How To Clean A Litter Box (Properly)
It’s something that we don’t like talking about. How to clean a litter box is not considered a suitable topic of conversation, after all. It’s an important issue, though. Your cat sees their litter box as a safe place, somewhere that they can get their business done.
Sure, they’re not settling in to read a book, but they still want their bathroom to be clean and hygienic. A dirty litter box is very off-putting for your cat. They might decide that your bed or couch is a much nicer place for them.
Step one for keeping your cat from peeing outside of their litter box is to keep it clean. In this post, therefore, we’re going to go through some clever litter box cleaning hacks.
If you’re like many cat owners, you may just opt to have the litter box clean itself! If so, check out the best self-cleaning litter boxes available today; this well-researched review lays out everything you’d need to know.
How to Clean It Step by Step
Are you ready to sanitize your kitty’s litter? The first step in learning how to clean a litter box is getting the position right in your house or apartment. From there, it’s just a matter of preventing the litter from sticking to the box where possible.
Set things up in a quiet corner of the house, where your cat feels secure. To prevent the litter sticking, you’ll need to regularly scoop it and make sure that you clean the tray correctly.
Step 1: Get the Right Equipment
Would you scrub your toilet without wearing gloves? Then why would you do that with the litter box? Get yourself a set of gloves to use while cleaning and get a mask while you’re at it. The gloves will help to protect you from the bacteria that might be present.
The mask is not essential, but it’s useful. It prevents you from breathing in dust and ammonia.
You’ll also need a scoop to help you with daily maintenance. A scoop with large holes in it is most useful as it catches the larger particles and lets the litter drop through.
You’re going to need a scrubbing brush and detergent, vinegar, or baking soda as well.
To sum up the necessary equipment:
Step 2: Top Up the Litter
Depending on the type of litter being used, you’ll need to do this on a regular basis. If you use a clumping litter, you’ll want to remove the clumps on a daily basis. In a one cat household, you’ll probably need to top up the litter every second or third day.
Your cat will need enough sand to be able to dig in and bury their waste, so make sure that the levels are correct here.
How often should you change litter? That’s going to depend on what type you’re using.
If you’re using antibacterial litter crystals, you’ll need to gauge when they need changing. You should be scooping out the solids daily. If you see that the crystals are starting to look saturated, you should change them.
If you’re using a clay-based litter, you’ll need to swap out the particles once a week.
Step 3: Empty the Box and Sanitize It
Empty the box into a garbage bag or plastic shopping bag. Remove the lid of the box, if applicable, and lift the box. Push it as far into the bag as possible. This will help to reduce the number of dust particles that are kicked up by the process.
Make sure that you remove all the dirt. There may be particles that are stuck to the bottom because of the urine. Use the scoop to help dislodge the particles. Once everything has been cleared out, pour boiling water into the base of the container.
Swirl it carefully so that it covers the base, and empty it again. Now put a few drops of detergent in and some warm water and scrub out the sides. If you don’t want to use detergent, put in a capful or two of vinegar and use that instead.
Cleaning a litter box with vinegar also does an excellent job of killing bacteria.
Let the box drip dry if you have the time. Otherwise, dry it using a paper towel or cloth that you keep for that purpose. Just remember the golden rule – anything that you’ve used to clean up here should not be used for anything else.
Step 4: Put in a Deodorizing Agent
There are a couple of options here. The cheapest is to put some baking soda in your litter box. Alternatively, you can add a couple of charcoal briquettes, or even green tea if you have nothing else. (Open an unused tea bag or two and add it.)
Whatever you’re using, scatter a good few tablespoons in. Some people use filters or even scented tray liners. A tray liner can make it easier to dispose of the sand later. We don’t recommend using any scented products, though. Your cat may not like them.
For deodorizing your cat litter box, you can choose between filters, charcoal briquettes, or baking soda. If you are going the baking soda route, all you have to do is gently put a little bit in before you pour the litter in.
Step 5: Add the Litter
Now you can put in the sand or silicone. How deep should cat litter be? It should be around two inches deep to keep kitty happy. If Mittens is on the smellier side, you can add more as needed. Spread it out evenly and replace the box.
Tips on How to Maintain A Clean Litter Box
Placing a mat under the box will make your life a lot easier. You can use a specially-made litter mat or just a plain old rug. Either way, the mat will make it easy to pick up particles that your cat has flung out. Shake this out every few days to get rid of the bits.
Daily maintenance is simple enough. All you need to do is to scoop out any solid waste and discard it. This helps keep the litter more sanitary and reduces odors that might be present. Don’t skip this step as the fecal matter is likely to smell and can harbor bacteria.
You can sprinkle some baking soda over the top every couple of days. This will help to absorb odors. Just keep in mind that it isn’t a substitute for scooping or a proper cleaning.
Silicone crystals are also a handy deodorizing agent. You can use them in conjunction with sand, at a ratio of about one part crystals to two parts sand. Alternatively, use them as the primary medium. They are very good at absorbing smells.
Finally, a good rule of thumb is to have one box per cat in the household. This may seem like more work, but it will help you to keep a harmonious and hygienic home.