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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 page is about preventing litter box odors.


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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!

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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 (Guest Post)
August 3, 20070 found this helpful
Top Comment

Dear Terri,
I have worked for a Veterinarian for MANY years and our Doctors DO NOT recommend using pine near your cats at all. The reason for this is because it can cause upper respitory infections. We can recommend a product by thr name of Care Fresh, it is made from recycled paper. I have 3 cats and I use a clumping litter and I sprinkle in some Kitty baking soda.
Good luck

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August 3, 20070 found this helpful
Top Comment

The trick with getting cats used to Feline Pine is that you start out by mixing it in with the litter presently being used and then eventually switch it to 100% Feline Pine. My cats have never had a problem w/ it and we like it a lot, too.

The only pine I heard you shouldn't use around cats (or probably any animal for that matter) is PineSol.

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November 3, 20120 found this helpful
Top Comment

I love Feline Pine (regular, non-clumping) litter! I switched to that about 7-8 years ago and never looked back. If your cats will use it, it definitely does cut down the odors and it is easier to clean the litter box afterward. I change the box once a week, and wash it with a non-toxic cleaner like Simple Green, then refill.


The cats do kick the pellets out sometimes, but I use two scoops together (like tongs) and pick them up & throw them back in the box. As it breaks down into sawdust, they track a little around, but I take a minute to sweep it everyday with a dustpan and broom. The pan is in the bathroom, so the mess is pretty limited.

Feline Pine is much better than clay, because clay is heavier when it's wet - it gets wet and stays wet, whereas Feline Pine tends to dry out through evaporation. When it's time to change the litter, the bag of used litter is lighter - believe me, as I get older, I have problems carrying heavy items, so this is much easier for me to dump into doubled plastic grocery bags & take to the trash can.

Another plus, is that you don't have clay dust drifting all over everything - it goes everywhere - really everywhere - as I had to clean it from things in other rooms. I don't think there's enough pine oil in it to be harmful, and this litter doesn't stick in the cats paws like clay, so I think it's pretty safe, but I do monitor the pros and cons.


What I don't recommend is the new litter that's made of ground pine, cedar and corn. Ugh! I had 2 bags on free trial from a survey website I belong to, and it was horrible! It stunk to high heaven - the odor was too strong and seemed chemical-ly. I kept it in my front hall and it stunk out the hall for 2 weeks. I had the smell of it in my nose, and even the taste of it in my mouth, even when I left the house for a few hours.

Ugh! It was also a clumping litter. Well, it clumps into large sticky masses, that stick to the pan and are hard to remove. I was leery of putting it down the toilet. I hated it - but I dutifully tried the first bag for a week, then the second bag for a week.

My cats didn't like it much either, although they did use it. I couldn't wait for the trial to be over; I gave the litter very poor marks for everything - yet, here it is, on the market! So they obviously didn't pay any attention to the bad reviews. I threw all the left over unused litter in a corner of the backyard to break down into the soil - I couldn't wait to get it out of the house! I definitely wouldn't recommend that one to anybody - even if it's for free!

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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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December 7, 2009

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

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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.

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 Yool from Newark, CA


December 28, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

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 :)

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January 1, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

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!

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Answer this Question...

September 11, 2011

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.


September 12, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

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!

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Answer this Question...

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


June 29, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

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 30, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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Answer this Question...

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 Delcamp from Brighton, MI


July 27, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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August 2, 2016

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


February 28, 20172 found this helpful
Best Answer

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...

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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 Tanya


April 18, 20131 found this helpful
Best Answer

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:

Step 1
Scoop the litter daily.

Step 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.

Step 3
Mop the floor around the boxes frequently.

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

Step 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.

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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 this Question...

June 30, 2017

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

A domestic cat eating cat food.

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June 14, 2017

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

Cat in Litterbox

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

July 26, 2010

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 Jan

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 Louise B.

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 Angie

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 Kathy Klahn

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 Annie Rios Hill

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 LoriK

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December 7, 2009

To make our kitties kitty litter last longer and to keep that clean, fresh smell around longer, I mix baby powder in with the litter.

By Marnita from Cumming, GA


Keep Kitty Litter Smelling Fresh

Baking soda also works, and doesn't have any scent that a cat might be sensitive to. (07/10/2006)

By Lori Tomlinson

Keep Kitty Litter Smelling Fresh

I use Arm and Hammer litter freshener. It is by far the best thing I have ever tried and my very fussy cats actually like the fresh clean scent it has. I had a male cat at one time with very strong smelling urine and it worked even on that! Just use according to the directions. I sprinkle a little every day when I scoop. Almost like not having a litter box in the house any more! Of course the kind of cat litter you use makes a BIG difference as well. (07/10/2006)

By Michelle

Keep Kitty Litter Smelling Fresh

You might want to consider switching to the baking soda, the baby powder is made up of very fine particles and is not good for your cats to inhale, although I bet it does smell nice. (07/11/2006)

By Pammy

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October 23, 2008

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

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