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How Often Should You Clean A Cat Litter Box?

Updated on March 23, 2016
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Enda loves animals and especially cats. Here he offers some great advice on litters, cat boxes and how to and care for their welfare..

How To Make Cat Litter Not Smell?

All cat litter will smell a little so a better question might be how to make a litter box smell better. That can be defined by how often you clean your litter box, which type of litter box you own, and also the type of litter that you are actually using. Let's start by looking at the two types of litter box that exist.

Open Style of Litter Box

This is one such as a tray or a box that is not covered in. The litter is spread into the tray and then left there without any type of covering. Although that may be unsightly for some people, it is usuall put in a location that is out of sight such as a basement, or a utility room. Because it is not covered there is a better chance of good air circulation. That means that as log as it regularly cleaned there is less chance of smells or odors being held in one area.

Closed Litter Box

These are boxes that have some sort of lid on top and there are also sides to it as well. Normally they are only open at the front where your cat can get in and out. Although these are better in terms of covering up the litter and any poop, they also do not have great air movement. So if there is a smell or strong odor, then it is a lot stronger inside that type of box. That in turn means it will need to be cleaned more regularly. Cats are very reluctant to do their business if the box is smelly.

So if you want to know how to get rid of a litter box smell, then one of the best solutions is regular daily cleaning. The more often you are able to do that then the more odor control you will have. Once a day is ideal but it should never be any longer than 2 days. That is how often you should clean your litter box to make sure that odors can not build up.

Changing A Litter


Cute Cats


How Often Should You Clean A Litter Box?

Opinion is slightly divided on this and to be fair it does depend on a number of issues. I have mentioned already the general guidelines that I would stick to. However if you have a kitten or a younger cat, then you can clean the litter perhaps every 2-3 days.

Just remember that when you are actually cleaning the litter box, it is not necessary to throw out all of the litter. All you really need to do is to remove any poop, or any clumps that have formed because of the wetness from the cat's urine.

The rest of the cat litter has not been touched and can still be used. I tend to replace all of the litter about once a month, and when I am doing that, then I fully wash out and clean the litter box.

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Interesting Cat Facts

  • When cats leave their poop uncovered, it is a sign of aggression to let you know they have no fear of you. In effect they are trying to show you who is the boss?
  • Cats sleep for around 70% of their lives
  • There are 88 million pet cats in the USA
  • Cats actually do not like milk at all

Best Litter Box For Odor Control in 2016

I think it is particularly important to pick a good litter box, but that is especially true if you live in a small apartment. Another important decision in this choice is of course your own lifestyle. Cats are much like us in that we need water, we need to be fed and yes we will need to go to the loo.

I have to say that I am not fond of open litter boxes as I just don't like the look of them, and they can also create quite a bit of a mess. That is why I would always opt for a closed box. That does mean having to clean it a little more often due to the air flow restrictions but I do think that is worth the effort.

I have done a whole detailed review article on the best litter boxes for odor control which you can read by clicking here.

How To Clean A Cat Litter Box?

Personally I always wear a pair of gloves which I keep specifically for this job. Let's be honest, cleaning any type of poop or urine is never going to be the most pleasant of jobs. Many people also wear a face mask to stop the dust created by cat litter from getting into their lungs.

I would never have done that in the past, but to be honest, it just takes a few seconds to pop one of these on and it will give you that protection.

You will need some or all of the following:

  • A litter sifter or pooper scooper
  • Use a hose outside when doing a full clean
  • Baking soda and water makes a great cleaning paste
  • Disinfectant
  • New litter
  • Litter box liners - these are great

A liner means that when it comes to a full clean, which I do monthly, you can place a liner in the tray. Then when you are going to empty if before cleaning it, you just fold up the liner and dispose of everything without creating a mess.

Then you can clean and disinfect the box, allow it to dry, and then replace the litter. The litter sifter I use to remove any poop once a day.

Video On Cleaning A Cat Litter

Anyone Seen My Litter Box?


Other Options For Cleaning A Cat Litter

The methods I have described so far are the old-fashioned ways but that said, they do work. In these modern times they have of course designed self-cleaning boxes. They have also designed what are termed a "roll and clean cat litter box, or a "quick clean litter box."

I have show one such product below and they do get good enough reviews. So if you are pushed for time or the thoughts of having to clean you cat's litter is somewhat off putting then you should consider one of these as an alternative.

Omega Paw Self Cleaning Litter Box

Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box, Pewter
Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box, Pewter

Without any doubt this one seems to be the most popular choice judging by the number of sales this product gets.


Which Is The Best Odor Control Cat Litter?

Once again opinion is divided on which of the many litters available is the best for reducing or controlling the smell of cat odors. Many people go with Dr Elseys precious cat litter. It is by far the best selling one that I could find and it is the one that most people will use.

It is hypo-allergenic, a natural product, almost completely dust free and I think does a really good job at absorbing odors. That pretty much ticks all of the boxes for me.

A 40 pound bad costs just under $5, so also very good value for money.

Litter Maintenance Routine

Like many things in life, cleaning out a litter is all about developing a routine. If you can remember to grab your scooper and remove the poops every day, that alone will go a long way to reducing odors.

Then if you can have a simple maintenance routine of doing a full clean once a month, that process takes about 15 minutes and you are then done for another month.

Just these two simple activities are more than enough to make sure that your cat will use their litter and also keep the smell strictly under control. There really is no need to buy fancy self cleaning boxes, when a simple routine like this can be done really quickly.

Pleas Feel Free To Leave Your Thoughts and Suggestions Here

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