How To Get Rid of Cat Litter Smell – Best Hacks Revealed

litter box cleaner

The only smell worse than cat waste is the odor of the used litter itself. You can be left constantly pinching your nose each time you venture through your home because of the offensive aroma. Your cat, in the meantime, is nonplussed.

If it’s getting to the point where you’re afraid to have guests over because you worry they’ll comment on the smell, it’s time to do something about it.

Ahead, I’ll recommend my top odor control methods for removing that terrible cat litter smell in your home once and for all!

Methods To Reduce Litter Box Smell

Below I’ve shared some tips on how to eliminate litter box odor and prevent it from stinking up your house. No more smelly cat box!

Scoop Litter Boxes Daily

When I talk about cat litter smell, I mean the odor that arises when urea from cat urine breaks down in the litter. The urea releases ammonia, and that’s what you smell.

how to get rid of litter box smell

By scooping the litter every single day, you can reduce the concentration of ammonia in the air. We people are very sensitive to even small amounts of ammonia, and cats release more ammonia in their urine than dogs or humans, so you need to stay on top of the cleaning.

Wash Your Cat’s Litter Box Thoroughly

When the time comes for you to dump the dirty litter box, don’t replace it with fresh litter so quickly. Instead, take a couple of minutes to give the box a thorough cleaning both inside and out with an unscented dish detergent

If urine seeped down to the bottom of the cat litter box or fecal matter got stuck on the sides, you’d never know it until you clean it. Old litter could still be holding on for dear life as well, all of which you can remove by cleaning.

Let the litter box fully dry, and then pour in fresh litter. Do this about once a month going forward and you should notice a reduction in litter box odors.

Replace the Boxes

Cat litter boxes are simple plastic and could theoretically last forever if not for the smell. Plastic retains odors really well, which you might have learned personally if you used Tupperware and the smell never came out again.

how to keep litter box from smelling

The reason? Plastic is incredibly porous, so the litter box smells. About once a year, it’s wise to throw away all the dirty litter boxes in the house and replace them with fresh ones. Plastic litter boxes aren’t all that expensive, so this shouldn’t break the bank. 

Use an Air Purifier for Cat Litter Smell

As a cat owner, if you’re still struggling with an unappealing cat litter smell, try an air purifier. An air purifier will diffuse the undesirable litter box odor in the air, circulate fresher air around the house, and eliminate pet dander.

If you have any allergies or asthma sufferers in the house, they’ll appreciate how much cleaner the air quality is. You’ll love how your home won’t smell like cat messes anymore.

Modify Your Cat’s Diet

What are you feeding your cat? Depending on how you answer that question, that could explain why their droppings are so odorous. Your cat needs a natural, balanced diet without any GMOs, preservatives, additives, and the like.

Some cat owners swear by the raw diet. If that sounds like a bit too much of a jump for your feline friend, you can always switch your kitty to organic foods.

The strength of the clumping cat litter aroma might be reduced with a dietary change, but your cat will always leave some smell when they use the bathroom. It’s not supposed to smell like roses!

Try Baking Soda or Any Deodorizer

Chemical deodorizers get the job done, but you don’t want them anywhere near your cat. The next best solution is a natural product that you very likely already have in your pantry, and that’s baking soda.

how to make litter boxes not smell

You can combine a little bit of baking soda into your cat’s litter. The next time your cat uses the litter box, the baking soda will absorb the urine along with the litter itself. Between the two, the days of an odorous, ammonia-filled house should be behind you.

Ventilate the House

Ventilating your home is like putting a Band-Aid on a broken arm, but it’s a proactive approach, and so I have to recommend it. All you have to do is turn on a ceiling fan (or several) and open some windows.

Your heating and cooling system might have a fan option that will come in handy for moving the air as well. Make sure that you ventilate throughout the house so that the urine-soaked air can freely exit rather than linger in certain rooms.

Use a Charcoal Filter

Carbon or charcoal filters are another excellent solution to consider for your cat litter smell woes. The filter will adsorb the litter box odors, which is not quite the same as absorbing. The difference is that the odor molecules stick to the outside of the filter and don’t soak through.

A charcoal filter is a top choice for not only reducing the rate of litter odors in your home but also reducing bacteria. Your cat’s litter box will never be a 100 percent clean place, of course, but a carbon filter makes it just that much cleaner.

Get the Right Litter Box

Is your kitty’s litter box open or enclosed? Covered boxes with a lid or a hood prevent odors from lingering all over the house the way they can in a completely open box. Your cat should also appreciate the additional degree of privacy.

Switching your cat to a new type of litter box if they’ve only ever used open litter boxes can be a bit of a challenge.

cat litter box

Make sure the litter box you buy is more than large enough for your cat, as they’re going to feel constricted while they adjust to this change. You don’t want to make conditions more claustrophobic still with a too-small box!


Cat litter smell can quickly become the bane of your existence, but it doesn’t have to be! We hope this article helped you find solutions for how to get rid of cat litter smell. You have all sorts of reliable methods for removing the odor for good.

Keeping the litter box clean is a top priority, so be sure to clean messes daily and wipe down the litter box about once a month.

You can also deodorize naturally with baking soda, use a charcoal filter, ventilate the house, and use an air purifier. Your house will smell fresh and clean even if you have a multi-cat household.

Nicole Malczan
Nicole Malczan is a professional freelance writer with 10 years of experience and counting. As a lifelong animal lover, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion for animals with others. Her specialties include pet care basics, pet diseases, pet products, and animal behavior. Nicole has three pets at home herself, two young tuxedo cats who are brothers and the newest additions to the family, and a red-eared slider she's had for more than five years. She hopes to teach readers how to take the best care of their pets and enjoy happy, fulfilling companionship together, as the bond between human and animal is one of life's most fulfilling!

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