How to Clean a Cat Litter Box


People with cats are often in need of housecleaning tips when it comes to the litter box.

Some cats are neater than others when using the privy. The neat ones saunter in, do their business, cover up and move on.

The not-so-neat ones toss litter around until half of what was in the box is on the floor in front of the box.

Older cats can be especially messy, as they often lose sight of the fact that while the head and paws are inside the box, the “business” end may not be.

Replacing the Litter:

Shake the litter box from side to side. As you shake you should see clumps of littler emerge and settle on top on the litter box.

Gently scoop up the clumps from the tops and sides of the box.

Try not to break the clumps of litter up as this will distribute little balls of urine soaked litter in the “clean” litter and you won’t be able to scoop them out.

Continue shaking the box from side to side to bring remaining clumps of litter to the top. If you are using a liner in the cat box, you can pull on it to help dislodge stuck-on clumps.

Put the used clumps of litter in a plastic bag and take to the garbage can.

Refill the litter box with enough litter to equal 2 inches tall.

You should scoop the litter box daily.

In general, you should completely replace the cat litter twice a week. Your changing frequency will vary based on the number of cats and the type of litter you use.

Sweeping or Vacuuming:

To keep the area around the litter box clean, use a separate broom and dust pan to sweep wayward litter. (The broom you use to sweep cat litter and errant feces is NOT the broom you want to use in the kitchen, dining room or bedroom.)

You can also use a hand held vacuum, but make sure there’s no urine in the area. And, just as you wouldn’t vacuum up a nail, screw or other heavy object, do not vacuum up cat poop.

Washing the Floor:

Wash the floor under and the walls around the box at least once per week with undiluted white distilled vinegar.

Because of its high acidity levels, white distilled vinegar disinfects and kills germs as well as bleach and other commercial cleaners. More important, however, white distilled vinegar is not toxic to your cat.

If the litter box is in a bathroom, make sure to scrub the grout between the tiles on both the floor and the walls, as grout is somewhat porous and bacteria can hide there.

If you have a cover on the litter box, it’s unlikely that feces or urine will be on the walls. But, litter dust will more than likely get on the walls when you add new litter to the box and when your cat tosses it around.

Cleaning Frequency:

Replace the cats litter twice a week. The litter changing frequency can vary depending on the number of cats you have, the number of litter boxes available and the type of litter you use.

The litter box itself should be cleaned at least once a month when the litter is changed. To clean the box, first empty the old litter into a garbage bag and scrape out any that’s stuck to the bottom or the sides.

Rinse the box out thoroughly and fill with approximately 1/2 to 1 inch of undiluted white distilled vinegar. Let stand for 30 minutes and rinse well with cold water. Make sure to scrub the inside of the litter box cover to remove any feces and urine, and wipe down the outside to remove litter dust.

To clean the scoop, scrape off all litter, urine or feces that is stuck between the tines and wipe it down with undiluted distilled vinegar. You may also need to soak it clean in the box.

Refill the litter box with 2 inches of fresh litter.

Safety Precautions:

Make sure to wear disposable rubber gloves when cleaning out your cat’s litter box. For the health of your family, dispose of all paper towels, sponges and towels after use. Do not save them for next time. Follow these simple housecleaning tips for the litter box and you and your cat will both be happy.


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