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How to Clean a Cat Litter Mat: 3 Simple Steps & Quick Options

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on May 17, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat outside the litter box

How to Clean a Cat Litter Mat: 3 Simple Steps & Quick Options

As cat owners, we do all we can to keep our feline family member’s bathroom area clean. If we don’t, we deal with terrible odors, unsightly pieces of waste, and tracked kitty litter all around the house.

Placing a cat litter mat under your cat’s litter box is a great way to manage the litter mess. However, the mat must be cleaned occasionally to keep litter from getting everywhere and bad smells from developing. Here are a few simple steps that you can take to clean your cat’s litter mat.

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How to Clean a Cat Litter Mat in 3 Simple Steps

1. Remove the Kitty Litter Mat From the Area

The first step to clean your cat’s litter mat is to remove it from the litter area. Carefully take the cat litter box off the mat, then pick it up and dump the debris into the litter box. Then, take the cat litter mat outside.

sphynx cat using purple cat litter box
Image Credit: Kokorina Mariia, Shutterstock

2. Wash the Mat by Hand

Once the cat litter mat is outside, pour dish soap into a bucket, then fill the bucket with warm water. Add a small amount of apple cider vinegar to the mix to neutralize odors. Grab a clean cloth, dunk it into the cleaning solution, and use the cloth to scrub the litter mat clean. Once you are satisfied with your result, rinse the mat off to finish the cleaning process.


3. Let the Mat Dry

Letting your cat’s litter mat completely dry before putting it back under the litter box is essential. If any moisture is present, the litter will stick to the mat, which will require another cleaning sooner rather than later. Therefore, you should leave the mat in the sun to dry all day long before placing it back under your cat’s litter box.

If it’s a rainy day, use a clean and dry cloth to thoroughly dry the mat and then leave it to dry in the bathroom for a few hours. After your cat’s litter mat is completely dry, it is safe to place it back under the litter box. This is a great time to completely clean out the litter box and make sure the entire space is completely clean.

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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The 3 Options for Quick Cleaning

There is not always time to thoroughly clean a cat’s litter mat. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to quickly clean the litter mat so it does not cause a problem until you can get it outside and clean it with soap and water. Here are your options.

light gray cat curiously looking at the litter box while being cleaned by its owner
Image Credit: Mila Naumova, Shutterstock

1. Shake Out the Mat

When you are short on time and can’t thoroughly clean the cat litter mat, take it outside and shake it out to remove dirty litter and debris. You can also shake it over a garbage can in your home, but do so only on linoleum, laminate, wood, or tile flooring so you can quickly sweep up the litter that drops on the floor.


2. Throw It in the Washing Machine

One of the more hands-off approaches to clean your litter mat is to put it in the washing machine. This practice can be rough on most cat litter mats, so it should be used sparingly. However, when you’re low on time, it will make life easier for you. Just don’t put your mat in the dryer. Let it dry in the sun or somewhere in your home instead.

cropped shot of woman hand turn on automatic washing machine
Image Credit: brizmaker, Shutterstock

3. Utilize a Vacuum Cleaner

One of the most efficient ways to help clean your cat’s litter mat is to vacuum it up. Vacuum the ground underneath and around your cat’s litter box. Don’t forget to pull the mat up and vacuum underneath, or you are bound to leave unwanted litter behind. This will spruce up the space until you can commit to a thorough cleaning.

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Conclusion

It doesn’t have to be a big deal when the time comes to clean a litter mat. Try out the options outlined here, and you should enjoy a smell-free environment that will keep your cat healthy and keep the humans in your household from dealing with the smell of the cat’s urine and feces.


Featured Image Credit: Jennifer McCallum, Shutterstock

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