Having furry family members of the feline variety means dealing with a litter box. Even if you don’t have to scoop, you still need to clean your cat’s bathroom from time to time. If you’re wondering how to clean a litter box, we’ve got tips for both the routine and the methods—whether you have a traditional litter box or a self-cleaning litter box like Litter-Robot.
How to clean a litter box: the routine
Once you get a routine down for cleaning the litter box, it doesn’t feel so much like a chore. Read on to learn how to clean the litter box on a daily basis, as well as what to clean weekly, monthly, and even quarterly.
If you have a traditional litter box—as in not automatic or self-cleaning—you’ll want to make sure you’re scooping the litter box daily. Also be sure to have one more litter box than you have cats. (So, if you have one cat, you need two traditional litter boxes. Three cats, four litter boxes!)
Why scoop daily? Because a clean litter box is essential to good cat health. As an emergency critical care veterinary specialist, Dr. Justine Lee explains that cats don’t want to step into a dirty litter box too often. They may choose to only urinate once a day instead of 2-3x/day; when this happens, their urine becomes very concentrated, and with it, red blood cells, mucous plugs, or even crystals can become more concentrated. This can potentially result in signs of either feline idiopathic cystitis (formerly called feline lower urinary tract disease) or a life-threatening feline urethral obstruction.
Replace the litter every 2-4 weeks
Every 2 to 4 weeks, you should completely throw out the litter in the litter box(es) and replace it with fresh litter. How often you have to do this depends on how many cats you have, their bathroom habits, and which type of cat litter you use.
If you begin noticing that telltale ammonia smell of cat urine buildup in the litter box, that is a good indicator that you should replace the litter as soon as possible. Ideally, you’ll do so before it gets to this stinky point.
The more cats that you have, the more often you’ll likely need to replace the litter. If you use non-clumping litter that doesn’t allow you to remove urine clumps, you’ll also need to replace it more often.
We recommend using a high-quality clay-clumping litter so that you can promptly dispose of both urine clumps and feces—leading to longer-lasting litter!
Clean the litter box monthly or quarterly
Now, don’t overlook the litter box container itself. Whether it’s a traditional litter box or automatic litter box, you’ll want to regularly give it a good cleaning (just as you would your own toilet!). Again, how often you clean it depends on how many cats you have and just how messy they are. But at a minimum, you should clean the litter box itself every 1-3 months.
How to clean a litter box: the methods
Scooping, replacing cat litter, or cleaning the litter box itself—it’s always best to have a pair of disposable gloves on hand! Cats may shed bacteria or parasites in their waste that can be passed to humans. Most people don’t need to worry about contracting diseases from their cat, but it’s particularly important that pregnant women and immunosuppressed cat parents wear gloves when cleaning the litter box. (Even better: Have someone else clean the litter box for you!)
Ensure your scoop is well-designed
If you must scoop, use a shovel that is ergonomically designed. That means easy for you to grip, with tines that are wide enough to sift clean litter and narrow enough to catch all the clumps. The shovel should also be hardy enough to scrape away tough spots with ease, such as this aluminum alloy scoop.
Use an unscented, pet-friendly cleaner
When it comes to cleaning the actual litter box, we recommend using an unscented and pet-safe cleaner spray or wipes. Cats are very sensitive to odors, many of which end up in cleaning products. If the litter box suddenly smells of a lingering fragrance that your cat hates, they probably won’t use it!
Avoid harsh chemicals
Many household cleaners contain ingredients that are toxic to our furry family members. Avoid cleaning products that contain the following: bleach, ammonia, isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, chemicals that have the word “phenol”, glycol ethers, and formaldehyde.
How to clean Litter-Robot
When it comes to how to clean a litter box, you have a little more flexibility with an automatic litter box like Litter-Robot. You don’t have to scoop daily (or ever!). And you may only have to replace your litter monthly because the patented sifting process removes only the clumps, preserving the clean litter.
However, you’ll still want to clean your Litter-Robot every 1-3 months. Depending on your personal preference and your cat’s behavior, we also recommend deep cleaning your Litter-Robot approximately three times per year. The four-part system (base, globe, bonnet, and drawer) was constructed with easy upkeep in mind.
Clean your globe with a pet-safe cleaner
Our pet-friendly, fragrance-free cleaner comes as a spray or wipes. Safe, all-natural ingredients include water, high-count good bacteria, and amino acidic enzymes. You can use this cleaner directly on the Litter-Robot globe. (Avoid spraying or wiping wires and electronic components.)
How to deep-clean your Litter-Robot
CAUTION: The base and bonnet of Litter-Robot contain electrical components that should not be submerged.
- Press the Empty button to completely empty the Litter-Robot globe of litter into the drawer for easy disposal. Sweep any leftover litter toward the waste port. Ensure that all litter has been removed from the globe—wet litter turns into messy clay!
- Turn Litter-Robot off and unplug the unit.
- Remove the bonnet: Press and release the snap tabs on both sides of the bonnet, then lift and rotate the bonnet off of the globe and carefully set it aside.
- Remove the globe: With two hands, lift the globe off the base.
- Clean the globe with our cleaning wipes or spray, or with water and a mild soap. There are no electronic components in the globe that can be damaged by soap and water. If the globe has become extremely dirty, it can be soaked and cleaned with a water hose.
- Let the globe dry completely before reassembling it to the base and attaching the bonnet.
Now that you have tips on how to clean a litter box, you can work this important (albeit undesirable) task into your routine!
*Note: Packaging for our cleaner products may vary.