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
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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…
Cat eating your flowers? 3 ways to save your bouquet (and keep your kitty safe)
Cat smelling a flower

When you bring an animal home, you put a lot of time and effort into pet-proofing the place. Remember that your house is theirs as well and so it must be safe for them from top to bottom. Cats especially can get to those really high-up ledges or small out-of-the-way nooks that allow them to sneak into spots and get at things. While this presents a fun way to hide their favorite toy or a little snack, it also means you have to put in a lot more effort to make it feline-worthy. One major obstacle becomes house plants as even those hanging from the ceiling or on top of the bookcase are fair game for a kitty. While there are a few circumstances in which a cat eating flowers is no big deal, mostly this can bring you big vet bills and your cat some uncomfortable digestive issues.

Why does my cat want to eat flower arrangements?
There could be a few reasons your cat has developed a taste for your plants, including that she just likes the flavor. We all know that catnip positively gets our mousers into a frenzy, but other plants can attract them as well. A few like mint will entice your animal into taking a nibble and we bet she'll come back for more. In small quantities, this is probably fine, assuming you don't see any throwing up or bathroom issues afterward. But why do cats eat plants that don't look or smell appetizing? In some cases, it could intentionally be to throw up but more likely they're curious about the world and using their tongues to explore. Sometimes plants catch a kitty cat's eyes as well if their leaves blow in the air or hang from the ceiling, just begging your little lady to attack. 
What flowers are toxic to cats? 
A few plants are perfectly fine for your pet provided that she isn't allergic and doesn't have a reaction (check with your vet before feeding anything out of the ordinary). A few are deadly, though, and should be kept out of homes where hungry cats might decide to get themselves a little snack. These include daffodils, lilies, carnations, and poinsettias, very common and very poisonous to your pet. You can just remove them as necessary from any arrangements before they come into the house (maybe an outdoor vase would work for you if the animals stay indoors). Keep an eye on your kitty even if all the flowers make it onto the safe list like roses and tulips. Though they don't count as toxic, they can still cause digestive issues. 

Read more
5 easy ways to freshen your cat’s bad breath
Kitten chewing on a toothbrush

If you're lucky enough to have an affectionate cat who loves to cuddle, you're a fortunate pet parent, indeed. That is until you get a whiff of your cat's breath and realize just how grateful you are that humans brush their teeth multiple times a day. There's tuna breath, and then there's the fish steamroller that some cats have. Desperately need to know how to freshen cat breath? You've come to the right place!

What causes a cat's bad breath?
Halitosis is the official name for the stench in your cat's mouth. And while it's tempting to blame your kitty's diet, the source of the smell actually comes from the bacteria in their mouth. Don't reach for an antibiotic as the answer to freshening your cat's breath, though.

Read more
Avoid the unthinkable: How to keep coyotes away from your beloved cat
Coyote lying down in front of a rock pile

If your cat spends time outdoors, then coyotes may be a concern. Depending on your location, coyotes can be a major threat to your cat's safety. If you're deciding whether you should let your cat go outdoors, then it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the coyote presence in your community (but don't forget that outdoor cats face other dangers, like cars, dogs, and even poisons). It can be difficult to fully protect your cat from coyotes, but there are some steps that you can take to reduce the risk of an attack. Make sure that you understand how to keep coyotes away from cats before you decide to let your cat outdoors.

Can cats get away from coyotes?
According to the Christian Science Monitor, cats can easily become prey for coyotes. While coyotes often eat rabbits, birds, mice, and even lizards, many won't hesitate to make a cat their next meal. A study of the coyotes living in Tucson, Arizona, found that cats made up a surprising 42% of the coyotes' diets. The study also found that cats were killed in more than half of the confrontations that occurred between coyotes and cats.
Nite Guard explains that once a coyote has caught a cat, the cat stands little chance of escaping. Coyotes can run up to 40 miles per hour, and cats can't outrun them.

Read more