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Preventing Litter Box Odors

Category Pet Odors
Cat in Litter Box
Having a well trained house cat makes for a pleasant home, as long as long as the cat box is odorless. This guide is about preventing litter box odors.

Solutions

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By 7 found this helpful
December 7, 2009

To keep cat litter fresh smelling, mix baby powder in with the litter.

Source: A friend

By atinap from Drummondville, QC

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By 1 found this helpful
August 2, 2007

I was told by a pal, who works at a local discount store, that the product "Feline Pine Kitty Litter" is the best product to use if you have pets such as ferrets or cats. It cuts down on the odor more so than most like products.

By Terri H. from NV

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By 3 found this helpful
June 6, 2017

I have a handsome tabby cat called Mr. Smith and he's a mostly indoor cat therefore he has a litter tray in the bathroom. There's only one small problem and that is Tom cats tend to have a stronger smelling urine. I use a non-clumping litter and I buy a 30 litre bag on Amazon and it's the best one on the market, but nothing is perfect.

I came up with the idea recently to fill a decorative bowl I once found in a thrift shop with one scoop of the litter and then I added a good 20 drops or more of an essence oil I use for my diffuser. I used a strawberry aroma.
(I just happen to have some strawberry-shaped clips which I put on top burying the clips so they're hidden). Now I have a pleasant smelling bathroom!

I thought perhaps to make ones for other rooms in the house. I'll nip to my local charity shop soon to see what pretty bowls or jars I can find to suit each room. I expect to just top up the bowl every week with a few drops more of the essence oil.

It looks quite nice in the bathroom. Perhaps it might look better if I dyed it with some food colouring or added some small half-glass pebbles?
What do you think? :)

Source: My own

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By 3 found this helpful
December 18, 2013

Instead of buying expensive cat litter I use the cheapest clay litter but keep a jar of baking soda on the top of the litter box.

I use an empty air freshener container since it has vents in it (which can be used to sprinkle it) and fill it with baking soda, which I sprinkle into the box after each cleaning.

The baking soda left on top and sprinkled in the box helps keep it smelling fresher between cleanings while i am away at work!

Comment Was this helpful? 3

June 30, 20170 found this helpful

Your cat's diet may affect the odor of your litterbox. This is a guide about best dry cat food to help reduce litterbox odor.

A domestic cat eating cat food.

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June 14, 20170 found this helpful

Cat litters come in different formulas. Some are better clumpers, some are lightweight, and some control odors well. This is a guide about best cat litter for controlling odor.

Cat in Litterbox

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 3 found this helpful
December 28, 2010

How do I eliminate cat odors? I clean kitty litter 2-3x a day, vacuum at least every other day, clean surfaces daily, and wash curtains, etc. weekly. I do use lemon grass oil to keep spiders away which scents the air, but doesn't always clean the air. How are scented candles like Febreze for cats?

By Sharon from Newark, CA

Answer Was this helpful? 3

Answers

December 28, 20100 found this helpful

Just as baking soda eliminates odors in you refrigerator, it will do the same in your litter box. Just clean out your kitty's gifts as you normally do then sprinkle a generous amount in the litter box. It's not harmful to your cat and will be kind to your nose :)

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
December 29, 20100 found this helpful

Sam's Club sells a product called Odo-Ban that is an all natural odor eliminator. It is highly concentrated and you mix some of the Odo-Ban with water in a spray bottle that comes with the product. It is safe to spray on all surfaces, and will not harm your kitties. Another thing you can do is clean your carpets and upholstery with an enzymatic carpet cleaner.

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December 30, 20100 found this helpful

Ditto to Sarie Lynn's baking soda recommendation. We haven't had cats for a few years, I miss them terribly, as old age finally overtook them, but when they did live with us, it was easy to keep a washed and re-purposed grated Parmesan Cheese, plastic container re-filled with baking soda next to the litter box. Daily scooping kept it reasonably clean and a generous dusting of sprinkled on baking soda always kept it odor free.

Baking soda is very inexpensive and invaluable as a natural, frugal, homespun, cleaning, deodorizing and human hygiene product. (Want whiter teeth? Brush them with a paste of baking soda moistened with a few drops of water.)

Nothing against the manufactured products that work, but ya' can't beat the price and utility of a box of baking soda! Good luck!

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Anonymous
December 30, 20100 found this helpful

I am not sure what type of litter you use but I use scoop-able litter and never have an odor problem unless I forget to scoop once per day (I have one cat but if I had more I would scoop more often). I use used veggie bags to put the pee pee and poopy poddy in, tie it up and place it in the trash under my kitchen sink for until the trash goes out.

Many people think scoop-able litter is expensive but it truly isn't because you're just scooping up the used portion instead of having to throw all the litter away every couple of days and then having to also wash the box that the urine has soaked in to. The urine barely soaks in to the box itself using scoop-able so you really only need to clean the box itself every two or three weeks (I put the still good litter in a large bag and then return it to the box after the box has dried after cleaning).

You can buy generic store brands rather than name brands. I buy Safeway's 'Priority Brand' in 14 pound containers for about $6.00 (less when on sale) and one container lasts for a month for my Rachel.

Another secret with using scoop-able successfully is to always keep the litter box 1/2 to 3/4 full of litter.

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December 30, 20101 found this helpful

I've read that any type of fragrance is not good for pets.

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September 11, 20111 found this helpful

I have only 1 cat, but the odor from her litter box is very unpleasant. We scoop at least once a day or every other day, but the smell is still bad. I've tried several different kinds of litter and thought the last brand I bought (Arm and Hammer Double Duty) worked. It did for a little while, but it stills smells bad. I was told to try Tidy Cat for multiple cats even though I only have 1 cat. I haven't tried it yet and was wondering if anyone who has just 1 cat has tried it and did it work, or what is the best litter you have tried to control both the pee and poop odors?

There is also a deodorizer called Fridge-it (it looks like a purple cube) that you can clip to the box to control odors. I would like to try that, since litter can be quite expensive. Has anyone tried this product and does it really work? If so, where did you buy it? Any information you can give me would be very helpful as the odor is getting quite bad. Thank you.

By Linda D.

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July 26, 2010

What is the best way to get rid of the smell from the cat litter box? I clean out the box at least twice a day and put new litter in. I even added baking soda to the litter, but it doesn't help. Is there anything else I can try besides buying a scented litter, which is too expensive?

By Linda from Brighton, MI

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July 26, 20100 found this helpful

Yes since I have a cat, you know those air fresheners. Well put it by the litter box and ever time the cat goes away from it, it will spray from movement.

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July 26, 20101 found this helpful

Try FelinePine. I've switched from the clay Tidy Cat litter and find the pellets, while different, mask urine odor. Another cheaper alternative, which I learned from searching for information, is stall pellets. I bought a 40lb bag of those at a local Southern States for less than $7. The FelinePine and stall pellets turn to sawdust when they get wet. I have found the litter pan used in the Breeze litter system to work very well with the pellets. It has two sections; the top part has holes in the bottom and allows the sawdust to sift through to a little tray which you can pull out. Breeze also has pads to line the trays with to absorb any urine that goes through to the tray. I don't miss the dust from the clay litter. The cats track little of the sawdust. There is also FelinePine clumping which is sawdust with something added to make it clump when it gets wet. Good luck!

Reply Was this helpful? 1
Anonymous
July 27, 20100 found this helpful

What works well for me is clumping litter. I purchase the inexpensive store brand and scoop once a day (one cat) and place the scoops in a used produce bag (inspect for possible holes), tie the bag off and place it in the kitchen trash can under the sink until I take the trash out. Absolutely never flush scoopable!

It seems like clumping litter is really expensive because of the initial price but it actually is more cost effective because you only need to scoop the clumps of ammonia smelling urine and the poopy instead of completely replacing all the litter. A 14 lb container lasts for my Rachel for an entire month and the cost is about $5.00 to $6.00. Another bonus is that you don't have to wash the entire litter box as often as if you use regular, paper or pine litter.

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July 27, 20100 found this helpful

I use Tidy Cat litter and clean out the clumps at least once a day. I also use the tidy cat litter box powder.

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Anonymous
July 28, 20100 found this helpful

I forgot to mention that when using clumping litter it works best to keep the litter box at least a fourth full. I start with a about a third. With Rachel I only need to add more about every three days.

Also, if you want extra odor control you can mix in good old fashioned inexpensive baking soda to absorb odor instead of expensive cat litter powder.

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July 28, 20100 found this helpful

Definitely use the "clumping" or "scoop-able" litter. Walmart carries a brand called "Special Kitty." It is less than $6.00 for 28 lbs and lasts for ages. As another poster said, you only remove the clumps, not the whole pan of litter, so it lasts a long time - and best of all - no smell!

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July 29, 20100 found this helpful

Clumping litter yes, as everyone has mentioned. Brands are up to you, and to some extent, your cat. The urine of different cats will react and smell differently with different litters. So the brand that works for one may not be the best for someone else. My cats use either Arm and Hammer or Tidy Cat. It helps that they are not fussy so I can buy the one on sale. I also keep a Freshmatic on the shelf over the litter. And since my litter boxes are in the basement with a limited amount of air exchange, I keep a small air cleaner running on low speed nearby.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 28, 2006

We just moved into a rental townhouse. I am pretty sure who ever lived there before us had a litter pan in the upstairs linen closet. It does NOT have a urine smell, but more like the actual kitty litter itself. I have tried several things to get this smell out -- washed the closet down, aired out the shelves in the sun, baking soda in the bottom -- I am at a loss now. Someone please help me, I have been in this place for 3 months and it makes my whole upstairs stink if I leave the door open, and my linens are still in a basket beside the closet. Ugh!

Monica from Ontario. Canada

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June 28, 20060 found this helpful

Try spraying white vinegar on the carpeting, and close the door overnight. Next day, open to allow the vinegar to air out. I will likely remove at least some of the smell.

good luck!

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June 28, 20060 found this helpful

Put some unused coffee grounds in some shallow dishes and put them in the closet and close the door. (If there is a good crack under the door, roll a towel and lay it there to decrease air circulation.) You could also sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and leave it there during the process. After a few days, take the coffee out, vacuum, and sniff. You can always put the coffee back for a few days.

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June 29, 20060 found this helpful

If the coffee grounds don't do the trick you will probably have to seal all closet surfaces with some sort of paint. It 's possible that the "stink" has been absorbed by all the surfaces in the closet. It might even require a certain type of paint as I'm thinking latex wall paint probably won't do the job. Maybe someone else has information on this!

Editor's Note: Get some shellac or Kilz to seal the closet before painting it. That will seal off any smell that may have been absorbed.

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June 29, 20060 found this helpful

Try charcoal briquets, (the ones for bbq).

Just put them in the closet and they will absorb the odor.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 29, 20060 found this helpful

My cat wet in a basket I had on the livingroom wood floor, I did not find it for several days so it soaked into the floor. I washed it all good (even basket) with vinegar then poured fresh coffee grounds (right from the container) onto the floor, set the basket on top and sprinkled a few more coffee grounds into the basket, let it set about a week and the smell completely disappeared. The cat is 17 and the smell was bad.

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June 29, 20060 found this helpful

I would use odor eliminator from Norwex. It is a great product. One bottle would provide you with many spray bottles worth and you can spray it on anything! It has a baby powder scent!

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June 30, 20060 found this helpful

I am amazed at how great charcoal briquettes work for situations like this. Just make sure they are the plain ones without the firestarter added to it. Overnight the odor should be gone. Just put a small container or bowl inside your closet with some of the charcoal briguettes in it. Good luck!

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 22, 20070 found this helpful

The best way to rid of this smell is to use orange cleaner like tko works great

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By 1 found this helpful
August 2, 2016

What can I use as an alternative to costly shop brought fresheners for my cat's litter tray?

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By 0 found this helpful
April 17, 2013

Shay lives in a small house with 5 cats. They, all 5, use one litterbox. As soon as Shay cleans the litterbox and puts fresh litter in, all 5 cats need to use it. Therefore, the smell never goes away. What can Shay do to eliminate or at least neutralize the odor?

By tm

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By 0 found this helpful
July 17, 2007

HELP! My flat is very small and the whole place smells like a litter box! I bought some clumping litter, litter freshener and about a million air fresheners but nothing seems to work.

I love my cat sooo much but I don't think I can deal with this stink!

One thing about the clumping litter though, now I've been using it for 2 days - OMG my cat does the HUGEst wee's! Are they normally so big?

Kirstie from UK

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Archives

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July 26, 20100 found this helpful

Is there a way to remove cat litter smell? Can something be added to the litter box? We have tried different foods for our two male cats and even different litter and their poop just stinks up the place. I wasn't sure if perhaps we were using the wrong food or litter brand. Does anyone have any suggestions?

WarpedAngel from MD

Answers:

Litter Box Odor

When we had a cat, we used clay based litter and at times sprinkled baking soda under the new litter when we changed it out. We made a practice of changing out the litter at least weekly, lot of hassle, but the smell went away. (10/24/2008)

By papajan

Litter Box Odor

You also need to use a good brand of cat litter. I can't remember the name of it, but it is for multiple cats and has a picture of a cat holding his paw over his nose or something silly like that. Anyway, you may not have the same brand in the US that we have in Canada.

Some people have had good results using things like organic litter rather than the clay based products, but I think they are more expensive, and I can't vouch for that.

The litter for multiple cat households is worth the money, and I use baking soda as well. I expect the charcoal would also work, but I have just used baking soda.

I would also advise scooping the poop daily. And I hope you have your cats neutered. If they are not neutered, they will have smellier litter boxes. (10/24/2008)

By louel53

Litter Box Odor

I add baking soda to the bottom of box then add cat litter. I also have a slot on top of the litter box and I buy deodorizers to put in slot. The deodorizers can be found at Wal-mart and pet shops.

Angie (10/24/2008)

By pauley

Litter Box Odor

We have 2 cats, female neutered, and find that cleaning the box morning and evening, and adding litter weekly as level goes down works for us. Once a month we empty the box completely and scrub with dish soap and a toilet brush, dry with paper towels and fill it up again. I say cleaning it twice a day is the least we can do for them, because no one likes to use a toilet that isn't flushed, even cats! We don't use any fancy stuff, just clumping cat litter and never have an odor problem. (10/25/2008)

By katklaw777

Litter Box Odor

We changed from Tidy Cat Scoopable litter to Arm and Hammer Scoopable. What a difference! The smell goes away quickly. (10/25/2008)

By Artlady

Litter Box Odor

I use the fragrance free clumping litter by PetSmart. I think it's Exquisite brand, it's their brand. It is the FF multiple cat formula in the green box. It works well and clumps great. Arm & Hammer is also a good litter. Sometimes I sprinkle baking soda on the litter if I'm running low and it's smelly. I also scoop 2x a day; once a month clean the box with soap and water, but also put a drop of bleach with water in the box to let it soak a few minutes before I rinse well, dry, and refill. The bleach deodorizes the plastic box.

I also find that with the scratching, I replace the box itself once a year. (10/25/2008)

By Dorina

Litter Box Odor

I use Arm & Hammer. My friend who works at an animal shelter gave me that advice. It makes a big difference. (10/28/2008)

By

Litter Box Odor

I used to sprinkle baking soda on the bottom liner before adding cat sand/clay. I only fed my cat crunchy food as the watery stuff would make her have loose stinky stools. She loved green beans (warm), cheese puffs, and she got treats. Good luck. (11/02/2008)

By meoowmom

Litter Box Odor

I have tried baking soda, which works well, but I have also used carpet deodorizer (the one that comes in powder form). I sprinkle it in the litter and no smells. It is also a bonus that you can choose the scent! (11/19/2008)

By Mel

Litter Box Odor

These are great suggestions, but I'd have to say I agree with an earlier post that activated carbon is by far, the very best. The absolutely best product that I've used (and I've used many) is called INNOFRESH Pet odor absorber. It was originally recommended by a worker at a large cat shelter that seemed to really know the difference.

It is a fragrance free (better for you and cats) activated carbon odor absorber that just clips right on the side of most litter boxes. It really is the answer for anyone with cats regardless of what litter you use. In fact, I've switched to a cheaper litter and rely more on the Innofresh odor absorber to do the job and I'm very happy with results.

I easily get these on line at innofresh.com They ship incredibly fast and service is great. If you have cats, you've got to try this.(11/30/2008)

By Lorikee

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October 23, 20080 found this helpful

Any tips for limiting and controlling litter box odor? Post your ideas.

Answers:

Pet Doors

Install a pet door going out to your garage and put your litter box out there. Gets the smell out of your house.

By Tara (02/23/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Litter Box Odor

I use scoopable litter. Scoop the litter box daily. Use a deodorizer like Tidy Cat, or Arm and Hammer for litter boxes, or plain baking soda once a week to freshen up the box. Be sure to add fresh litter when the litter level gets low from scooping. I also burn candles to freshen up the litter box area. (02/23/2005)

Litter Box Odor

We bought the automatic litter boxes. They aren't cheap. But they are frugal in the end.

Our litter lasts longer and so do our backs! Very easy to clean. Plus we line the canister with a bag to catch the waste so that we can keep reusing the same canister. And at $15 for 12 of them and having to change them about once a week, that adds up quick! But with lining them, we have been using the same canister for about 4 months now. A big difference!

We have 4 cats and 2 of the large sized boxes and no problems.

Heather (02/24/2005)

By plantgirl848

Litter Box Odor

Charcoal is your answer. Put regular barbecue charcoal (not with fluid on it) in the cat box, and you'll flip. This works for anywhere they decide they feel like going, like carpets, couches, etc., and don't worry about the black, it cleans up with soap and water. I change the charcoal about once a week but it will last longer than that. (02/28/2005)

By Sherry

Litter Box Odor

I have used Odor Free for years with my cat. Mojave Yucca, the active ingredient, works naturally to prevent odors from forming. You might want to check that out. It eliminates all cat odors such as urine, fecal, etc. So no more litter box odors. Also, it prevents hair balls. The website for more information is http://www.catsodorfree.com (06/15/2005)

By Sharon

Litter Box Odor

I have discovered ZeroOdor. It works, period. (08/13/2005)

By the Oracle

CAT BOX Odor is AMMONIA

Being a Biochemist, I have often wondered WHY in the world one is told to use Bicarbonate of Soda (Arm & Hammer Soda) in the cat litter.

I have used it myself and my cat litter box reeks of Ammonia.

Chemically speaking, Bicarbonate would KEEP the Ammonia as a gas ( :NH3 ) due to Acid/Base reaction. Ammonia is a BASE!

It would make more sense to use Citric Acid Crystals which one can buy in all grocery stores (used for canning and for keeping Fruit & Vegetables from turning brown).

Citric Acid (being a non-harmful, biodegradable solid acid) should protonate the Ammonia, forming Ammonium ION (Ammonium Citrate) which cannot be volatile ( NH4+ ). Thus the Ammonia should be trapped.

Most "goodies" in cat urine, etc. would be basic in nature and Citric Acid should neutralize them making them Ionic in nature and thus not volatile.

I am going to try this since I nearly upchuck every time I have to change the litter box.

By the way, I use "Yesterday's News" cat litter. It is made from recycled newspaper and seems to absorb nicely

DoctorBill (12/26/2007)

By DoctorBill

Litter Box Odor

Have any of you checked out the Innofresh Pet Odor Absorber? It uses activated carbon to eliminate the odor. I've found some of the other activated carbon products useful too.
http://www.innofresh.com/innofresh-products/pet-odor-absorber/

So far, it's worked pretty well and says it lasts up to 4 months. We shall see! (09/17/2008)

By bigA

Litter Box Odor

I recommend a product called Innofresh Pet Odor Absorber, it's an activated carbon odor absorber that just clips right onto your litter box. I've been using it for years, as I never found a litter that really works that great. I've got a couple of these clipped onto my litter box and it really helps a lot. I usually just buy it online at www.innofresh.com (10/21/2008)

By kengie

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