As much as we love our cats, it's highly likely that not very many of us love the smell of the litter boxes they use several times a day. Practicing good cleaning habits and lining your cat's litter box with quality litter are the first steps in keeping an odor-free home, and many people like to enlist the help of a cat litter deodorizer to keep their spaces truly smell-free.
Deodorizers are formulated with a wide range of ingredients to knock smells out of a litter box, with baking soda and enzymes being the top contenders for killing odors that might otherwise linger. Unlike air fresheners, deodorizers neutralize smells rather than simply cover them up, and are often unscented or only lightly scented. As with any cleaning product, a cat litter deodorizer will do next to nothing if you don't stay on top of keeping your litter box clean but it can offer a bit of extra help at fairly little cost and effort.
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What to Consider When Purchasing Cat Litter Deodorizer
Household: Generally, most cat litter deodorizers work just as well whether you're treating a box that's used by one cat or six. However, if you are using a deodorizer that's not designed to stand up to that much extra urine and feces, you'll be spending a lot more time in and out of your cat's litter box area, sprinkling or spraying multiple times a day. If you have more than one cat who uses a litter box exclusively to eliminate, it's usually worth it to reach for a deodorizer designed for multi-cat households if you want that smell to be truly deodorized.
Litter: Keeping a cat's litter box free from smells starts with the litter—if you're using litter that isn't built to keep smells under control, chances are, any deodorizer you find will not do everything you'd like it to. Litters designed to clump or labeled as "odor-controlling" are going to help you get a big head start at keeping your cat's litter box from becoming overwhelmingly smelly. Even before the litter, keeping your cat's box cleaned out on a regular basis (ideally, once a day) is a must when seeking to keep smells under control. A deodorizer can help but it's not a magic bullet, so pairing one with a good litter and regular cleaning schedule will go a long way in keeping a scent-free home.
Formula: Generally, litter deodorizers are sold as powders that are sprinkled over the litter and eventually buried down into it as cats naturally paw and scratch at the areas they eliminate in. Some deodorizers are formulated as sprays, which can work just as well, particularly if it uses enzymes to eliminate odors. The right one will be up to you and your cat, but the formula is something to keep in mind when shopping for the right deodorizer.
Deodorizing Versus Air Freshening: Sprays can get you in trouble, however, if they aren't actually formulated to eliminate odor. Air fresheners are designed to simply mask odors and will do little more than mask smells for a short amount of time. Air fresheners are a great way to invite a fragrance into your space, but if you're looking to rid your cat's litter box of urine and feces smells, you will want to look for a powder or spray that's designed to do just that and not simply cover it up.
The Best Overall Cat Litter Deodorizer
Arm & Hammer Litter Baking Soda Double Duty Cat Litter Deodorizer
When it comes to eliminating unpleasant and unwanted smells around the home, Arm & Hammer is the name that comes to most people's minds. For years, baking soda has been used to absorb and eliminate odors in the kitchen and bathroom, and it also helps keep things fresh in the litter box with just a light sprinkling. Designed to handle both urine and feces odors, this deodorizer is highly effective and affordable but does contain added fragrances. Listed as "moisture activated," the fragrance contained within this formula kicks in when it gets wet, so keep that in mind if you're sensitive to artificial smells.
The Best Value Cat Litter Deodorizer
Arm & Hammer Cat Litter Deodorizer
It's hard to go wrong with Arm & Hammer if you want to keep unpleasant smells under control, so if you're looking for something that's going to give you value for your time and money, this is a tried-and-true option that works—not much trial and error needed. Using baking soda crystals and moisture-locking technology, this affordable deodorizer is strong enough for use in a multi-cat household but won't kick up dusty powder thanks to its light, fragrant formula.
The Best Multi-Cat Litter Deodorizer
Rocco & Roxie Litter Box Odor Eliminator
If you have more than one cat using a litter box inside your home, it's in your best interest to find a deodorizer that's designed to handle all of that extra use. Similar to a powder, this is formulated with corn cob granules to wick moisture from feces and urine. A blend of essential oils assists in neutralizing odors in a way that's nontoxic to cats and is 100% biodegradable. Because such a small amount of this deodorizer goes such a long way, it's a great choice for anyone with multiple cats to clean up after, and can also be used to deodorize other areas around the house, like garbage bins, trash compactors, and other spaces that commonly collect odors.
The Best Unscented Cat Litter Deodorizer
Nature's Miracle Just For Cats Litter Box Odor Destroyer Spray
It's the only spray of this bunch, but cat owners everywhere likely know this brand's name already for its highly effective ability at eliminating cat urine odors in very little time. Unlike powders that absorb or wick moisture, this deodorizer utilizes bacteria to produce enzymes that appear when it comes in contact with biological waste, like cat urine or feces. Like all Nature's Miracle products, this deodorizer is safe to use on any surface, including most fabrics, and won't clump up your cat's litter despite the liquid formula. Additionally, this one is unscented, making it a great choice for anyone who prefers a scent-free home.
The Best Natural Cat Litter Deodorizer
NonScents Cat Litter Deodorizer
Gentle, fragrance-free, and easy to use, this sprinkle-on formula is made with Zeolite to neutralize odors you might find in or around your cat's litter box. Using one to three capfuls at a time to treat one or more litter boxes, you can, according to their claims, achieve an odor-free litter box for weeks at a time if you're continuing to remove waste from it on a regular basis. This formula is also safe to use with kittens, so you can keep your cat's litter box odor-free at any stage of her life.
The Best Solid Cat Litter Deodorizer
Arm & Hammer for Pets Air Care Pet Scents Deodorizing Gel Beads
This is a solid deodorizer that might almost wander into air freshener territory for some people, but it's still designed to neutralize odors, despite its heavily scented qualities. Using baking soda to absorb and neutralize unwanted smells, this jar can be kept outside or on top of your cat's litter box to reduce unpleasant smells as they arise. Like any solid deodorizer, the efficacy of this product will diminish over time, but if you're looking for something mess-free that will offer you some relief from cat smells, this is a great option to consider.