How To Neutralize Ammonia in Cat Litter

Handling the little odor is a part of raising pets. But how to neutralize the ammonia in cat litter and avoid it from spreading throughout your home? Other cat keepers share the same problem. Thankfully, manufacturers in the industry have provided some solutions to deal with it.

In this article, we will discuss the 11 most powerful tips. Let’s join us and learn how to give your pets the best treat!

How to neutralize the ammonia in cat litter?

Two main ways to address this issue are cleaning the litter box with powerful ingredients and using a box that can cope with ammonia by itself. We will break them into different parts so that you can catch up easier.

Clean the litter box frequently

Cleaning is the most straightforward method for eliminating your pet’s ammonia odor. It would be best to give it a treat at least once a week.

But how to clean the litter box in an apartment?

There are several methods to choose from:

Pet wipes

Pet wipes

High-quality pet wipes come with natural ingredients, making them a gentle choice for your pets. You can use it to wipe the litter box directly. The drawback of this method is its high cost. Moreover, you may not find the wipes at your local store.

Wet soapy sponge

Wet soapy sponge

For this cleaning task, you can use an all-purpose sponge and a moderate, odorless detergent. Here is how to do it:

  • Wet the new sponge enough to make suds.
  • Empty the litter box.
  • Scrub the surface using the wet sponge.
  • Dry the box before filling it with the litter. Remember not to soap the residue on the box.
  • Throw the sponge away because it’s too dirty to use again.

Disinfectant wipes

Disinfectant wipes

Disinfectant wipes can be an excellent choice if your pet doesn’t like the scents often included in commercial wipes. Utilizing these wipes has several benefits.

First, it’s simpler to maintain the chemical sanitization and relaxing scent of the litter box. Second, most disinfectant wipes don’t have odors that will annoy your pets.

As disinfectant wipes destroy hazardous viruses and bacteria, they are safe to use. Yet, to get rid of the residue left, you must water-rinse the box.

Please note that chemicals found in disinfectant wipes pose a risk to cats when they come into contact with them directly. Hence, damping paper towels to clean the litter box after emptying and wiping it is necessary.

Switch of scented cat litter

scented cat litter

How to keep litter boxes from smelling up the house? The irritating odor may come from the litter itself. If this is your case, we suggest switching the existing litter to other options. The following ideas may work for you:

  • Fresh Step Extreme: This crystal litter can handle the most offensive smells. Another benefit of this product is that it can last for a long time until the next replacement. It’s also easy to clean.
  • Arm & Hammer Platinum: Baking soda is the primary component for this kind of litter. It does a good job of locking and controlling odors.
  • Naturally Fresh: As the name implies, this product comes with a natural scent since its components are walnuts.

Covered litter boxes

Covered litter boxes

A covered litter box is a box with a hood. The hooded structure prevents the smell from spreading within your house. Besides, this option comes with several benefits, such as:

  • You don’t have to look at your pet’s waste between the scoops.
  • The enclosed tray prevents your pet from flicking its litter out.
  • Dogs may access the urine in the litter and spread illnesses. Yet, the hooded layout doesn’t allow this access.
  • Your pet will have more privacy with its covered tray.

However, some people don’t like this idea because of its drawbacks.

  • The biggest problem is that the enclosed box will hold smells. Your pet will get overwhelmed in there if you don’t replace the litter regularly.
  • Cats may feel trapped in a covered container.
  • Once it gets bigger, it can’t even move freely in the tray.

Self-cleaning litter boxes

Self-cleaning litter boxes

Self-cleaning litter boxes are available in different shapes and designs, but they all function by raking, filtering, and flushing your pet’s waste to remove any clumps and prevent it from sticking inside the unit.

Most contemporary versions feature sensors that recognize when your cat is inside the box and start the cleaning procedure when it leaves. Then, it will flush the waste or move it to the drawer.

Here are some pros and cons to expect when using these products:

  • Pocket-friendly
  • Easy to use
  • Put your cat litter in control
  • Expensive cartridges

Litter Genie Plus

Litter Genie Plus

The Little Genie is already good, but when you want some more decent features, Little Genie Plus comes in. Interestingly, the company still charges you the same, which is only $15 per product.

First and foremost, this model is available in different option colors when compared to the original one: navy, espresso, and black.

Similar to Litter Genie, the question of how to dispose of cat litter has become easier than ever before. Besides, the Litter Genie Plus refill is 30% more long-lasting than that of the original version, while still offering standard quality.

What is more, the product gives you absolute control over unwanted odor thanks to the addition of built-in antimicrobial protection.
Flaunting such amazing features, the Litter Genie Plus can be expensive when including the cost of the bags. However, it is a foregone conclusion that the model is among one of the best waste systems for cats currently available.

  • The machine can run its cleaning process within minutes.
  • All you have to do is dispose of the waste in the drawer because the automatic toilet has done everything.
  • You can monitor your pet’s toileting habits using an app.
  • The drawer is good at controlling nasty odors.
  • These items require special granules, which are more costly than regular products.
  • You need to maintain the unit more frequently.
  • Your pet may not like the noise and the type of litter.
  • The sensor doesn’t work for kittens.

Using cat litter deodorizer

Using cat litter deodorizer

How to neutralize ammonia smell? Some cat owners use litter deodorizers to absorb the ammonia stink and trap it, leaving the litter box with a fresh scent.

These products are extremely effective because of their capacity to absorb odors since they entirely remove the urea odor from the air instead of concealing it with another pleasant-smelling aroma.

So, how can you use the deodorizer for your litter box?

It depends on which type of product you use.

  • Powder: Sprinkle some deodorizer powder on the bottom of the box, pour the litter, and finally add some powder on the top.
  • Spray: Simply spray the solution on the top of the litter to neutralize the odor.

One pro tip for this method is to add some of it to the litter box whenever your pet uses it for optimal smell coverage.

If you want to try this solution, consider its pros and cons first.

  • The powder particles are big, producing less mess.
  • The scent is pleasant to both humans and cats.
  • You can use it easily by spraying or sprinkling on the litter.
  • It’s expensive compared to some DIY solutions, like baking soda.
  • Some products come with an intense scent.

Add baking soda

Add baking soda

Baking soda is a natural odor neutralizer. Many brands have used this ingredient in their cleansing products, from laundry to counters, and litter is no exception.

Since baking soda comes in a powder form, all you have to do is sprinkle it at the bottom of the litter box. Then, it will work as an odor-absorbent material.

Baking soda is a popular choice for handling the unwanted smell in many households. Yet, it does have pros and cons.

  • This natural solution is suitable for your house and your feline buddy.
  • There won’t be the need to scoop your litter box frequently.
  • The litter clump will become drier and harder when blending with baking soda, making it easy to clean.
  • Using this popular powder is a cost-effective solution.
  • The dust can be harmful to your pets and your lungs.
  • Since you don’t have to scoop the box often, feces and urine may accumulate over time.
  • Some cats dislike being surrounded by the sodium hydrogen carbonate from baking soda.

Coffee grounds

Filter bag coffee ground

Coffee grounds can neutralize the ammonia smell nicely. Most people don’t use this method because the drawbacks outweigh the benefits.

For example:

Cats are more sensitive and prone to caffeine than us. A large number of coffee grounds will affect your pets negatively. The ground may stick to your pet’s claws. When the cat grooms, the coffee grounds will transfer to its fur and skin, leading to disease or even death.

You can also use coffee grounds to reduce the unpleasant smell, but only by pouring a little of it into a bowl and placing it near your litter box.

Pineapple candle

Pineapple Candle

Instead of just concealing offensive smells, this innovative candle employs powerful enzymes to battle and neutralize them. Its scent can last for up to two weeks or until the pineapple dries out. You can even use it without burning the candles.

Here is how to make the pineapple candle:

  1. Use a sharp knife to slice off the top of the pineapple.
  2. Core out the fruit center from top to bottom.
  3. Carve out the fruit using a carving saw to form a shape. The bigger the shape, the more area the pineapple scent can spread.
  4. Light the candle and put it inside the fruit.

Benefits and drawbacks of this method include:

  • Pineapple candles can deal with many kinds of odors.
  • This project is simple to carry out with easy-to-find tools and ingredients.
  • The scent released is natural and pleasant.
  • The candle can’t remove ammonia smells completely.

Take your cat to the vet

Visit the veterinarian

A harsher ammonia smell may come from more concentrated urine than normal. There are two reasons for this symptom: dehydration or bladder infection.

So when your litter box smells like ammonia, take your pet to the vet as it can be a medical issue and lead to a stronger-than-usual odor.

Air purifiers

Air Purifiers

Most air fresheners can mask odors but not completely eliminate them. Moreover, some have harmful chemicals to both you and your pet.

So, how to get rid of the cat litter smell in the apartment? You can buy an air purifier that actually removes many toxins, such as ammonia and the microorganisms floating around.

These items offer a lot of benefits, and the biggest problem is their high price. Some people are unwilling to pay a lot of money for them while they can still choose a more cost-effective solution.

Carbon filter

Carbon filter

You can lay carbon filter sheets on a litter liner or the bottom of your litter tray. The activated charcoal in the sheets can trap and remove urine odors.

Commercial litter boxes have slots for the sheets. They resemble cassettes housed inside of a plastic frame.

  • The large surface can catch a lot of smell.
  • You can place the sheets in your litter box within seconds.
  • Activated carbon has incredible absorbent properties.
  • Some homemade litter boxes do not have a slot for the filters.
  • Check for the thickness because sheets are from a few manufacturers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much baking soda do I put in cat litter?

Too much sodium bicarbonate in the litter box is not a good idea. Instead, you should go for a tiny amount, about one or two tablespoons per box. If there isn’t enough baking soda in the tray, you can increase it to three tablespoons.

What does it mean when cat litter smells like ammonia?

Cat urine has ammonia. The litter works by absorbing the urine and then drying it out. This process leaves ammonia behind and causes an annoying odor.

What are the side effects of breathing cat urine ammonia? Ammonia is a respiratory irritant that can make people and cats experience asthma and other respiratory diseases. For example:

  • At a moderate level: Ammonia can cause vomiting and nausea.
  • At a high level: You and your cats will feel burning in the throat, nose, and eyes.

Many cats decide to hold in their urine rather than using an awful litter box. Toxin accumulation and other urinary issues may occur as a result.


There are two methods to deal with the ammonia stuck in your pet’s litter box:

  • Choose the box that can treat the smell, like the self-cleaning or covered model
  • Clean the litter box regularly (with baking soda, litter deodorizer, etc.)

Hopefully, our guide can help you eliminate the unpleasant ammonia odor in your pet’s area and your home. For any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading!

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