Litter Box Cleaning Hacks

I’ve now experimented with just about every brand of cat litter on the market – from the cheapest to rolled up newspaper pellets. I FINALLY found my go-to favorite natural cat litter and best clumping cat litter, which you can check out here.

After many trials and errors, I’ve finally found the right combination of litter box, litter, cleaning system, and a little diy to keep the litter box area clean and deodorized as much as possible with as little work as possible (still involves some work though which you cannot avoid unless you hire a litter box cleaner).  

Here’s my tried, tested and true ultimate guide to a clean and easy-cleaning cat litter box.

Best Cat Litter Box

Are you surprised to see that my recommended cat litter box is a $20 run-of-the-mill plastic litter box?? I’ve tried the automatic litter box and the disposable litter boxes and learned the hard way that an automatic litter box often leaves even more of a mess to clean up.

Did I also mention that I don’t like spending a fortune on things that I think can be accomplished more functionally and inexpensively??

In other words, I’m not going to spend $150 on cat litter furniture. Why? Because it has no functional purpose! My goal is to have the easiest clean-up job and the last amount of odor. With the cat litter box furniture, I would have to crawl in the hole and clean the inside, vacuum up the loose litter and wipe down the inside of the cat litter furniture. Yikes, sounds to me that inside of that litter box furniture isn’t ever going to be cleaned. 

Believe it or not, the best cat litter box I’ve found is the large high-back litter box that you can buy for cheap at Target or a pet shop or also available on Amazon:

extra large litter box

I like the the ones with a high back compared to the shallow pans, because those cats kick the litter out of the litter box.

I tried putting the removable lid on the litter box, but I did not like this, because I had to remove the lid to scoop the poo and pee which was extra work. Also, Nala the princess, rubs her paws on the sides of the lid to clean her paws after she takes care of business, so I would have traces of poo and pee stuck on the inside of the lid – again, extra work, so no thanks.

Once you have the litter box (one per cat in your household), now comes the DIY litter box cleaning hacks to keep the litter box area clean and for easy clean-up setup.

Litter Box Cleaning Hacks

1. Line the empty litter box with a pet potty training pee pad.

pet potty training pee pads | best litter box diy

2. Cover the pee pad lined litter box with a large garbage bag. You can use any large garbage bags you find at the grocery store. Something like this will do. 

best diy cat litter box

3. Then again, line another layer of pee pad and then cover with another garbage bag (so you have a layer of pee pad, garbage bag, pee pad and garbage bag).

clean cat litter box

4. Then fill it up with litter. I have 2 cats so I repeat the above steps to 2 litter boxes.

best clean cat litter box diy

The litter in hear lasts about 1.5 – 2 weeks. I scoop the poo and pee clumps everyday when I take out my own garbage. I just top up fresh litter after when it gets low, which is after a week.

After 2 weeks, I untie the garbage bags and basically undress the garbage bag off of the litter box inside out. That way, when you flip the garbage bag inside out, all the litter and the pee pad stays inside and I don’t have to touch anything.

This is by far the best system I’ve come up with. I don’t ever have to wipe down the litter boxes because the 2 garbage bags and the 2 pee pads make sure to keep the poo and pee from ever touching the litter box.

I flip the garbage bag inside out when I take it off after 2 weeks so easy and no-mess clean-up.

How to Keep Litter Box Area Clean

Now as an extra measure to avoid the cats kicking cat litter everywhere outside the litter box, I make a DIY box enclosure for the litter boxes. To make this box enclosure, you need 2 regular sized moving boxes and tape them together to make a box enclosure for the litter boxes.

diy cat litter box

Assemble one box and then cut one side of the box open and cut the top. You should have a box that has 3 sides standing and no top.

Then to the second box, cut open 2 of the sides and the top so that you have a box with 2 sides standing. Join those two together so that you get one open box with 2 long sides.

You can buy the moving boxes for ~$1.50 per box at a local hardware store or if you’d rather just order them from Amazon or any online store, you can get something like this set of medium-sized moving boxes.

As you can see in the picture, I line the bottom with the extra unused portion of the cardboard and also put a small rug/carpet under so that it tracks the litter when the cats come out of the litter box.

Easy Scoop Up 

I scoop up the poo and pee everyday when I take out my garbage. Beside the litter boxes, I have a scooper and doggy poo bags handy so that I can easily scoop up the clumped poo and pee, tie the tiny poop bags and throw it out with my garbage. This is the scooper I use that I got from Amazon. 

best cat litter scooper

Litter Box Odor Air Purifier

First and foremost, scoop up the poo and pee and throw it out everyday! If you follow the system above that I laid out, it’s not a lot of work at all. It becomes a part of the routine when you leave the house in the morning to go to work and when you have to throw out your garbage anyway.

Secondly, this is a HUGE help in getting rid of the bad odor around your litter box area. Using an air purifier with HEPA filter 99.97% designated to fight odorous air particles around the litter box area really helps (my recommendation for air purifier here).

I smell a huge difference when I move the air purifier to use it in my living room. If I don’t have an air purifier around the litter box area, then the smell of the litter combined with the ammonia from the pee lingers in the area for a while. I have the air purifier pointed at the litter boxes on all day. 

diy cat litter box | how to keep litter clean

Automatic Litter Box Doesn’t Work

Before I summarize my post on keeping the litter box clean, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my thoughts on automatic litter boxes. I tried the LitterMaid automatic litter box for a few months. And I was truly disappointed.

First of all, you have to replace the cartridge that acts as a repository of the clumped poo and pee, and the cartridges are not cheap. Second, you have to buy the carbon filters that are supposed to absorb the bad odor. These also are not cheap.

But most importantly and worst of all, the rake that passes through the litter the traps the clumps of poo and pee before they get deposited into the cartridge get poo and pee stuck on the teeth of the rake. It is so disgusting to clean it off and because the grossness gets stuck between the teeth of the rake, it’s really hard to clean it off unless you really get in there and scrub each tooth of the rake.

Most automatic litter boxes are similar and pose a similar problem. I don’t want to have to clean the self-cleaning litter box. It defeats the purpose. I do not recommend it.

Summary

In conclusion, I have the cat litter box system DOWN. After many tries of this and that, I have a system that lets me scoop up the poo and pee litter everyday easily like a routine, a bi-weekly clean-up and replacement of the litter without ever having to wipe down the litter box and a DIY box enclosure to keep the litter from flying around everywhere and finally an air purifier that keeps the litter box area odorless and clean smelling. Using a natural cat litter that’s not toxic for your cats but is also good at capturing odor helps too.

I hope you found this post helpful. I am very happy to share these tips and tricks because it took a lot of determination to try different things to get to this place.