Tips for Cleaning a Cat’s Litterbox and Bowls

cat litter box cleaning

cat litter box cleaningCats have a reputation for being clean animals, but that doesn’t mean that they clean the house, nor that they don’t need a certain amount of help from their human carers, in particular in terms of cleaning all their paraphernalia. This is essential both for general household hygiene and because cats actually prefer clean things around them. This means cleaning their feeding bowls every day, their litter tray weekly, and their sleeping area on a regular basis.


The best way to is to line the litter box with a plastic garbage bag and then pour the litter into that. This saves the litter box itself coming into contact with the urine and faeces. Soiled litter should be removed daily and the tray and scoop cleaned, disinfected and rinsed at least weekly. Avoid disinfectants containing phenol, carbolic acid or any coal-tar chemicals, all of which can be absorbed through the skin and poison the cat.

Use one of the quaternary ammonium group of disinfectants, such as cetrimide. Bleach may be used but it can whiten coloured surfaces or cause white surfaces to go yellow. If in doubt, consult your chemist.

If the floor is soiled, clean it thoroughly (using rubber gloves kept exclusively for the purpose), not only because it is dirty but also because a cat is attracted by its own scent and may well choose that area again. Apply vinegar to remove the smell.

Cats are pernickety creatures — but they’d rather play with your cleaning materials than let you use them! Keep plenty of kitchen roll handy when house training kittens, and wash food bowls daily.

It is rare for humans to catch any particular diseases from cats, and any problems are more likely to be concerned with allergies than with actual illnesses. However, dirt (whether caused by humans or cats) is known to harbour harmful microbes, so cleaning up after your cat is no more than a question of basic, common-sense hygiene. This is obviously particularly important when it comes to personal matters concerning both ends of the cat (to do with eating and defecating or urinating) hence the importance of paying attention to the cleanliness of the cat’s feeding bowls and litter tray.

Cats are good at keeping themselves clean, but that’s as far as it goes. Everything else is up to you.


The bowls that your cat uses for food, water and milk should be kept scrupulously clean as they probably harbour germs. They should be washed daily in hot soapy water and should always be rinsed thoroughly.


  • Your cat may stop sleeping in its usual place as soon as it becomes dirty. Regular washing of covers and cushions should prevent smells from building up and will also help keep fleas at bay. Avoid strong-smelling solutions to which it might object.
  • A pregnant woman should not touch a cat’s litter tray, in case of any chance of infection from toxoplasmosis, which carries a small risk of miscarriage or deformity in an unborn child. It’s therefore advisable for someone else in the house to change the litter and clean the tray.
  • Separate the cat’s eating bowls from other household bowls as they are likely to harbour harmful bacteria.
  • Skin problems are probably the most common diseases that humans can catch from their cats, but although they can be a nuisance, they are unlikely to be anything more serious than that.
  • Cats will return to the same corner to urinate (if they can’t use their cat flap or litter tray). Clean the area thoroughly with disinfectant, and use vinegar to counteract any smells that might attract your cat back to the corner.