, and it makes sense that you want to find things that your cat likes, from food to litter to toys and beyond.

But how to clean a cat litter box is likely your least favorite thought of owning a kitten. Nonetheless, it is an essential part of cat ownership to keep your cat’s litter box clean and free of anything that could make your cat or multiple cats unhappy or unhealthy.

Cleaning the litter box frequently, performing daily scooping, and refilling litter a little bit each week is a good start!

If you’re looking for the best ways to clean the litter box to maintain fresh litter and an odor-free house, this piece is for you. So, follow along while I go over some quick and easy maintenance tactics.

Performing Daily Litter Box Maintenance

Cleaning out dirty cat litter daily is the best way to ensure you get rid of any urine and feces that your cat steps in, which would cause quite a mess, especially for longhaired cats.

litter box cleaner

 Here are some steps to follow so that you can avoid any such trouble: 

Wear Disposable Gloves and Consider Wearing a Mask

When you clean the litter box, you generally deal with a good amount of waste. Wearing gloves can be a good way to keep your hands completely dry and clean as you work to avoid close contact with any grimy litter.

how to clean a cat litter box

Similarly, wearing a dust mask wouldn’t hurt, either. You may think of masks these days as a way to keep from spreading germs and getting sick, but the less you are able to inhale airborne germs and dust from your cat’s waste and litter, the better.

By doing some things to protect yourself on a daily basis, you’ll be able to avoid leaving any waste residue that you missed out of fear of getting your hands dirty and give your cat a clean litter box.

Set Up a Trash Can Close By

Another easy way to help streamline your litter box cleaning process is to keep a trash can permanently nearby. I prefer the ones that open with a motion sensor or even just your foot when I am watching my friends’ cats because you can scoop and dispose of the mucky litter immediately. 

cleaning litter box

Say, for example, you keep the litter box in your laundry room. You can easily keep a bin nearby, along with your fresh litter, to eventually change the litter with cat feces at the end of the week.

If you’re going to be cleaning the dirty litter box on a daily basis, as you should, this can help make it easier on you. At the very least, grab a plastic bag, so you don’t have to walk around with filthy litter.

Scoop Out Solids

Make sure you are scooping out solid waste with a litter scoop daily, at least once a day. You can also check for these larger clumps twice a day, around the time you feed your cat in the morning and the evening. This will lessen your load as you work to maintain a properly cleaned litter box.

how to clean cat litter box

Frequently cleaning will also help to eliminate the smell of your litter box further, though most litter boxes you buy should also work to remove odors from your home.

Don’t forget to check the bottom of the box throughout your daily cleanings to make sure nothing is causing a hidden odor or that your cat could step on and track.

 Scoop Out Urine Clumps

In the same way, you regularly clean those larger clumps of solid waste; you’ll also want to remove smaller clumps of cat urine. Any clumps you see in your cat’s litter box should be removed to maintain clean litter for your furry feline.

If you have a non-clumping litter, your daily cleaning may look slightly different compared to clumping litter. You may need to be more in tune with your cat’s litter box usage and scoop more often.

how to clean litter box

Remember, these can go in a plastic bag nearby so that you aren’t walking around your home with any used litter that could cause a smell.

Replace Any Lost Litter

You don’t need to add too much litter, but to maintain a clean litter box, you should replace any lost litter you scooped out during the day. Your litter box will ideally always end the night with the same amount of litter because you have refilled it.

Most cats prefer consistency, and this helps give it to them while also ensuring that there is enough litter to take care of any business your cat is doing.

how to clean a litter box

You never want an empty litter box, but you also don’t want a dirty one. So, keep it clean but also keep it full.

Performing Weekly Litter Box Maintenance

Performing litter box maintenance on a weekly basis will be easier so long as you are cleaning your cat’s litter on a daily basis, as well.

Also, if you have more than one cat, one litter box won’t be enough. It is recommended to keep two boxes per cat.

cat litter box cleaning

Now let’s talk about the best ways to keep the entire box clean and well-maintained as time passes. 

Washing Litter Boxes

Depending on what type of litter box you have, you will likely find that the best way to wash your litter box is to dump all the kitty litter and soak the box in hot water for a few minutes, at least.

This will help to break down anything that you aren’t seeing with the naked eye and can also help to remove anything that might be stuck to the box before you go in and manually clean it. 

clean cat litter box

Scrubbing and Cleaning Out a Litter Box

Next, you can take some mild dish soap, baking soda, and more hot water and scrub out the litter box. I recommend wearing gloves, and even a mask, for the same reasons you would as you scoop out the litter box daily. It can be messy, and it’s nice to have that extra layer of protection.

If things are a little extra dirty, or you’ve had your litter box for a while, you can also use bleach before washing the litter box out with soap and water. This will help you make sure that everything is in tip-top shape.

Once you’ve washed the litter box, you can use a paper towel to wipe it out so that your fresh litter does not stick or clump.

Pour in Clean Litter

Finally, you can pour in your new litter to keep the same litter box smelling fresh, clean, and ready again for your cat to use!

cleaning cat litter box

Depending upon preference and use, you can choose from a range of litters, like traditional clay litter, unscented or scented litter, and the health-monitoring Pretty litter.

Avoid Adding Scented Products or Items in or Near the Litter Box

Many cats are pretty sensitive, so it is best to use an unscented litter when possible and refrain from using harsh, strongly scented soaps to clean the litter box.

Even though you can use bleach to give your box a deep clean, you should thoroughly clean and rinse the box afterward to remove as much of the scent as possible.

cat litter box cleaner

The same goes for any scented trash bag you might use if you keep the garbage nearby for easy cleaning access. You will appreciate the process, but your cat may be less likely to use the restroom where it should if there are too many overwhelming smells.


So, you’re ready to go! It might seem a bit overwhelming at first, especially for first-time cat owners, but cleaning a litter box is easy at the end of the day.

Even if you have more than one cat, you can be assured that you know how to clean, empty, and refill their litter box.

Don’t forget to wear your gloves and a mask when needed, keep a plastic bag, paper towels, and your bin nearby, and avoid any scented litter that could repel cats and their desire to use the litter box.

As long as you remove any clumps daily and replace litter, your job should be pretty easy when it comes time to wash your litter box.

Happy cleaning, friends!

Anna Shoultz
Anna has been working as a writer for over 6 years and loves getting to share information that helps readers. Whether that looks like products to use or ways to support pets, she enjoys passing knowledge on to others. Her work tends to vary, but animal writing has always been close to the center of her career and is a point of focus she always returns to. When she is not writing, she travels to new countries, spends lots of time with her close friends’ dogs, and works on other creative projects such as documentaries.

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