5 Tips on how to keep a litter box from smelling up the house

Every cat owner knows the nose-wrinkling moment brought on by a bad smelling litter box. Let’s see what we can do about that!

Unlike dogs that are free to relieve themselves outside whenever, cats have a different way of doing things. In this blog, we’ll give you some tips on how to keep a litter box from smelling up the house.

A litter box is important to cats for one simple reason: instinct. Before cats became domesticated (which really is a fascinating topic, you should check it out) they were super smart about being safe in the wild.

An important part of remaining safe from predators (both on the land and in the sky) was to cover their waste with surrounding dirt. This was done to mask their scent, making it more difficult for prey to seek them out. Even as cats became comfortable living with humans, this instinctual behaviour still kicks in when nature calls.

You’ll notice that your kitten will immediately know what to do once they are set in a litter box or even on a sandy surface. Because we have cats in our homes, we need to do our best to make sure they are happy, healthy, and hygienic.

To make the whole litter box experience better for you and your cat, read on for our 5 top tips on how to keep a litter box fresh!

How to keep a litter box from smelling up the house

Practice good hygiene

The goal here is to never get to a point where the odour is noticeable. The most effective way to do this is to keep the litter box clean, consistently. When you notice your cat has used the litter box, scoop the waste out to throw it away.

You can do this without throwing away the whole box, just make sure you replace the litter you’ve taken out. If you don’t, your cat won’t have enough litter to cover their waste. You should do this at least once a day, depending on how many cats are using the same litter box and how frequently your cat uses it. You need to completely change the litter every one to two weeks – again, depending on how often the box is used.

After you throw out the older litter, take time to clean the box itself before putting new litter in. Make sure the soap you use is gentle and free of strong fragrances. Don’t forget to let the box dry completely before putting fresh litter in. If you think a litter box smells bad when it’s dry, you can imagine catching a whiff of a damp one.

While we’re on the topic of hygiene: How to Give a Cat a Bath the Purrfect Way

Ventilation is important

A great rule of thumb for litter boxes? Location, location, location. You obviously don’t want your cat’s litter box in the entrance of your home or in the room where you entertain guests. So where should you place the litter box to protect your home against odours?

You want to choose a space that is private, spacious and comfortable for your feline. When we say private, we don’t mean the dingy nook of an unused cupboard – this is a recipe for stinking out the whole house. The smell will cling to the walls and floor and your cat will be more likely to avoid using the litter box.

Ventilation and access are key. Your cat will need to use the litter box multiple times a day and you can’t predict when that will be, so they need to be able to get in and out independently.

Read: How to Train Your Kitten to Use the Litter Box: 3 Steps


Even if you thoroughly clean your litter box and set it in an airy, open space, it’s still possible that some unpleasant odours will sneak out. You can deodorise the litter box if you want to, but stay away from deodorisers with fragrances and harsh chemicals.

Remember that your cat’s nose is incredibly sensitive and they will be deterred by harsh smells.

DIY fresheners

If you look in your pantry, you probably already have some staple products in there that can be used to fix bad smells in your cat’s litter box.

Vinegar is a great cleaning product for around the house and you can make it a part of your litter box cleaning routine! When you clean the box, spray the surfaces with two parts water and one part vinegar in a spray bottle.

You could also bring out the baking soda, known for its smell-absorbing super powers. Simply sprinkle a layer on the bottom of the litter box (underneath the litter) and replace with fresh baking soda every time you give the box a wash.

Consult your vet

If you’ve tried all the tricks of the trade and you’re still concerned about the smell of your cat’s litter box, you should consult your vet. They may suggest you change your cat’s diet or ask you to come in to run some tests.

Not sure where to get the best pet products? Try the Onepet Store!

You may have already heard us recommending Oneplan Pet Insurance as our top choice for your pet’s health cover. One of the main reasons we love Oneplan is that, as a Oneplan Pet Parent, you get exclusive access and up to 25% discount in the Onepet Store! You can shop online for premium pet products that are delivered to your door and are selected by the vets and nurses on our team.

These products include premium pet food such as Eukanuba, Royal Canin, and Hill’s, tick & flea, dewormer, chronic medication, grooming products, accessories, and more. That includes anything you need for your cat’s litter box!

So, there you go – now you know how to keep a litter box from smelling up the house and you can happily go about your day without the fear of walking into a stinky situation when you get home!

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