The Best Essential Oils To Reduce Cat Litter Box Odor

If you have a cat, you know that one of the biggest challenges is keeping the litter box odors at bay. Or at the very least, confined to the box and not spreading through your home. While stores and online retailers are filled with deodorizing products, scented litters, and neutralizing agents, they may be among the slew of chemicals we want to avoid inundating our homes with, for both us and our pets. Essential oils, which have long been a more natural option for both fostering and covering up scents, are a great solution, allowing a number of choices to find our favorite scent. But which ones are best for masking pet odors? Which essential oils are safe for cats? What is the best way to use them to combat the litter box smell?

Experts agree that direct use of essential oils around cats can be dangerous, particularly undiluted oils that contain phenols. This substance is present in some of the bestselling essential oils for aromatherapy, including citrus-based varieties, peppermint, cinnamon, and tea tree oil. While direct use and contact can make your cat ill (usually through accidental ingestion) there are still many ways that you can safely put oils to work for you in combatting litter box smells.

Safe ways to combat littler box odors with essential oils

Some of the best ways to stop bad smells in the home are essential oil sprays and diffusers. Oils that work well to combat and neutralize cat box smells include citruses like lemon and orange oil, as well as lavender, spearmint, peppermint, and cedarwood. Try making a mixture of 2 cups of water and 20-25 drops of your favorite oil to use instead of store-bought sprays. Peppermint and citrus are also scents cats will likely want to avoid, so if accidents or marking have been an issue, they can work to deter cats from problem areas and prevent repeats. Since a number of these oils in high concentrations can be the most dangerous if directly ingested, make sure to keep your homemade sprays out of reach of pets. Recommended phenol-free oils for safe diffusion around or near litter boxes around cats include frankincense, lavender, and chamomile. Other experts recommend catnip, thyme, olive, and honeysuckle as wholly pet-safe options. 

While some veterinary professionals recommend making a mixture of oils and baking soda to neutralize box odors at the source by mixing them in with fresh litter, check labels for phenol as an ingredient before using it in such a high-contact place. You can also utilize a more diluted essential oil blend for safety. Add 1-2 drops of oil to 1 cup of baking soda and allow to rest in a jar overnight. Add a small amount (around 1 tablespoon) to the litter each day for best results.