How to Clean a Litter Box in an Apartment?

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How To Clean A Litter Box In An Apartment

There are many advantages and disadvantages to living in an apartment. One of the biggest disadvantages is that the space you have for a litter box in an apartment is limited. As a result, you need to consider tracking and smell issues when you’re selecting the right litter box. The best place to clean a litter box in an apartment is the bathroom or bathtub. A bathtub is great because it keeps the mess contained and can be cleaned thoroughly afterward.

But, If your high-rise has rigid animal restriction regulations with no access to a bathtub or outdoor hose, then how to clean a litter box in an apartment properly?

There are several methods for cleaning a cat’s litter box. A combination of these methods will remove the odors and sanitize the litter box. You can choose the method that works best for your situation.

How to clean a litter box in an apartment?

Follow our 7 magical apartment litter box cleaning hacks to claim sanitation with minimal efforts at minimal prices.

Hack No.1: Use Disposable Litter Box

Use Disposable Litter Box

Disposable litter trays are made from recycled papers/plastic and come in handy with pre-loaded litter. You can browse for Cat’s Pride KatKit Disposable Trays or PetSafe Disposable Cat Litter Box since they are the top in terms of amenity and odor control, as reviewed by our writers in the article “Best Disposable Cat Litter”.

In general, they last for a month and you just need to discard them afterward, no extra cleaning is required. Bulk-buying them online won’t break the bank. These trays are most suitable to bring along on holidays or when you have others pet-sit your cat.

How to use:

  1. Open the pre-packed litter and pour it into the box 2-3 inches high to keep the waste afloat and the bottom remains stainless.
  2. Scoop the urine and feces lump away with a shovel and separate waste bag at least once per day to control the odors and sanitation.
  3. For pee chunks, scoop them away with a shovel and seal them tight inside an air-proof container or a biodegradable trash bag to toss out straight away to garbage dumps.
  4. For feces balls, carry them to the bathroom and flush them down with just a tiny bit of litter fragments. While scooping them, place a tissue beneath to prevent leakage.

Hack No.2: Use Self-cleaning Litter Boxes

Use Self-cleaning Litter Boxes

If you are a bit frugal, then this is not your cup of tea as you’ll have to prodigalize a few hundred dollars for the box itself and an extra amount for the designated non-dust litter.

The setup is another dilemma since you will have to assemble a cold water line, and an electrical outlet with a washing machine/toilet drain. This allows the litter box to self-wash and discards waste automatically.

Despite its bulkiness and exorbitant price, this system totally overlooks the need for manual labor, which in turn not only saves your time but also prevents clogged sewage down the bathroom drain when you take the traditional litter box out to rinse.

Hack No.3: Discardable Litter Box Liners

Discardable Litter Box Liners

You can take advantage of vinyl sheets or store-bought liners and coat them on the empty litter box to prevent the litter from coming into contact with the box surface.

To keep the liners in place, you can use drawstrings and fasten the sheets around the box rim or buy a lid-covered pan in the first place. Once having placed the liners at the bottom, pour the litter in and scoop away litter clumps once or twice a day as usual.

If you spot weird smells, it’s time for a replacement and just take the whole liners including the used litter out into the trash can.

As convenient as they may sound, cats just don’t favor them since their tiny cutie pawns are perfectly ready to scratch open the liners, which disables their original purpose of theirs. If you want liners to take effect, you have to declaw your baby, and it’s a splitting headache for every owner.

Hack No.4: Use Flushable Wood Pellet Litter

Wood Pellet Cat Litter

Wood pellets may not be the best cat litter for small apartments, but they are a reasonable alternative to clay litter and last for a good 2-week course. They are liquid comprehensive and if your little boy pees a bit, they would crumble into sawdust at the bottom of the litter pan.

Yet if you witness the sight of some poo-poo, grab it with toilet paper, walk it to the bathroom and give it a fresh flush. If the litter box gives off foul odors or is filled with sawdust, it’s a sign that you must throw the pellets away immediately into the dumpster.

After your little gentleman refreshes himself or is in the process of filtering sawdust out of the litter, wood pellets may scatter everywhere. If you are figuring out how to keep the litter box area clean, just spray some unscented enzymatic/ bio-based cleaners to neutralize bad odors and stains.


Every day when you are excavating the wood pellets to the trash can, please equip yourself with a mask and some pairs of gloves. Even if you’re a cat maniac, we believe you wouldn’t want 3000 pieces of litter dust to land on your skin, so remember to wear gloves while cleaning the sandbox. Because cat litter is supposed to emit excessive ammonia into the atmosphere, wearing masks acts as deterrence to this harmful chemical.

Hack No.5: Use Mild Chemical Wipes

Mild Chemical Wipes

This method fits best for, maybe people with slight OCD about sanitation and keep wiping their house several times a day. The most preferred types of wipes are Clorox or Lysol.

After having scooped away all the litter, use the wipes to scrub the stain on the box. You can rinse the box again in water to eliminate allergic chemicals, but you could also go water-free and use pure wet wipes instead.

Rule of thumb:

Remember to double-wipe with a clean tissue after using Clorox or Lysol – which contains solvent chemicals. Before refilling the litter again, use dry towels to dust out all the residue water.

Any citrus-scented (lemon, orange) Clorox or Lysol wipe is a big no-no as it evokes the smell of cat’s waste and hence, chases the cat away from the litter pan out of his own disgust.

Hack No.6: Use Pet-Specific Wipes

Pet-Specific Wipes

Pet-specific wipes are also a great candidate if you want to go water-free. They’re safer to use than Clorox or Lysol wipes as they don’t contain any harsh chemicals that leave residue after wiping the litter box.

Hence, they may be double the price of Clorox’s or Lysol’s, not to mention, they’re harder to find, so consider making the investment if you’re a busy felinophile with a generous budget.

Rule of thumb:

As you only wipe the box once, the foul smells may still linger. To deodorize the litter box, use baking soda or activated charcoal as they can absorb all irritating odors. Cross out any litter box cleaning spray or perfume at the top of your list, as it would do harm to the cat’s vulnerable nose and lungs.

Hack No.7: Wash the Litter Box in a tub

Wash the Litter Box in a tub

When you live in an apartment, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the less water you use, the better it is. You can’t just lavish water to thoroughly cleanse the box-like hose owners because there’s nowhere for that filthy water to drain.

Thus, you may consider rinsing your cat litter box inside a tub and then using a combo of brush-towel to wash the tub. It’s the most economical and non-chemical way of cleansing.

All you need are soap and maybe a scrubby car wash sponge to scrape all the stains out of the litter box and the tub. It’s a rather achievable task as you only do it once per month.

Spray unscented detergent on the sponge and wet it to create bubbles and foam. After scrubbing the litter box, use dry towels to wipe all the soap residue and extra water lingering on the surface before refilling the litter again.

Rule of thumb:

Do not keep the soiled sponge for next time usage, just throw it away and start brand new.


1. Where should you keep litter boxes in an apartment?

Unlike trained dogs, cats have a clear bias towards shoving their waste into sand-like texture and “take care of their business” in confidential areas. This trait is specifically suggestive of the places we should keep their litter boxes, such as stairway corners or spare rooms’ nooks.

Do not locate your kitten’s litter pan in any confined area such as closets, as cats are anxious about being trapped, said the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The most ideal places to put litter boxes are somewhere tranquil, sanitary, low traffic and private.

Your cat may be so adorable to you that you want to keep him within your sight 24/7, so is putting his litter box in the kitchen feasible? The answer is sad, no, following these two reasons:

  1. Your cat wants to claim his own privacy
  2. He smells hypersensitive and won’t take a dump near his food and water bowl.

The second most to-avoid place is the laundry room. First of all, the odors from your fur ball’s waste will linger on your clean clothes. Not to mention, he just can’t relieve himself amidst all the thump and the bang of the washing machine, as the noise makes him fall out of his comfort zone.

Place the litter box under the toilet-roll

Place under the toilet-roll

Another option for most people is to locate the sandbox inside the bathroom, as by simple science, that’s also where they empty their bladder. To prevent your mischievous boy from toying with the toilet roll, place his litter box under the bottom rack of your cabinet with dismounted doors.

In the same fashion, a cupboard or wardrobe lower shelf with no door is also qualified, private enough for your cat and out-of-sight enough for your guests. Discreet areas between tables, benches, or other furniture are relatively good choices, as long as you don’t mind the smell and scatter.

Skip anywhere that has a carpet present, because your cat may stain it thinking it’s his territory or just because he likes peeing on the carpet’s texture.

2. How often should you clean a litter box?

Litter should be scooped away at least once or twice a day because cats are super wary of hygiene and odors. Imagine it as if humans had to flush right after they “did their things”.

When it comes to scrubbing the box on its own, most people may be a little bit lazy and reluctant, so once per month is an ideal amount of time. You have to scrub all the stains on the box frequently to thwart bacteria, mold, and mildew against forming – the origin of cat diseases and foul odors.

3. When should you replace a litter box?

It depends on you and your cat’s awareness of smells and the types of litter your pawn baby is using. Always keep 1+1 extra box inside your room, in other words, if you have one cat then he needs two boxes.

If your cat’s in love with clumping litter (sodium bentonite, silica), you’ll just have to replace the litter box once a month, while it’s per two weeks for non-clumping type (calcium bentonite).

The reason why there’s discrimination lies in the fact that clumping litter collects waste at the top and vice versa for non-clumping ones.

4. What are the steps for a common litter box cleaning session?

There are usually 5 steps:

  1. Step 1: Equip yourself with masks and gloves
  2. Step 2: Scoop the litter clumps away daily
  3. Step 3: Dispose of the litter properly
  4. Step 4: Refill the litter box up to 2-4 inches high
  5. Step 5: Deodorize the litter box

Bottom Line

Now having reached the final point, you can claim mild know-how about top apartment litter box cleaning hacks. Try to see things from the cat’s eye view and you’ll realize the weight of privacy and clean litter box ambiance in maximizing your cat’s love towards his pan.

Via our 7 water-saving litter box cleaning hacks, go to your table right now and sketch out a whopping shopping list of litter types, box types, location, numbers, sizes, and detergents to flatter your cat at maximum. And remember, share your real experiences on how to clean a litter box in an apartment with us if you’re still puzzled or if this list has helped you improve your life in any way!

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