9 Best Cat Litters for Odor Control with a DIY Homemade Deodorizer

Cats are great, but litter box odors aren’t.

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Unfortunately, if you are a cat owner you should expect to deal with your fair share of litter box odors.

But what causes litter box odors, and how do you get rid of it?

Keep reading to receive 6 simple tips for how to neutralize cat litter odor, including a DIY homemade cat litter deodorizer. You’ll also receive our top 8 picks for the best cat litters for odor control.

6 Tips for Getting Rid of Cat Litter Smell

Cats are naturally very clean, but the litter box does tend to get messy over time. Even if you scoop it on a daily basis, you may find that there are lingering odors.

But what exactly causes cat litter box odor?

For one thing, a cat’s urine is much more highly concentrated than that of other species. Add to that the fact that most cats visit the litter box four or five times a day, and you can why things are bound to get a bit smelly.

It’s not even that your cat is to blame – not entirely, anyway. As wet litter sits in the box, it develops a strong ammonia smell that can pervade the house. Depending on what kind of diet you feed your cat, the ammonia smell could be very strong.

So, how do you get rid of litter box odor? Here are six simple tips:

  1. Scoop the litter box at least once, but ideally twice a day to remove clumps. If you’re using a non-clumping litter, use a large spoon to remove wet litter in addition to solid waste.
  2. Only fill your litter box with 2 to 3 inches of litter and add some fresh litter each time you scoop to refill and refresh the box.
  3. Choosing clumping over non-clumping cat litter – clumping cat litter helps trap odors by forming solid clumps around both solid and liquid waste.
  4. Avoid placing your cat’s litter box in a small, enclosed space that will concentrate the odor.
  5. Make sure your litter box is large enough for your cat and add an extra litter box for good measure – you should have one litter box per cat plus one extra.
  6. Clean the litter box once a week – this means emptying all of the litter out of it and wiping it clean before refilling it.

In addition to following these tips for how to neutralize ammonia in cat litter, you might also try making your own cat litter deodorizer. Homemade deodorizers are actually quite simple and cost-effective.

diy homemade cat litter deodorizer

[tasty-recipe id=”6776″]

When it comes to choosing essential oils for your homemade litter box deodorizer, you can choose whatever scent you like. Just make sure that it is an essential oil that is safe for cats. Some essential oils you should avoid using around your cat include the following:

  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Sweet birch
  • Tea tree
  • Thyme
  • Wintergreen

If you’re dealing with particularly strong cat litter odor, litter box deodorizers may not do the trick. To take things up a notch, consider switching to a cat litter designed specifically for odor control.

The Best 9 Cat Litters for Odor Control

Though a cat litter odor eliminator might help to minimize litter box odors, your best bet is to choose a cat litter designed specifically for odor control. Here are our top 8 choices:

Overall Best Odor Control Cat Litter

PrettyLitter – 20% OFF w/ code BESTLITTER

PrettyLitter is unscented, lightweight, and environmentally friendly, and its most amazing benefit is that it changes color when it detects a pH change to alert you to your cat’s possible health issues. PrettyLitter detects health issues that can be found through a change in pH such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones, inflammation, kidney issues, and more. With a once-a-month convenient delivery service, PrettyLitter costs less than some other typical cat litters and the amount is tailored to suit the number of cats in your home. The absorbent silica gel traps odors and eliminates moisture and is made from natural minerals, which means less dust and allergens and less litter in the landfill.

  • Pros: Made from natural mineral, silica gel traps odor, detects pH change that may indicate medical issues
  • Cons: Non-clumping can cause tracking

Runner-Up Odor Control Cat Litter

Ever Clean Extra Strength Unscented Cat Litter

For powerful protection against litter box odors, we recommend Ever Clean Extra Strength Unscented Cat Litter. This cat litter is a premium clumping clay litter that locks away odors, keeping your home smelling fresh and clean. It is 99.9% dust-free and 100% scent-free, making it a great choice for cats with sensitive respiratory systems, including kittens. It features CarbonPlus technology to grab odors, and a proprietary antimicrobial agent inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Plus, it forms hard, tight clumps which makes cleanup a breeze and reduces tracking to boot.

  • Pros: Highly absorbent clay granules, forms hard clumps, locks away odors, 99.9% dust-free, 100% scent-free, up to 10 days of odor protection, premium natural minerals and clay
  • Cons: Clumps may break apart over time, may track more than some litters

Our Most Popular Pick

Dr. Elsey’s Ultra-Premium Cat Litter

Many cat owners love Dr. Elsey’s Ultra-Premium Cat Litter, and we can certainly see why. Not only is it surprisingly affordable, but it offers superior odor control with hard-clumping action. This multi-cat formula features a unique formulation that combines heavy, non-tracking granules with medium-grain clay. The result is a highly absorbent, hard-clumping formula that locks away odors and makes cleanup quick and easy. This clumping clay litter is ideal for multi-cat households and can even be used in sifting and mechanical litter boxes. It is a 99.9% dust-free formula in addition to being a natural hypoallergenic cat litter, so it is safe for your family as well as your cats. Simply put, this litter offers excellent odor control to keep your home smelling fresh day in and day out, all without emptying your wallet.

  • Pros: Combines heavy non-tracking granules and medium-grain clay, forms hard clumps, 99.9% dust-free and hypoallergenic, great for multi-cat households, superior odor control
  • Cons: Somewhat heavier than some litters, clumps may break apart over time

Our Most Affordable Pick

Frisco Unscented Odor Defense Cat Litter

The secret to reducing litter box odors is to absorb them quickly and lock them away in hard clumps. This Frisco Unscented Odor Defense Cat Litter is a great solution to litter box odor because, although it is completely unscented, it absorbs liquid fast for form hard, odor-busting clumps. This litter features a patented odor defense system that reduces ammonia, the number-one cause of litter box odors. It doesn’t rely on synthetic fragrances but actually destroys odors to keep your litter box smelling fresh for days at a time. Plus, the clumps are easy to scoop and it is a low-dust formula which means less mess overall. You couldn’t ask for more except affordability – and it has that too!

  • Pros: Highly affordable, clumps quickly, neutralizes ammonia odors, forms hard clumps, no synthetic fragrances, low-dust formula, easy to scoop
  • Cons: Clumps may break apart over time, may track more than some litters

5 More Top Rated Cat Litters for Odor Control

If the three choices above don’t seem quite right, don’t worry! There are plenty of other options to choose from. Here are 5 more top-rated cat litters for odor control that we recommend:

Fresh Step Extreme Odor Control Scented Cat Litter

For powerful odor protection and a fresh scent, try Fresh Step Extreme Odor Control Scented Cat Litter. This cat litter features a new formula that combines the hard-clumping action of clay litter with the odor protection of Febreeze. This litter doesn’t just mask litter box odors, it eliminates them and replaces them with the fresh scent of Febreeze. In addition to forming hard clumps for easy scooping, this litter features CarbonPLUS protection which neutralizes odors on contact to keep your home smelling fresh for days at a time. Plus, antimicrobial agents help stop the growth of odor-causing bacteria.

  • Pros: Neutralizes odors quickly, long-lasting odor protection, forms hard clumps, antimicrobial agents kill odor-causing bacteria, easy to scoop, fresh scent of Febreeze
  • Cons: Some cats dislike the scent, may be dusty at first, packaging is somewhat awkward

World’s Best Clumping Multi-Cat Litter

If you’re looking for a hard-clumping cat litter but you want to avoid clay, try World’s Best Clumping Multi-Cat Litter. This litter is made from whole-kernel corn and it is highly absorbent but all-natural. This cat litter is 99% dust-free which is great for kittens and cats with sensitive respiratory systems, not to mention the reduction in litter box mess. This corn-based cat litter offers concentrated odor-absorbing power to keep your home smelling fresh while minimizing the work to scoop the litter box. Plus, it is great for multi-cat households and can be used with most conventional litter boxes.

  • Pros: 100% all-natural materials, highly absorbent, quickly forms clumps, locks away odors, 99% dust-free formula, great for multi-cat households, plant materials added for odor control
  • Cons: Clumps may fall apart over time, may not clump as hard as other litters

Arm & Hammer Super Scoop Fragrance-Free Litter

If you’re looking for an odor-control cat litter that doesn’t rely on synthetic fragrances, this Arm & Hammer Super Scoop Fragrance-Free Litter is a great choice. This litter clumps instantly to absorb liquid, locking away odor and making your job of cleanup easier than ever. Plus, this litter features the odor-eliminating power of baking soda for extra long-lasting protection. This fragrance-free formula is 99% dust-free for less mess but still forms hard, tight clumps and starts fighting ammonia odors before they start. Plus, it’s a very affordable product that offers excellent value.

  • Pros: Free from artificial fragrances, works well against ammonia odors, creates hard clumps, easy to scoop, 99% dust-free formula, reduces tracking
  • Cons: Granules may be too large for some cats, wet litter may stick to the bottom of the pan

Purina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Cat Litter

For continuous odor control, try Purina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Cat Litter. This cat litter features Tidy Lock Protection which absorbs odors on contact, locking away ammonia, urine, and fecal odors for a fresh, clean-smelling home for up to 7 days. With hard-clumping action, this litter is easy to scoop and has minimal waste. Simply scoop the clumps several times a week, and top off the box with a little bit of fresh litter. You’ll also love that it comes in several different sizes so you can buy as much or as little as you need, depending how many cats you have and it is a surprisingly affordable product as well.

  • Pros: Locks away odors on contact, up to 7 days of odor protection, forms hard clumps, easy to scoop, comes in several sizes, minimizes waste
  • Cons: May be dusty at first, clumps may break apart over time

Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter

If you’re looking for a hard-clumping cat litter designed specifically for multi-cat households, try this Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter. This cat litter is one of the best odor-control cat litters on the market because it features the hard-clumping action of clay materials combined with odor-absorbing baking soda. This litter offers 7 days of odor protection by absorbing liquid quickly to form a tight, hard clump that seals in odors upon contact. Plus, it is an ultra-low dust formula that reduces respiratory irritation and mess, so both you and your cat can breathe easy.

  • Pros: Formulated for multi-cat households, absorbs liquid quickly, locks away odor on contact, controls odors for up to 7 days, easy to scoop, ultra-low dust formula
  • Cons: Small granules may track more than some litters, some cats dislike the fragrance

Cat Litter FAQs

Switching to an odor control cat litter is the first step if your cat litter smells like ammonia. You can also try a cat litter odor eliminator to give things an extra boost. If you’re still dealing with strong cat urine odor, the answers to these frequently asked questions might help:

What Can I Give My Cat for Strong Urine Odor? – You may not realize it, but your cat’s diet has an impact on litter box odor. The best thing you can give your cat to reduce litter box odor is a healthy, high-quality diet. The more low-quality ingredients and artificial additives in your cat’s food, the harder his body will have to work to digest it and the more waste he’ll excrete as a result. A diet that consists largely of premium animal proteins and other animal-based ingredients is easiest for your cat to digest and will help reduce litter box odor.

Is Baking Soda Harmful to Cats? – Baking soda is a well-known odor neutralizer and it is an ingredient in many odor control cat litters. Before buying one of these litters, you may ask yourself, “Is baking soda harmful to cats?” The answer to this question is no – at least, not unless he ingests a large quantity of it. Your cat is very unlikely to ingest baking soda but, even if he does, a small amount won’t be harmful. It is only if he ingests a large quantity of it that you need worry about it interfering with his chemical balance.

How to Neutralize Ammonia in Cat Litter? – There are several ways to neutralize ammonia in cat litter and you may already have the supplies on hand. After emptying your litter box, rinse it out then wipe it down with a mixture of one part white vinegar and two parts hot water before drying and refilling. Sprinkling some baking soda in the litter box may also help control odor, or you can try a litter box purifier made with odor absorbers.

If you’re wondering how to neutralize ammonia in cat litter to control litter box odors, the best place to start is with an odor control cat litter. Add to that a store-bought or DIY cat litter odor eliminator and you’ll be enjoying a fresh, odor-free home in no time. Best of luck!

best cat litter for odor control

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