Skip to main content

5 simple ways to keep litter from sticking to the box

Cleaning litter boxes is a standard part of having a cat, but some boxes are more difficult to clean out than others. Sometimes litter sticks to the box, and then you have to scrub and scrape to get it out. It can make for a time-consuming and frustrating chore, but there are simple solutions to this common problem. When you understand how to keep litter from sticking to the sides of the box, you can save time and make cleaning out the boxes easier. These five strategies can help solve this pesky problem so you don’t have to dread litter box cleaning time.

Try a nonclumping litter

Clumping litter can make the sticking issue worse, adhering to the box and turning into a sort of glue. If you’re using clumping litter and are having this problem, switch to a nonclumping litter and see what happens. That litter change might solve the problem entirely.

If it doesn’t, experiment with using more litter. Deeper litter has more time to absorb urine before it gets down to the box bottom and might prevent the sticking issue. If your cat likes to paw enthusiastically before doing his business, though, this technique might not work.

Woman cleaning a cat's litter box next to a cat tree
sandyman / Shutterstock

Use baking soda and cooking spray

When you clean the litter box, wash it and dry it and then apply cooking spray and baking soda. Start by spraying the box bottom with the cooking spray, then immediately sprinkle baking soda over it. Next, add the litter.

The spray-and-baking-soda combination helps keep the litter from sticking to the box. It makes for easier cleanings, but just be sure to repeat the process every time you clean out the box.

Use litter box liners

Litter box liners are an easy way to keep litter from ever coming into contact with your box sides and bottom. They’re simple to use and you apply them before you fill the box with litter. For the best results, choose liners that fit your box well. Most have convenient handles that let you lift the whole liner out of the box, litter and all, for supereasy cleaning.

Since the litter never comes into contact with the box sides, there’s no scraping or stuck-on litter to deal with. You’ll save time on the overall cleaning process, too.

Change your litter box

As litter boxes age and get used, cats can scrape up the bottom and the sides. This removes the slick surface, leaving it rough and easier for litter to stick to. Buying a new box can help.

When you have your new box, try waxing it to help keep litter from sticking. You can get a wax paste that you can apply with a rag, or get a wax stick that you can rub across the box’s surfaces. Be thorough with the wax, and you should see some good results. Applications can last for a month or two, depending on the box’s usage.

Woman kneeling down cleaning a litter box with a cat sitting beside her
New Africa / Shutterstock

Get a self-cleaning litter box

If you’re really over scraping up cat litter, consider a self-cleaning litter box. These boxes clean themselves promptly after a cat uses them, and they sift away waste without giving it time to stick to the box sides or bottom. Not only does a self-cleaning box save you from having to scrape up cat litter, but it also saves you from most of the litter box cleaning you would have to do. While this is the most expensive solution, it’s an effective one.

In addition to the tips above, it’s important to clean your cat’s litter box regularly. Make a point of scooping the box daily, which leaves urine with minimal time to sit. This has the added advantage of keeping the box smelling better, so your cat is more likely to use it. If you have multiple cats, then you’ll need to thoroughly change and clean the boxes more frequently, so experiment with cleaning frequency and see if it helps. You might find that a combination of a few of the above tips is what works just right for you. With a little extra effort, you can keep litter from sticking to the boxes, and cleaning them will be easier and less time consuming as a result.

Editors' Recommendations

Paige Cerulli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Paige's work has appeared in American Veterinarian, Business Insider, Healthline, and more. When she's not writing, Paige…
Self-cleaning litter boxes: Are they really worth it?
The pros and cons to consider before you buy a self-cleaning litter box
Cat in a covered litter box

Even independent felines require a lot of care and attention, which is why many cat owners consider buying an automatic cat litter box at some point in their kitties' lives. It has the potential to cut down on a lot of poop-scooping time, but there are a lot of downsides to consider, too.
The cost of a self-cleaning litter box, of course, can be a pretty penny. Not everyone is willing to make a large purchase without knowing whether it will help, but we hope we can help you start your research. You'll know what's best for you and your cat.

A self-cleaning litter box can make for a lot less time-consuming (and stinky) task
Having a robot litter box sounds convenient and luxurious, right? Their modern looks can fit in well with any home aesthetic, and there's a lot less work involved on your end. Each self-cleaning litter box has its own specific features, of course, but even the most basic models could make your cat's bathroom trips less messy.
 Robotic litter boxes will do most of the poop scooping for you
The primary function of an automatic litter box is to scoop your cat's droppings for you. Some will use a rake-type feature to swipe solid waste into a hidden area, which you will later throw away. Other models, however, will rotate to reveal openings for soiled litter to fall into. If you're willing to invest a bit more money, you can even find an app-enabled litter box that helps you keep track of maintenance supply levels. You'll be able to keep an eye on your kitty's bathroom habits, too!
 You'll be able to enjoy a smell-free zone, even next to the litter box
Many boxes will have a kind of sensor to detect when your kitty exits so it can take care of business -- literally -- within seconds. This keeps your house smelling fresh and clean, so you won't have to light a candle every time you enter the room. Many automatic litter boxes have excellent reviews when it comes to smell protection!

Read more
Reddit says the best cat litter is actually… pellets for a Traeger?!
Wood pellet kitty litter: Why Reddit is in a catfight over this money-saving idea
Cat jumping out of a litter box

Is the best kitty litter not really kitty litter? Reddit is heating up with a genius hack for cat parents. You can DIY wood pellet kitty litter with pellets for a Traeger grill.

Can the stuff you use for the best wood-fired, smoky-tasting barbecue dishes double as cat litter? Reddit is in a dust-up over the purported genius hack.

Read more
Can cats suffer from mental health conditions the way dogs can?
What you need to know about your cat's mental health
A blue-eyed white cat sprawls out on top of a rug with a forlorn expression

As it turns out, man's best friend has quite a lot in common with humans. Just like us, dogs can suffer from mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year." With such staggering numbers, it's easy to understand why the self-help industry is booming. But what about cats? Are our feline family members similarly affected by mental health issues?
While dogs are typically more expressive regarding their moods, cats can be more difficult to read. A dog suffering from depression may refuse to play with his favorite toy, but what behaviors can you expect from your feline friend? Do cats suffer from depression and anxiety the way some dogs do? We'll take a deep dive into the world of cat mental health, so we can answer the question once and for all.

Can cats have mental illnesses?
In her 2014 book "Animal Madness," Dr. Laurel Braitman writes, "There is not a branch of veterinary science, ethology (the science of animal behavior), neuroscience, or wildlife ecology dedicated to investigating whether animals can be mentally ill." While we can't read our cat's mind, we can use their typical behavior to gauge sudden personality changes that might ring a few alarm bells.
Two commonly diagnosed mental issues in cats are obsessive-compulsive disorder -- often abbreviated as OCD -- and cat anxiety. In cases of OCD, you may notice your cat excessively grooming the same location on her body, which can lead to redness, swelling, skin irritation, and even hair loss. However, excessive grooming is also a symptom of anxiety, though anxiety is often accompanied by additional concerning behaviors, such as decreased appetite, incessant yowling, and even drooling.
Details are scant regarding exactly how many cats suffer from mental health issues, but the fact remains that your frisky feline can be affected by OCD, anxiety, or depression. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that cats can even have autism.

Read more