Add to GuideAsk a Question
To Top

Preventing Litter Box Odors

Category Pet Odors
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.


Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

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

Comment Was this helpful? 3
June 9, 20170 found this helpful

You must live in the states as we don't have plugs in our bathrooms, and I'm not keen on the chemical smells of a plug-in. I clean out the box every few days but it does get a little stinky. I think the problem is the size of my teeny apartment. It really is VERY small. I have to meet visitors in my local pub as there's no room here.

I've been topping up my litter freshener and it does work really well. Before I even walk into the bathroom I can smell the strawberry essence. I'm glad you found a good solution for you.

Best wishes, Monique :)

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Comments

June 14, 20170 found this helpful

Cat in Litterbox

CommentPin It! Was this helpful? Yes

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.


By 6 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

Comment Was this helpful? 6
December 9, 20091 found this helpful

Do NOT use baby powder that has talc in it! And this goes for people, too:

http://www.prev  smetics/talc.htm

I sprinkle baking soda in the litter boxes.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
Read More Comments

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
December 10, 20141 found this helpful

This is exactly what I do! Baking soda works so well & I buy the cheapest I can find.

Reply Was this helpful? 1

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.

Comment Was this helpful? 1


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
January 1, 20111 found this helpful

Baking soda is great but also, I use Special Kitty that comes in the green box from Walmart. I've tried all the others and really nothing compares for the price. Also, try to keep enough kitty litter in the kitty box, at least 1/2 full.

I should mention I have two cats and never have an odor problem. :) Good luck!

Reply Was this helpful? 1
January 2, 20110 found this helpful

Thanks to all of you for the suggestions. They are very helpful.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 12, 20111 found this helpful

I would be careful about using perfumes, candles, or scented litters for a cat or cats. And be careful that the litter is not too powdery as the cat can breathe in the dust it causes when it uses the box & also some litter stick to the cats fur just from using box. I try not to use a litter that states too strongly language about controlling odors, etc because of this. Cats can have allergies too & I certainly wouldn't want to be breathing litter dust 2-3 times day. Anyway, that is my humble opinion.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
Read More Answers

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?

Answer Was this helpful? 1
February 28, 20171 found this helpful

YOu can make your own with baking soda and essential oils: "To add a touch of scent to the baking soda, place a cup of it in a resealable plastic bag and add 10 drops of essential oil to it. Let the baking soda sit overnight to absorb the essential oil scent before use. Pour it into a grated cheese shaker to sprinkle over the litter, improving its odor."

Reply Was this helpful? 1
February 28, 20172 found this helpful

Baking soda works but if your cat doesn't like the new scent you are using it will not use the box. Something to think about...

Reply Was this helpful? 2

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 13, 20110 found this helpful

I've tried many things over the years. I've tried the automatic boxes and I even tried one that was over $300.00. They didn't work because the feces when disturbed would cling to the rake the boxes use. What a mess! And of course the odors were terrible. I tried using a large storage bin with the sides cut high, but our large, older cat said it was too hard to get in and out. I tried the rug in front of the box trick but, I still had a mess to vacuum up. Finally I am in a happy place. I am lucky enough that I have a seldom used attached garage. I store things in it mostly. I installed a kitty door so the kitty's can come and go.

Now the litter box is no longer in my home. I set the box in a swimming pool and the litter that they kick out or sticks to their feet stays in the pool. I also use a hard clumping litter. It's best if it can't seep to the bottom of the box. I scoop 2x daily, more if I am able, and find a gift for me in their box.

I have discovered that if the feces or litter sit in the box, then the entire box is absorbing those odors, the odor is still there even when the clumps are removed. I take great care in scooping to not breakup the clumps. The little pieces that fall through the scooper screen add up and smell. I dump and deodorize, sanitize once a week. The stick on carbon filters work well.

I tried baking soda but never really saw an improvement things still would smell. I hope this helps, I understand not everyone has a room they can put the box in and install a kitty door, but it's and idea for those that can. The swim pool also helps a lot for those with the room.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
June 30, 20110 found this helpful

You can also add diatomaceous earth, to help with clumping. It's already in most litters.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

September 11, 20110 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.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
September 12, 20110 found this helpful

Hi Linda,

I also had only one cat and the smell from his box, even though it was covered, was horrendous, even though I scooped every day too. I tried the Multiple Cat ones. Didn't work any better than the single cat ones. I even tried mixing 2 and 3 different types and brands together. That didn't work either.

I switched to the Double Duty one and was amazed at how well it worked!

If you're still having a problem even with that one, try changing his food brand. Over the years I have found that Purina cat food makes their urine and poop really smell powerful! So I never feed that to my cats. Dogs, yes, cats no. My cat was extremely finicky so it took me a while to find one he liked but kept trying till I found one. Then I would stay with the same brand but switch out flavors every other bag.

Taking him off Purina cat food made all the difference. I'm not saying Purina isn't a good food, on the other hand it is a good brand, just that there is something in it that makes their waste smell really really bad.

Hope this helps with yours!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
September 12, 20110 found this helpful

I am not sure if you're talking about regular kitty litter or the clumping scoopable type. If you're using the scoopable and having this odor then it is probably the brand of cat food your fur baby eats or the litter needs to be scooped every day for sure and maybe even twice a day.

I used to use the regular Tidy Cats for multiple cats but switched to their scoopable brand a couple of years ago and no more odor problem. I switched not only because of the odor but also because it's much more cost effective overall because you're only scooping out the pee pee clumps and poopy and don't have to throw away an entire litter box full of pee pee soaked litter. You also don't have to wash out the litter box itself as often either because the pee pee hasn't had a chance to soak into the plastic ;-)

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
September 12, 20110 found this helpful

Switch to non grocery store food. Pet supply, farm supply has better foods. Nothing with corn wheat or soy. Grocery store Purina foods now even contain euthanized animals from the pounds and shelters. That poison does not cook off. Nor does the metals from their tags. Evo is good food for cats (dogs too). Cat litter? I am fond of the big green jug of litter purrfect from Costco.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
April 18, 20130 found this helpful

The first thing she needs to do is get at least 2 more litter boxes - 3 or 4 would be even better.

Not knowing what kind of litter or litter boxes she has, these suggestions may or may not apply:

1. Scoop the litter daily.

2. Wipe the edges of the litter box with a Clorox wipe or something similar every time you scoop. If it's a hooded box, wipe the edges of the lid also.

3. Mop the floor around the boxes frequently.

4. Put a bathmat or similar washable rug in front of the boxes to catch stray litter and wash it once a week.

5. Once a month or so, empty the boxes completely. Scrub, rinse and dry them well and refill. If you don't use scoopable litter, you need to do this one a week.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

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


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)


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 They ship incredibly fast and service is great. If you have cats, you've got to try this.(11/30/2008)

By Lorikee

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

October 23, 20080 found this helpful

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


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 (06/15/2005)

By Sharon

Litter Box Odor

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

By the Oracle


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.

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 (10/21/2008)

By kengie

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
Related Content
Pets Pet OdorsDecember 19, 2013
Litter Box Training a Cat, Tabby in litter box.
Litter Box Training a Cat
Cat in Litterbox
Best Cat Litter for Controlling Odor
Homemade Cat Litter Box
Homemade Cat Litter Box Ideas
Cat in Litter Box
Cat Not Using the Litter Box
Summer Ideas!
Fourth of July Ideas!
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Desktop Page | View Mobile

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

© 1997-2017 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Published by .

Generated 2017/06/24 14:46:43 in 5 secs.
Loading Something Awesome!