Cat litter

How to Clean Your Cat's Litter Box Correctly

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Clean Your Cat's Litter Box Correctly

If you share your life with a cat, you should be very clear on the importance of litter tray hygiene, not only for preventing odors at home, but because your cat wants and needs to have a clean litter tray so they use it. If you do not want to upset your cat's routine when using their litter tray, we recommend that you take care when cleaning it. This article explains how to clean your cat's litter box correctly.

You may also be interested in: Why Doesn't my Cat Use the Litter Box

Steps to follow:


It is recommended that you remove all traces of feces from the tray daily, as well as completely cleaning their litter tray once or twice a week. First, pick up the tray and tip it back. With daily use, there may be a small amount of litter stuck to the base, so you'll have to shake it so any lumps of litter lift it off. You can then use a shovel or a piece of paper to catch any big clusters of litter and then you can throw them away.

If your cat does not use their litter tray, it may be because it is dirty. Remember that cats are very clean animals. In any case, you should read our article on why is my cat not using their litter box where some of the most common reasons are given.


In addition to any feces, you'll also need to remove any remaining litter that is caked together with urine. As is normal with urine, the litter turns into a compact mass and can contaminate the rest of the litter when your cat urinates again. It is also recommended that you use a shovel to remove these lumps of litter so that they do not contaminate the rest of the tray.

This is a routine that any cat owner should follow every day to keep the litter tray as clean as possible. If you keep this up, your cat will use their tray without any problem and their health or hygiene won't be harmed.

How to Clean Your Cat's Litter Box Correctly - Step 2

In order to clean the litter tray completely, you need to empty the litter tray altogether. Tip the litter into a sealed bag. If any litter is still attached to the box, use paper or a shovel to scrape it all off. Once you have removed all traces of litter, soak the tray in warm water with mild detergent, and leave it for a good amount of time so it's thoroughly cleaned.

It is not recommended that you use soap or bleach that smells too strongly because it can affect the use of the litter tray. It is a good idea to use anti-ammonia cleaners or oxygen-based cleaners, which leave no trace of odor. Remember that cats are very sensitive to odors and might find it annoying.

How to Clean Your Cat's Litter Box Correctly - Step 3

After leaving the tray to soak for about 15 to 20 minutes, rinse the tray and leave it to dry well. No damp or traces of odor should remain, so it's a good idea to use paper towels to dry both the walls and the base. Once the litter tray is dry, you should fill the tray with enough clean litter for your cat to dig and cover their needs.

When you've filled the litter tray, you can even use a deodorant that is not harmful or annoying to your pet. There are many types of neutralizers on sale, so you'll have to try one that your cat will tolerate. If not, continue to clean their tray frequently without using additional scents.


As well as cleaning their litter tray, you must sweep up any debris that may have fallen on the floor in the area of your cat's litter box. The entire area should be spotless without any debris. Although it is normal for the litter to be changed once or twice a week, it depends on the material you use, so if you notice that the litter smells badly, change it as often as is necessary or choose another type of litter that binds together or is made of silica because these are the best for trapping odors. They are more expensive but they stay cleaner for longer. Plus with daily stool removal, you can do a deep clean once a week.

How to Clean Your Cat's Litter Box Correctly - Step 5

If you want to read similar articles to How to Clean Your Cat's Litter Box Correctly, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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1 comment
Do you have a spray product that treats the surface of the bottom of the litter box which will discourage build up of urine deposited by cats?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Debbie,

We can't think of such a spray. However, you can get special litter boxes which use a grate system to turn out clumps and fecal matter. Maybe this would help?
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How to Clean Your Cat's Litter Box Correctly