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It’s one of the least glamorous parts of pet ownership, but the fact is if you don’t have a way to deal with your cat’s smelliest bathroom trips, you’re going to find it hard to share your home with that animal.
While kitty litter has some odor-fighting properties, chances are it won’t be enough to stop the gnarliest smells from permeating your home. That’s why you need a litter deodorizer.
These products help combat the odors that emanate from the litter box, letting you go longer between cleanings and helping preserve the life of your litter. They’re not all equally effective, though, and in the reviews below we’ll show you which ones work and which ones really stink.
Our Favorite Choices of 2020 Compared:
|Nature's Miracle NMI05857|
|Smiling Paws 001|
|ARM & HAMMER SPOMHNK4083||20oz||4.40/5|
|Fresh Step FF8990||15oz||4.30/5|
The 10 Best Cat Litter Deodorizers (Reviewed):
1. NonScents Cat Litter Deodorizer – Best Overall
In addition to having a clever name, NonScents does a great job of neutralizing odors at their source. Made from a special concentrated zeolite formula, it coats pet waste to eliminate smells, rather than just mask them.
It comes in a helpful little shaker bottle which allows you to easily control how much you apply. This can help target especially noxious messes, too, so if your cat just ate a bunch of tacos and climbed into the litter box with a magazine under her arm, you’ll be prepared. This helps extend the life of your litter, as you won’t have to change a perfectly good box just because there are lingering odors.
There are no perfumes or other chemicals inside, and the deodorizer itself is allegedly scent-free. However, we found that it definitely has a smell of its own, and while it’s not overpowering, it might be an unwelcome surprise for users with sensitive noses.
Still, NonScents smells way better than anything your cat will leave in the litter box, and it’s an easy choice for our top spot.
2. Nature’s Miracle Litter Deodorizer Powder – Best Value
Nature’s Miracle calls itself an “odor destroyer” on the label, and that’s not far from the truth. A little of this stuff goes a long way, so you don’t need to bathe your litter box in it. Just a few sprinkles should be enough to keep odors at bay for a week or so.
As a result, one bottle lasts a very long time. That adds extra value to what was already a great buy, given its low price, and that’s why we feel this is the best cat litter deodorizer for the money.
The granules even help soak up moisture, so in addition to neutralizing smells, they can help contain liquid messes. However, the granules are quite large, and so they don’t mix well with anything other than clay litter.
Also, Nature’s Miracle does have fragrance inside, so you may find yourself overwhelmed by a completely different (but more pleasant) aroma. Still, given how effective and inexpensive it is, that’s hardly a reason to knock it down any lower than second on this list.
3. Smiling Paws Organic Cat Litter Deodorizer – Premium Choice
Smiling Paws Organic is actually a 3-in-1 deodorizer, as it soaks up odors, absorbs moisture, and emits a pleasing aroma of its own. It does all this without using toxic chemicals, and it’s completely biodegradable.
One of the best things about this deodorizer is how quickly it works. After you sprinkle it in the box, the odors are gone. There’s no waiting around to see whether the deodorizer will be able to vanquish the present your kitty left you before she sashayed over to the other end of the house.
Once sprinkled, it does a good job fighting odors from subsequent bathroom visits, too. This makes it a good choice for multi-cat households, as it’s capable of handling several messes before it needs reinforcements.
That’s not to say that Smiling Paws Organic is perfect, however. It is expensive, so you’ll have to decide how much a fresh-smelling home is worth to you. Also, it smells like bubblegum, which some people enjoy — but regardless, that’s an odd thing to smell coming from a litter box.
While this is a fantastic deodorizer, it’s not quite good enough to move past the two options ahead of it.
4. ARM & HAMMER SPOMHNK4083 Cat Litter Deodorizer
This offering from ARM & HAMMER uses baking soda to fight nasty smells, so that horrible poop odor should be quickly replaced by a much cleaner aroma.
It really does smell clean, which is a welcome change from some other deodorizers, which try to douse the litter box in perfume. The odor doesn’t seem to bother pets, either, so your cat won’t be deterred from using the box after an application.
As an added bonus, you can even sprinkle this stuff on your carpet before vacuuming, and it will help lift out pet hair. Given that there are two boxes in each order, you could use one for the litter box and the other for your floors.
The boxes have three large holes in the top and the powder flows freely, so it’s hard to use only a little bit at a time. It doesn’t completely neutralize the odor, either, so you may still detect a faint bit of funk under the baking soda after an especially bad bathroom trip.
All in all, the ARM & HAMMER is a good-but-not-great deodorizer. However, unless you go way too long between box cleanings, you’re unlikely to find much to complain about here.
5. Fresh Step Cat Litter Box Deodorizer
These crystals from Fresh Step eventually dissolve inside the litter box, so there’s no residue left behind for you to clean up. That makes them a great low-maintenance option for any litter box, regardless of the type of litter inside.
The crystals only release their aroma when they come in contact with waste, so there’s no constant odor to deal with. This helps them last longer as well, with little need to constantly refresh the supply. The problem is that sometimes the odor of the waste outlives the smell of the crystals, causing you to have to either dump more in or clean the box. This can also be a problem in multi-cat households, as the crystals might not reactivate if the cats use the box immediately after one another.
That all adds up to a middle-of-the-road deodorizer — and smack dab in the middle of this list is exactly where Fresh Step finds itself.
6. Rocco & Roxie Natural Litter Deodorizer
Regardless of the type of litter you use, Rocco & Roxie Natural should fit right in. The tiny little granules mix well with everything from clay to recycled paper, and they use essential oils to neutralize odors.
The pellets are actually made of corn, which means they’re covered with tiny little pores that help them trap moisture. This makes it an especially powerful weapon against urine odors, while also helping extend the lifespan of your litter by reducing the amount of moisture it has to soak up.
As for how the stuff smells, that’s a double-edged sword. It doesn’t smell good at all (hope you like cloves!), and the scent can be overwhelming at first, but the good news is that it doesn’t last long. In fact, it stops masking odors at all after a day or two.
The smell can be so potent, in fact, that some kitties are put off from using the litter box at all. We consider that to be a negative outcome.
While we can appreciate that your choices are limited when making an all-natural deodorizer, Rocco & Roxie should consider doing some further experimentation if they want to move up this list.
7. Simple Solution Cat Litter Box Deodorizer
Most of the options on this list come in granule or pellet form, but Simple Solution is actually a spray, which allows you to really target the offending waste material. Of course, if you’re going through all the trouble of spraying some poop, you might as well just scoop it out, so it may be of limited value.
The bottle has three settings: stream, foam, and mist. The stream works for targeting individual areas, whereas the mist is best for coating the entire box. You can use the foam to clean the box once it’s empty. Regardless of which setting you choose, you can expect the bottle to clog after a few sprays.
While that’s all well and good, it doesn’t change one of the fundamental issues we have with this spray: by its very nature, it requires adding moisture to cat litter. It doesn’t really clump, but it will form a sort of crust over the litter. This may limit the litter’s ability to absorb moisture, as well as making it less comfortable for your cat.
Simple Solution doesn’t rank this low because it’s a bad product, per se; it’s just a fairly unnecessary one. It might grow on us if they iron out some of the kinks, but for now, it slots in at #7 on this list.
8. FO2RREST Natural Cat Litter Deodorizer
FO2RREST Natural uses active silica to trap and remove odors, so if you already use silica gel litter, this won’t add much value. In other types of litter, though, it does an excellent job of absorbing urine.
That being said, if you flush your litter, you’ll want to skip this deodorizer entirely. The particles are insoluble, so they could do a number on your septic tank over time.
The bottle has two dispensing options, one for sprinkling and another for pouring. This lets you control how much you use — and given how expensive a tiny little bottle is, we can’t imagine anyone using the pour spout unless their last name is Rockefeller. Unfortunately, only using a little bit limits how much good it can do, so you’ll have to either live with the odor or be willing to pony up more money.
FO2RREST Natural has some value in certain specific situations, but overall it has too many limitations for us to recommend it too heartily.
9. Hartz Fresh Scent Deodorizing Litter Beads
Hartz Fresh Scent Deodorizing Beads represent a unique solution to the odor control problem, as they’re much larger than most other options. They’re not really intended to mix with the litter, but rather to sit on top of it and soak up smells that way.
Unfortunately, not mixing with the litter means they also don’t mix with the waste, which limits how much impact they can have. Being exposed to the air also causes them to lose their effectiveness quickly.
Even if they still have some potency left, trying to avoid them when scooping out the box is a real pain. They’re too large to fall through the holes of most scoops, so you’ll have to painstakingly dig around them.
In their defense, they’re one of the least-messy deodorizers on the market, as they create no dust. That’s hardly enough to recommend them, though, which is why Hartz Fresh Scent Deodorizing Beads find themselves all the way down here.
10. Citrus Magic Pet Litter Box Odor Eliminator
If you’ve ever thought that cat poop would be vastly improved if it also smelled faintly of oranges, then Citrus Magic Odor Eliminator may be perfect for you.
As you might have guessed, calling this stuff “Odor Eliminator” is a bit of wishful thinking, as it barely even masks the odors. Instead, it adds a hint of citrus on top of the existing smell, which usually only makes things worse.
It also affects the consistency of the litter, causing it to get thicker and a little sludgy, like it was wet. This makes it more difficult to scoop. There’s no moisture inside as far as we can tell, so we’re not sure what’s causing that, but it’s annoying all the same.
While it doesn’t do much for odors, at least Citrus Magic is made using borax, so it will kill any insects that manage to find their way inside. Then again, that’s not much of a benefit on a deodorizer.
Our favorite deodorizer is NonScents, because it actually helps stop odors rather than just masking them with perfume. It’s also easy to apply and works well on especially nasty clumps, making it a clear choice for the top spot.
Despite its low price point, Nature’s Miracle is both versatile and effective. In addition to stopping odors, it can help soak up moisture, extending the lifespan of your litter (and saving you even more money).
While choosing a litter deodorizer may not be the most important decision you ever make, it can feel like it, especially if you’re trapped in a small apartment with a cat that can clear a room. We hope our reviews helped you find an option that will actually stop smells in their tracks, so you and your cat can coexist peacefully.
Seriously, though — what did your cat eat? Are you feeding him pure horseradish or something?
Roland has been an animal lover all his life, with cats holding a special place in his heart. He is owned by three felines: Wheely, KitzKitz, and Nugget (all rescues) who bring all the laughter and mischievousness one can expect from the feline master race. As the creator of ExcitedCats, his mission is to assist in the search for the best gear to help improve the health and wellbeing of cats everywhere.