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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Clean the Cat's Litterbox, Safely

By February 20, 2014

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CatOne of those lovely aromas that wafts from kitty's litterbox is ammonia. What is the last thing you want to mix with ammonia? That would be bleach. You are probably aware that it is dangerous to mix bleach and vinegar or bleach and ammonia because toxic chlorine and chloramine vapors are produced. You might be tempted to disinfect the cat box with household bleach after emptying it, but don't use bleach in the first rinse. What you want to do is empty the litterbox, rinse it with water, and then disinfect it with bleach.


April 17, 2009 at 3:35 pm
(1) Mr. D. Corry says:

Thank you for your advice about the cat litter box. Although I have been using detergent to wash, I was considering going to a 50 percent solution of bleach since I have 3 cats using a large tray. The idea of germ sharing is always a concern with the “fleebags” that I have, so bleach seemed a good alternative. I didn’t expect that the ammonia level was high enough to be considered. Still, chemistry is chemistry. I have been advising my tutoring students in high school about your web site. Well done on your effort to maintain such a good resource! DC… retired teacher, Ottawa, Canada.

December 8, 2010 at 8:55 pm
(2) partly_cloudy says:

Uh, I’m pretty sure that unless your litter box was inadequately filled with litter and the cat left puddles of urine inside it, the amount of urine residue left over is going to be too negligible to produce any amount of harmful vapor worth worrying about. Soaking cat boxes in the bathtub in bleach solution, rather than, say, spraying the bleach solution directly onto the box, will mitigate vapors.

July 19, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I work at a business where my supervisor insists on mixing chemicals to clean with. Her daily favorite is a bucket of water with bleach (amount?) and the cleaner Mr. Clean. Help!

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