What Best Neutralizes Cat Litter?

Clean soiled litter regularly to help with the smell.
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Playing with and cuddling your furry companion can be one of the best parts of your day. However, if your cat stays indoors, the litter box may become unpleasant. Don’t be discouraged: you can neutralize the odor of the cat box and surrounding areas.

Keep it Clean

Frequently scooping and discarding soiled cat litter is the best way to keep your litter box from getting really smelly. Replacing the entire box’s contents at least once a month and washing it out thoroughly will also help. Your cat will appreciate this too: think of how much worse bad smells are to her sensitive nose!

Replace the Entire Box

At least once a year you should replace the entire litter box. Since cat urine is so strong and has such a high ammonia content, it can actually eat away at plastic and break it down. Once this starts happening, odor-causing bacteria will start to collect in the porous surface. You can tell it's time to replace the box when it becomes rough and eroded in places.


Vinegar can help neutralize odors that have seeped into your litter box. Completely empty the contents of your litter box into a bag and throw it away. Wipe any excess litter from the box, rinse with plain water and wipe down with paper towels. Mix one part white vinegar and two parts hot water in a bucket. With a washcloth, wipe the box thoroughly and allow it to dry. Now you can place fresh litter in the newly cleaned and fresh-smelling litter box.

Baking Soda

If you litter box is still smelly after thorough cleaning and application of the vinegar solution, you may need to go a step further. Try sprinkling some baking soda into the box to absorb any lingering odors. Baking soda will also work well if the odors are coming from the carpet as well.


Absorbents get rid of cat litter odor by neutralizing or bonding to odor-causing molecules. Products with zeolite crystals work well as they attract and absorb airborne odors into their porous surface. You can even find hooded litter boxes that have zeolite crystal packets inside them to help neutralize smells.

Enzyme and Bacterial Cleaners

If cat litter has spilled out around the box onto your carpet, you may have to neutralize the smell from the carpet fibers as well. Cleaning products with enzymes and live bacteria work nicely as they eat away at odor-causing bacteria. The best part is that the enzymes don’t stop working until no odors are left. Since pet odors are a common problem, you'll find the best cleaners for this purpose at pet stores. You'll also find products designed specifically to neutralize litter box odors.

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