Can You Put Baking Soda in Cat Litter?

can you put baking soda in cat litter

Can you put baking soda in cat litter? I was confused the first time someone recommended sprinkling baking soda on my cat’s litter tray. But, I was surprised to learn that baking soda can make an excellent cat litter deodorizer. However, before running to the kitchen, be aware that excessive baking soda can harm your cat, or deter them from using the litter tray. If you want to try using baking soda to neutralize smells, introduce it in small amounts and monitor your kitty’s reactions. In this guide, I’ll take a closer look at the safe ways to use baking soda in cat litter, and how exactly it works to get rid of bad smells.


What is Baking Soda?

Baking soda is the common name for sodium hydrogen carbonate, also known as sodium bicarbonate. It is an alkaline compound that neutralizes acids to form salts, water, and carbon dioxide. Baking soda is a popular kitchen ingredient that you can purchase from any grocery store. It is the white powder that gives cakes and pancakes their fluff. But, this kitchen ingredient also has an interesting use for our cats and cat litter.

Can You Put Baking Soda in Cat Litter?

Baking soda is a popular cleaning agent as well as a baking ingredient. If you like home remedies for cleaning things, you’ve probably used baking soda and vinegar or lemon juice. But, many pet owners happily use baking soda as a great way to eliminate bad smells around their cat’s litter tray. Let’s take a closer look at how this works.

Why Do People Put Baking Soda in Cat Litter?

Baking soda is known for its odor-absorbing properties. Many people use it in refrigerators and laundry appliances. Among felines, it is used to eliminate the odor from cat pee. Contrary to popular belief, fresh cat urine does not smell that bad. It only becomes a problem when it is ignored.

Cat urine contains uric acid, urea, and other electrolytes. When left to sit, bacteria act on the urine decomposing the urea to ammonia. Ammonia is the colorless gas that gives urine its pungent smell. Baking soda neutralizes uric acid and binds with ammonia. Without ammonia, there is no odor.

Commercial litter box deodorizers use enzymes to speed up urine decomposition. This process is known as urine hydrolysis. The enzymes quickly break down urea into ammonia and carbon dioxide. Both gasses evaporate quickly, and the odor dissipates fast. However, enzymes have a short life, and their efficiency reduces with age. Many people prefer sodium bicarbonate for its long shelf life, low cost, and availability.

can you put baking soda in cat litter

Is it Safe to Put Baking Soda in Cat Litter?

Yes, adding baking soda to cat litter is generally safe, but only in the proper quantity. Keep a close eye on your cat’s reaction and health when you start using baking soda in their litter tray. Only use a very small amount. If you notice any irritation, including itchy or red skin, or reluctance to use the litter tray, you should stop using baking soda.

Baking soda can also irritate our cat’s airways and cause breathing issues. It comes in a very fine powder form, so your cat is likely to breathe it in when they’re using their litter tray. Use a very small amount of baking soda to prevent this. But, if you still notice any signs of breathing problems, stop using baking soda in your cat’s litter.

Baking soda is a natural and readily available cat litter deodorizer. However, it is not an excuse to neglect your cleaning duties. Dirty litter trays are bad for our cats, just as they are frustrating for us. So, whilst baking soda can be a good way to feel like your litter tray is cleaner, you still need to remove waste as you normally would.

Pros of Putting Baking Soda in Cat Litter

There are 5 major pros that make people want to use baking soda in their cat litter. They are:

  • Odor management
  • Eases cleaning
  • Saves money
  • Works with all types of litter
  • Disrupts the flea life cycle

Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.

1. Odor Management

Baking soda is effective in managing litter odor. It neutralizes uric acid and binds with ammonia. Without ammonia, there is no pungent litter smell.

2. Eases Litter Box Cleaning

Once in a while, you must empty the litter box and clean it. Baking soda is an abrasive powder you can use to scrub litter boxes. It also eliminates odor. So, you might find the cleaning process easier when you start using this ingredient.

3. It Can Save You Money

Adding baking soda to regular cat litter is cheaper than buying scented alternatives. Baking soda is affordable and readily available. You probably have a box of baking soda in your pantry.

4. It Works With All Types of Litter

Baking soda is compatible with both clumping and non-clumping litter. It can even work with pellets. You do not have to switch to a different brand to use baking soda.

5. It Disrupts the Flea Life Cycle

Fleas are a nightmare for all cat parents. Baking soda is a dehydrating agent that kills flea larvae and eggs. By disrupting these life cycle stages, fleas can’t reproduce effectively.

Cons of Putting Baking Soda in Cat Litter

Below are the potential drawbacks of adding baking soda to cat litter:

  • It can deter cats from using litter boxes
  • It can cause respiratory issues
  • Can make you forget to clean the litter tray

We’ve already looked at these points briefly, but let’s examine them closer.

It Can Deter Cats from Using Their Litter Tray

Cats recognize a litter box by the smell of urine it emits. Without this odor, a cat will not know whether it can go to the bathroom on this spot. Baking soda can work too well when used in excess. It is always recommended to use a little sprinkle. Using too much can lead to cats peeing elsewhere in your home, which can create stains and smells that are much harder to remove.

It Can Promote Worse Cleaning Habits

For most cat parents, litter odor is the signal for cleaning time. But without the pungent urine smell, you may forget to scoop out lumps of litter. Ignoring your cleaning duties will lead to a build-up of urine and fecal matter over time. The filth could threaten the health and well-being of your cat. And, it can be much harder and more time consuming to clean when you do start the process.

It Can Cause Respiratory Issues

Baking soda is a powder, and using a lot of it can promote dust. Dust is dangerous for both you and your kitty. Dust may lead to respiratory issues like asthma and nasal irritation.

How to Add Baking Soda to Cat Litter

You can avoid some of the problems associated with baking soda by making sure that you aren’t using too much. But, how much is too much? Here are my top tips for using baking soda in your cat’s litter.

1. Empty and Clean the Litter Box

Empty your litter box of any leftover litter and clean it with a soap solution. Scrub the bin, paying attention to the corners of the box. Rinse the bin with clean water. Rinse the litter bin with a 10% bleach solution to disinfect the litter box. The bleach sanitizes the litter box, killing any fecal bacteria. Dry the litter box with a clean towel.

2. Sprinkle Baking Powder on the Bottom

Sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda at the bottom of the litter box. When doing this, ensure you cover the spots where your kitty prefers to pee. Do not neglect the corners. A thin layer will be enough here, you don’t need too much.

3. Add Your Litter

Add about three-quarters of the total litter that you usually add. Clumping litter is best since it is easier to clean than non-clumping litter. But if you do not have clumping litter, use whatever you have. Spread the litter around over your first thin layer of baking soda.

4. Add Another Layer or Baking Soda

Sprinkle another thin layer of baking soda. If the litter’s surface is white, you have added too much baking soda. A light sprinkle will do. This layer of baking soda is the first line of defense against urine. Any pee trickling beyond this layer will be arrested by the bottom layer of baking soda.

5. Add Your Final Layer of Litter

Add the remaining quarter of litter, then spread it around. Congratulations, your litter box is ready! With this layered (sandwich) profile, your kitty gets to mix the upper layers of litter and baking soda whenever it digs a hole. Remember to scoop out clumps of litter at least once a day. Deep cleaning is recommended at least once a month.

Can You Put Baking Soda in Cat Litter? Final Thoughts

Baking soda can be a great way to combat a smelly litter tray. But, using too much could eliminate all odors and deter the cat from using the litter box. It is difficult for a cat to recognize a litter box when it cannot smell pee. If you try using baking soda, keep an eye on your cat’s reaction and stop using it if you notice any physical or respiratory irritation!

More Cat Guides and Help



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here