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Scrubbing out the litter box - What's your method?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
We just added lovely Toby-cat to our household. I am completely in love with him, but now our apartment stinks! Every time we come home, you can smell the litter boxes, no matter how often we scoop. Toby just has smellier deposits in general but he is also a total digger who doesn't "go" until he reaches the bottom of the box. I've heard him digging for upwards of 5 minutes and I am surprised he hasn't worn a hole through the box yet.

For the odor, I think actually cleaning the box itself will help. What is your tried and true method for this? I've been poking around the web and have heard everything from using bleach solution, to advice against using bleach and using soap instead (aren't most soaps scented to some degree though? I know that's bad for cats). We live in a small apartment where hosing it down outside isn't an option. I'm a little squeamish about germs and would rather not do it in the bathtub either. So.. is there a handy way to clean out and disinfect the litterbox, and how often do you do it? I look forward to hearing your methods!
post #2 of 17
I've used a little bleach in the water and scrubbed it out, or just the dishsoap and hot water.

I'm using the wood pellets and the pans stay pretty clean and do not smell. If you can't get the smell out of the pan, then toss it and buy another one. If they scratch a lot, eventually those scratches will hold odors no matter what you try and its time to get a new box.

BTW the easiest place to clean it is the bathtub if you can't take a bucket and water outside to do it - just rinse the bathtub down real good after you do it.
post #3 of 17
I hate germs too but the bathtub is easiest.

I used a diluted bleach solution and dishsoap. I do the bleach spray, rinse, then the dishsoap and rinse. Then I rinse one more in very hot water and then I let them air dry after wiping them.
If you have a digger get a high sided box and fill it high. I have a digger and I use heavy clumping litter and keep it very deep. He gives up and just goes after awhile.
post #4 of 17
I use Jonny Cat Scooping Cat Litter. I find that it works great at absorbing odors.

I also find that the more full the box is, the less likely Chynna will did down to the bottom of the box to go on the plastic. Though she sure does try I find that when the box is about 1/2 full or less, she is more easily able to dig down to the plastic and create a clean spot on the plastic to go. When she does that, I just let it dry a bit and then scrape it off the bottom and toss the waste away.

So far as cleaning the box goes, I use hot water and either Javex Bleach or Mr. Clean. I scrub it well with the toilet brush and then rinse it really well with more hot water, and then dry it before refilling it with litter.

The Jonny Cat Scooping is a fine cat litter like sand, so it's not easy for them to dig up a huge mound when the box is 3/4 full because as they dig the grains fall down the slope back to the bottom.
post #5 of 17
Very simple: I use Nature's Miracle. I pour a little in the box, let it sit for a bit, swish it around to get the worst spots, then use a rag to scrub the inside of the box. Rinse with water, DONE and odor free.
post #6 of 17
I use Special Kitty scooping litter. Scoop it 2-3 times a day.

For a complete clean I dump out the litter. Set the box in the tub. Put a squirt of Dawn dish soap in the pan. Run hot water into it. Let it soak for a good 20 min or so. If it's particularly bad (Nabu stands to pee) then I soak the sides of the pan with Nature's Miracle while the soapy water soaks the bottom. Wash with a rag. Empty and rinse.
post #7 of 17
I do the bathtub thing as well. You should be able to scrape most of the litter/waste off the bottom with your scooper. I then rinse it with really hot water on a powerful spray setting, soak with dish soap, then stick a little bleach in the bottom and try to swirl it around the pan to cover as much as possible. Again, then I rinse it with really hot water to make sure all the bleach is gone. My cats don't seem to mind any odours left by bleach/soap - in fact, they love clean litter boxes....they like to "christen" them!

Have you tried litter box liners at all? I've never used them, so I don't know how they work, but that might help you dispose of the waste. Some people, like myself, have also found that non-clay litters control odour a bit better (I use World's Best Cat Litter - and I have two very stinky kittens!).
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Wow! Thanks for all the wonderful information. TCS to the rescue!

I will be more diligent about keeping the litter level high, and will start experimenting with other kinds of non-clay litter too. We use Arm & Hammer Multicat right now and the dust is pretty excessive.

I think one of my weekend projects will be cleaning out the cat boxes (oh joy ) and I'll just get over the whole bathtub germs thing since that is what everyone seems to do.. better to rinse out the tub every few weeks, than come home every day to a smelly place! I also just remembered that there is a utility sink in the apartment's laundry room, so maybe I will ask the manager if we can use that.

BTW, in case anyone is reading this thread and asking the same questions, I found a nice video with a step-by-step of cleaning out the box here: http://video.about.com/cats/Change-a-Litter-Box.htm

Thanks again everyone! I'll be taking some nice pics of Toby and his big brother soon so I can formally introduce my (hopefully less stinky) furbabies on the New Cats forum
post #9 of 17
If you buy the clothes bins plastic containers for the litter boxes, you can actually throw them out and buy brand new ones every few months and not bother with all the scrubbing and bleaching. I dont like to use harsh chemicals around my baby cats and I know that poo around that plastic is carrying so many germs, so I just get new ones.
post #10 of 17
Since I don't like using chemicals, I've always rinsed my boxes with vinegar. Never had a problem with odours hanging around.
post #11 of 17
Just make sure you get as much if not all the litter out of the box BEFORE you wash it - you don't want too much litter going down the drains and causing problems.
post #12 of 17
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
Just make sure you get as much if not all the litter out of the box BEFORE you wash it - you don't want too much litter going down the drains and causing problems.
True. I scrape it all off. If some still sticks I used a little BioKleen spray and wipe them down. I use all natural products with my cats and when I clean.
post #13 of 17
chloe is the WORST digger i have ever seen. sometimes, i think shes my karma because as a kid, my cousin and i used to try to dig to china in my grandparents yard. we would dig about 4 or 5 ft down before we were discovered. i think chloe is trying to recreate this in her litter boxes.

i have gone thru sooo many boxes that its unreal lol. i used to just use cardboard boxes and throw them out instead of buy one. there for awhile when i was using liners, i would put old magazines under the liners and they worked to keep her from scratching up the bottom of her box.

when she doesnt dig to china and her box survives, i wipe out the box with several mr. clean wipes and then i take the box to the tub and clean with dawn
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
courtney_ou, thanks for the suggestion about a box liner + paper underneath. I am thinking I might even stick a Tidy Cats Breeze pad underneath the litter somehow, instead of paper... I am contemplating switching to the Breeze system but Toby just seems to love digging so much he might be traumatized

Has anyone here ever made their own litter box liners? It seems like you can just cut up a garbage bag and get the same thing, except without the handy drawstring action..
post #15 of 17
i have tried that, actually. i twisted the bag underneath the box and pulled it back up almost like a double layer liner since chloe liked to dig so much. it worked in patchys boxes but not chloes. i would even twist them and leave the excess under the box also. that seemed to work better for chloe.

chloe dug so much i would even use double stick tape and try to tape her liners to the box but it didnt work. but 4 magazines laid alternately DID work really well at keeping the bottom really clean. they absorbed leaks and just had to be thrown away when she scratched thru the liners.

my aunt always buys a BUNCH of gossip mags like OK, etc. she would save months of them and bring big bags of them for us to do whatever with so i always lined chloes box with the ones that had tom cruises face on them. i dont know why it gave me such joy to see her pop a squat on him LOL
post #16 of 17
You should also check out the following thread:


Changing the size of the box and type of litter may help.
post #17 of 17
she doesnt like big ones. shes has boodha domes, electric boxes, cardboard boxes (she also kicks litter out), and so on...

this time i think ive got it: ive discovered the best ones for her are: boxes avon products are delivered in (from ups to the seller), cardboard boxes from subway (the ones their sandwich dough comes in is PURRRFECT but hard to acquire around here) and the small half size kitten boxes. go figure. i just have to put a rug under it to catch the litter she kicks out.

i also hadto get a litter that patchy likes or else she will tinkle in my clean clothes basket as soon as i take them out of the dryer in retribution. fortunately i found one. yay!
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