Catster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Can You Use Kitty Litter for Oil Spills? Alternative Uses, Tips & Tricks

Written by: Lorre Luther

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

biodegradable litter

Can You Use Kitty Litter for Oil Spills? Alternative Uses, Tips & Tricks

Kitty litter has several uses other than making it possible for cats to use the bathroom indoors, including providing emergency traction to help cars get moving on snowy days and cleaning up oil spills. Kitty litter is handy because it soaks up liquid, which makes it incredibly versatile.

It’s also easy to find, relatively inexpensive, and a great product to have around as it can be useful in so many situations. Kitty litter can be used to absorb oil, but it’s most effective when used to soak up fresh spills. When it comes to spills that have been around for a while, using a product specifically designed to remove old oil stains is easier on concrete surfaces and ultimately requires less effort.

While kitty litter works reasonably well when absorbing liquids, it’s not the best option for removing stains from substances such as concrete.

3 cat face divider

How Do You Use Kitty Litter to Absorb Oil Spills?

If you have freshly spilled oil in your garage that needs cleaning, just cover it with kitty litter and let nature take its course. Allow the litter to sit for a few minutes, and then sweep everything up. After you’ve removed the oil, you can move on to working on the stain if any of the oil has had time to soak into the concrete.

Kitty litter isn’t designed to lift stains, so it may not be the best option for getting rid of deeply set spots on porous surfaces. Brand-new spots that haven’t had time to become set in can be removed with soap, water, and a gentle scrub brush.

Image Credit: Seika-Chujo, Shutterstock


What Are Some Other Ways Kitty Litter Can Be Used?

Kitty litter is kind of like duct tape; it’s one of those incredibly versatile products that can be used for several tasks. Keep in mind that there are sometimes more efficient ways to accomplish many of the tasks kitty litter can be used for, so it’s not always the most efficient way to address situations long-term. Keep reading to learn more about a few ways to use kitty litter that doesn’t involve cats.

1. Traction

Kitty litter is a great product to have around if you live somewhere where there’s snow and inclement weather. A bag of cat litter thrown in the back of your car can provide an extra weight that may add stability in icy conditions.

While having a properly winterized vehicle is the first step in staying safe while on the road during cold months, kitty litter can provide emergency traction if you get stuck in snow and ice. Keep in mind that kitty litter can get muddy when mixed with snow and can only be used for short periods before becoming slick.

2. Odor Absorption

Kitty litter can be used in many of the same ways as baking soda to control odors. Adding litter to the bottom of trash cans can keep nasty smells at bay. Putting some in a container and leaving it in the attic or basement can eliminate musty odors. It can also improve the stench of boots and sneakers.

You can make a sachet by throwing litter into an old sock or pair of nylons, tying off the top, and placing it in your shoes. You can also add a kitty litter sachet when putting away tents and suitcases that don’t see much use to keep them smelling good from season to season.

Close up texture sodium bentonite cat litter
Image Credit: Zahra Malikha, Shutterstock

3. Moisture Absorption

Kitty litter is helpful in soaking up grease. Some sources suggest it can even be added to the bottom of barbecues to soak up fat drippings from steaks and other meat products.

It can also help when drying out cell phones that somehow end up wet. It takes a few days to see results, but kitty litter may be more efficient than using rice to dry out wet electronic products.

Kitty litter can also be used to dry out the paint in a can so it can be discarded without creating a total mess; just add litter to the can and let it dry out, but make sure to follow local regulations regarding proper paint disposal.

cat paw divider


Thanks to its absorbency, kitty litter can be used to absorb fresh oil spills. It’s not the best option for tackling stains that have been around for a while; commercial oil removal products work quickly and effectively on stubborn spots.

Kitty litter can be used to deodorize sneakers and help cars stuck in the snow get going again. It’s also relatively inexpensive and usually easy to find, making it a fantastic product to have around the house.

Featured Image Credit: lermont51, Shutterstock

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Catster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.