Safe & Fast Way to Clean Cat Litter Box

When you think of dangerous activities, you may think of skydiving or mountain climbing. You certainly don’t think about cleaning your cat’s litter box!

Although you may not realize it, cleaning the litter box can be hazardous to your health. Here, we show you the safest way to accomplish this unpleasant task, so you can give your pet a clean bathroom — without having to end up in the hospital in the process.


Cleaning the Trash Is Dangerous?

Most people don’t realize it, but coming into contact with cat urine and feces can expose you to all sorts of potentially dangerous illnesses. Here are some of the most common.

  • Toxoplasmosis

Caused by the parasite Toxoplamsa gondii, which cats can catch by eating raw or undercooked meat, toxoplasmosis can cause flu-like symptoms in most people.

However, pregnant or lactating people should avoid it at all costs, as it can cause birth defects or be passed on to the child while breastfeeding. Those with weakened immune systems should also be careful, as it can cause severe symptoms such as seizures or lung problems.

  • Campylobacteriosis

These bacteria – also contracted by eating raw meat – will cause bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps in those who are infected. Usually, you can avoid this by washing your hands thoroughly after cleaning the litter box.

  • Giardiasis

Instead of being caused by raw meat, these parasites are carried when your cat drinks contaminated water. They pass it on through their stools (which will be foamy, greasy, or loose), and if you catch them, you can experience cramping, bloating, nausea, and watery diarrhea.

  • Roundworm

If you notice little things that look like spaghetti coming out of your cat’s feces, congratulations, your cat has roundworms. If they enter your system, you can suffer from cramps, organ damage, or blindness. Their eggs can survive outside the host for years.

  • Ammonia

Cat urine is full of ammonia, and exposure to ammonia can cause damage to the mouth, throat, and stomach. Luckily, you won’t come into contact with harmful amounts of ammonia through your cat unless you have a lot of ammonia and never clean the litter box.

Before You Begin: Get the Right Tools

Cat litter box cleaning II_borzywoj_Shutterstock

You may think that all you need to clean the litter box is a shovel and something to take out the trash, but do you really want to take any chances with any of the ailments mentioned above?

You will need a mask and a pair of rubber gloves, just to be safe. This may sound like an exaggeration, but you’d expect to wear it if you have bloody diarrhea or blindness or the other horrible things that can happen if you catch something in your cat’s feces.

Keep a trash can with a heavy bag near you, especially if you replace all the trash. You don’t want to carry a box full of used trash all the way, because jostling creates dust, and there’s always a risk that you might fall and send it flying all over the place (or worse, getting stuck in it).

You should also keep other equipment close at hand, such as dirt and replacement coatings, deodorizer, or anything else you may need.

Cleaning vs Shoveling: What’s the Difference?

Scooping cat litter box_Ninotee_Shutterstock

You should take care of your cat’s litter box every day. This means taking the time to pick up any lumps of trash you see in them and toss them in the trash or throw them in a storage container.

This will not only keep your home fresh and your cat’s bathroom clean and healthy, it will also force you to look at your cat’s litter. This is a good way to keep an eye on their health, because you’ll want to know as soon as possible if they’re not urinating a lot or having diarrhea or something like that.

Cleaning, on the other hand, involves replacing any debris in the box and scrubbing the box itself. This is a much more thorough and involved job, and it should be done every few months, even if you are very thorough in your daily scooping.

If you use a dirt liner, you may not need to clean the box yourself unless there is a leak. All you may need to do is replace the liner and fill it with new trash.

The Fast and Safe Way to Clean the Litter Box

If you don’t use a liner, you’ll need to clean the box thoroughly to make sure your cat stays healthy and happy.

1. Start by throwing all used trash into your trash can.

Be careful, as this will create a lot of dust, so you may want to leave the job to someone else if you have breathing problems. You should also do it outside, unless you like having a thin layer of mud on top of all your stuff.

2. Next, rinse the dirt that remains from the box, and scrub with soap.

Choose soaps that are odorless and leave no residue, as strong-smelling soaps can cause your cat to want to avoid the litter box after cleaning. You should also scrub the spoon and lid.

3. After you’re done scrubbing, rinse everything outside with a garden hose or pressure washer.

You don’t want dirty trash left in your kitchen sink or coming into contact with your loofah.

See also: 11 Humane Ways To Repel Cats From Your Flower Bed

4. You should take this opportunity to inspect the box for cracks, deep scratches, or other damage.

You don’t want dirt (or something worse) to leak out, and scratches provide an opening for germs to hide in, making it difficult to thoroughly clean the box even if you try.

5. Once all this is done, you can dry it or wipe it off.

You can air dry the litter box if you have another box handy for your cat to use while it dries). If not, wipe it clean with a paper towel or other cloth. Then, refill it with fresh trash and return it where you found it!

Read Related: The 5 Best Dog-Proof Litter Boxes in 2021 – Top Reviews & Picks


Cleanliness Is Next to Catliness

No one enjoys cleaning their cat’s litter box, but it’s one thing to do. Hopefully, this guide will make the whole process safer and easier the next time you have to, and with any luck, it won’t be a sad task moving forward.

Featured Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

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