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How to Use Cat Litter Deodorizers: 5 Vet-Approved Tips & Guidelines

Written by: Lorre Luther

Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

orange cat beside litter box

How to Use Cat Litter Deodorizers: 5 Vet-Approved Tips & Guidelines


Dr. Luqman Javed Photo


Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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It can be hard to mask the smell of cat litter when you share your life with cats. The last thing you want to do is walk in the door and inhale that intense, distinct odor. Many people resort to scented litter or air fresheners to cover up the litter box odors.

Scented litter can sometimes be problematic since the fragrance can deter cats, and some brands aren’t very effective at removing odors. That’s where a litter deodorizer comes in. If you are ready to try this approach, keep reading for tips and tricks on using cat litter deodorizers.

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The 5 Tips for Using Litter Deodorizer

1. Make Sure the Litter Box Is Empty

When you are ready to use a litter deodorizer to help you control odors, you will want to start with a clean slate. First, you should empty your litter box of all the contents and dispose of the old litter accordingly. Make sure to scrape off the sides and remove any leftover litter or waste.

2. Wash Your Litter Box Thoroughly

After you have everything cleaned out, it is time to thoroughly wash the box. Using hot water will work fine unless the box has a residual smell, but you can add dish soap to help you remove stubborn stains.

Scrub it as needed, and rinse it thoroughly. Once it has been rinsed, ensure the inside and outside are completely dry before you do anything else.

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3. Cover the Bottom of the Empty Litter Box With the Deodorizer

Once your litter box is clean, you can add the deodorizer to the bottom of the box. However, you need to read the instructions for the deodorizer you purchased to determine how much to add. Since several varieties are available, the instructions may not be the same for each one.

If you're dealing with stubborn smells in your litter box or elsewhere in your house, a good cat litter deodorizer can work wonders.

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4. Add in Your Litter

After adding the deodorizer, fill the box with several inches of litter. It is a good idea to use a high-quality cat litter that does well at controlling odors. That isn’t always possible, but most cat litter deodorizers can be added to any type of litter.

5. Monitor Your Cat

Cats have sensitive noses and can easily pick up a different smell coming from their litter box. Though some cats don’t mind this, others may be opposed to it and refuse to use their litter box. It is important to keep an eye on your cat after adding a deodorizer to their litter box to ensure that your cat agrees with the change.

Domestic ginger cat looking at litter box
Image Credit: Duet PandG, Shutterstock

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Types of Cat Litter Deodorizers


The most common form of litter deodorizer is powder. The powders are made primarily of baking soda since it has powerful odor-neutralizing effects. They also contain other ingredients, like fragrance.

Powdered deodorizers are poured directly into the litter box and mixed in with the litter. Most cat owners would agree that the powder is the most effective type, which is likely why it is so popular.


Some cat litter deodorizers come in granules, which are much larger particles than the powder. They are designed to draw the waste away from the litter. For the most part, granule-type litter box deodorizers are made from minerals and tend to be fragrance-free, though that’s not always the case.

Gel Beads

Gel beads are another form of litter deodorizer, and only a few large beads need to be dropped into the box at a time. They don’t create dust but are not as effective as the other varieties.


Spray deodorizers are much rarer and made with fragrances that can sometimes be overpowering. Most sprays are meant to be used all over the house to help mask odors. Be careful not to spray too much in the litter box because it will add more moisture.

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Knowing how to properly use cat litter deodorizers is important so that you can best control nasty litter smells. There are several types of litter deodorizers, but it’s wise to research the brands to determine which are very effective products and which ones you should avoid. If your cat dislikes deodorizers and scented litter, you can scoop out the waste more often to reduce odors.

Featured Image Credit: jamesjoong, Shutterstock

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