5 Ways To Control Litter Box Smell (You probably ignore these hacks)

By Davis Wilkins •  Updated: 11/23/22 •  10 min read
Person scooping cat litter box with a litter scoop

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Are you struggling with how to get rid of litter box smells?

No matter how much you scoop, your cat’s litter box still stinks to the high heavens.

Everyone loves to have a cat or two as a pet, but there is one major disadvantage; they use the kitty box to relieve themselves.

This can lead to an extremely unpleasant smell, due to cat litter box odors. This affects both your cat and the household residents.

Did you know, “The cat nose is at least 100 times more sensitive than the human nose?” Dr. Nicholas Dodman

If you can smell a slight odor, just know that your cat can smell this 100 times more.

Pro tip:

The cat litter box odor can be a source of embarrassment. Picture this, when your friends come over, the first thing they will notice is the smell that hits their nostrils at the door.

If you are struggling with a smelly litter box, the last thing you want to do is try to control the smell of poop, while you have guests over.

When it comes to eliminating litter-box odor, there is nothing worse than stinky cat poo.

While there are ways to keep your kitty’s box fresh, it can be difficult to implement litter odor control in a multi-cat household.

How on earth could anyone manage to eliminate all litter box odor? Believe it or not, it is possible, if you know how! The information I reveal here will help you get there quickly.

As cat lovers, we all want the best for our felines. Fortunately, maintaining a fresh litter box is a matter of skill, and I’m here to equip you with everything you need to succeed.

Worry no more! I’ll show you practical, easy-to-implement ways how to get rid of litter box odor.

How to eliminate litter box odor

1.     Twice Daily Scooping of the Litter Box:

The best way to eliminate litter box odors is by twice daily scooping the cat box.

In the case where you have multiple cats, you can do this even three times daily.

Having multiple litter boxes will ease the burden of frequent scooping and a twice-daily schedule will be adequate.

Remove the clumps and discard them. Add fresh litter to fill up the box to the initial level.

The litter box smell occurs when poop and urine begin to sit out for a longer period and the odor invades the rest of the house.

In case you are using non-clumping litter, scoop out the soaked litter and the poop.

Replace it with a fresh supply.

stinking litter box with cat standing on the side

2.     Wash the cat litter box thoroughly:

Once every two weeks, empty the entire cat litter from the box and wash the box thoroughly.

Ensure you have a spare litter box filled with fresh litter for your cat to use, while the other box is drying.

Pro tip:

Avoid using ammonia-based cleaners and harsh chemicals to clean the litter box.

3.     Increase the number of litter boxes available:

Here’s a hack you can use to ensure that the house stays smelling fresh and clean.

Adding an extra litter box to the existing number of cats will ensure that they have the freedom of choice.

This will go a long way in ensuring that they do not crowd in a specific box causing waste accumulation and odor.

Always remember that there should be a litter box for each cat plus one extra.

Pro tip:

4.     Invest in a new litter box once a year:

Cats scratch their litter boxes as they try to bury their poop. With time, this creates grooves and lines of weakness which urine seeps into.

This makes it difficult to clean out and get rid of the cat’s urine smell.

For this reason, treat your cat to a new kitty box once every year and donate the old one to a shelter group.

Keep doing this every year to make sure that you have an odor-free litter box.

5.     Switch to Clumping Cat Litter:

Clumping litter makes it easier to scoop out the solid and liquid waste, keeping the box smelling fresh.

Replace the litter with clumping litter.

Litter changes should be gradual, if at all necessary.

Add a small amount of the new litter into the box and mix it up with the existing litter.

Over 5 days, continue to increase the amount of new litter as you decrease the amount of the old litter.

Cats are however choosy about the type of litter that they like and you may have to experiment with a few types of clumping litter before you settle on one that your cat finds acceptable.

Allow me to jump the gun and show you a 49 seconds video on how to use baking soda:

6.     Use an enzymatic cleaner to wash any litter box accidents:

How to get rid of cat odor in the house:

Litter box accidents are bound to happen one way or the other and when they do, an enzymatic cleaner is your best friend. Keep this in mind.

This eliminates all the smell from the surface and ensures that your cat will not visit the same spot next time.

An enzymatic cleaner will metabolize the organic compounds in your cat’s pee and digest the bacteria that cause bad smells.

It will break down the odor and any stains eliminating them.

They are safe to use around kids and cats as they are non-toxic and biodegradable.

7.     Use charcoal filters:

This helps remove stubborn odors and is biodegradable. It is a natural option, non-toxic and affordable.

If the litter box smells like ammonia, they are a quick fix on how to get the cat litter smell out of the house.

Some covered litter boxes also come with a built-in activated charcoal filter system.

This filters the air on the outside, keeping the house fresh, whereas odors are trapped under the hood.

I recommend that you change that carbon filter once every 3-4 months, and buy a new one.

This however depends on the usage of the box.

8.     Use the baking soda hack:

How to neutralize the ammonia in cat litter:

Ever heard of the baking soda hack? Add some little baking soda at the base of the kitty litter box just before you top up with fresh litter.

Baking soda is nontoxic and once mixed with the litter, it absorbs the urine smell.

Baking soda however doesn’t irritate your cat’s nostrils, unlike sprays and perfumes.

This will go a long way in absorbing smells and keeping the litter box smell at bay.

Baking soda should be used sparingly and not as a substitute for litter box hygiene.

Ooh, I hope you’ve watched the video on its application.

9.     Location of the litter box should be in a well-ventilated area:

Make sure you keep the litter pan in a well-ventilated area. This will ensure that the free flow of air keeps the cat’s litter box smelling fresh.

Do not fall victim to the idea that it needs to be kept in a dark tiny space in the basement.

10. Monitor the cat foods:

Cat food

Some foods once consumed by your cat get poorly digested causing smelly poop. Make sure you choose high-quality foods and if in doubt, consult your vet.

Foods that are of high quality and high in water content such as raw meats are ideal for cats.

Water intake dilutes the urine concentration reducing the odor when she gets to eliminate it.

11. Try a litter deodorizer:

I’ve included this as a last resort deliberately.

Deodorizers should be used with caution because cats tend to avoid heavily scented litter boxes.

They come in powder, granule, or liquid form and are sprinkled or sprayed on the cat litter.

They are a litter box odor remover, without overwhelming the cat’s nostrils and keeping her away from the box.

A little deodorizer can be sprinkled sparingly onto the litter every time you scoop the box.

If you add a deodorizer and your cat finds the litter box unwelcoming, cease using it and clean out the box and replace it with fresh litter.

Avoid the heavily scented ones marketed to appeal to you but they end up repelling your cat.

Remember that your cat’s smell is heightened and any off-putting smell will keep her away from using the litter box…..and that is not your intention.

Once your cat eliminates from the box, that scent is what draws her back to use the cat box again.

Cover this up using a deodorizer and you may trigger her to have a litter box aversion.

Odor masking sprays:

Do not use odor masking sprays as a cat litter odor eliminator, no matter how good they smell.

Cats have heightened smell senses and can still smell the litter box odor and may end up avoiding the kitty box.

What is the best cat litter for odor control?

The best cat litter for controlling odor is preferably clumping pellets or silica gel litters.

Clumping cat litter forms a scoopable solid mass with moisture contact with excellent odor management. It absorbs the urine to form clumps which are easily scooped out leaving the fresh litter intact.

Silica gel litter is made of biodegradable silica gel, is lightweight, small, and in round beads. Each bead is laden with micropores that capture and absorbs moisture thus trapping the smell.

The odor is instantly locked inside the beads and all the fluid is taken up, leaving the outer layer of the pearls dry to the paw touch.


I know that cleaning the litter box is a necessary evil.

It’s important to get rid of litter box odor and not just mask it. There are quite a few things you can do for cat odor control as outlined in this article.

Keep it clean, and keep it dry! Keeping your cat’s kitty litter clean and odor-free can be difficult, but by following these tips you can drastically reduce the amount of odor your litter box emits.

You have to do it for your pet’s health. Implement the tips above and discover which one is a complete litter box odor eliminator.

Davis Wilkins

Davis Wilkins is a dedicated cat lover, with three cats under his care. He grew up in a cat-loving family, nurturing these feline friends. As a result, he purposed to share his cat knowledge with the universe. Wilkins has been writing professionally for over four years, specializing in feline care with a keen interest in litter box care and handling. He hopes to help other feline lovers achieve their pet care goals.

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