DIY Homemade Cat Deodorizers


Have you ever walked into your home and been overwhelmed by the smell coming from your cat’s litter box? Many commercial cat litter deodorizers and air fresheners only mildly mask odors instead of truly eliminating them at the source. Making your Homemade Cat Deodorizers allows you to tackle smells in a natural, budget-friendly way. 



Why Make Homemade Deodorizers?

Before diving into recipes, it’s important to understand the reasoning behind crafting your litter box deodorizers rather than relying on store-bought varieties. Here are a few of the top benefits:

Healthier For Your Cat and Home

Many commercial deodorizers contain harsh chemicals that are irritating when inhaled by cats and humans over long periods. The ingredients in homemade versions are natural alternatives that won’t compromise respiratory health. Cats have more sensitive respiratory systems than humans, so it’s important to use products in their litter box that won’t sicken or stress them.


Gentler On The Wallet

While a few dollars for litter deodorizer may not seem like much, it adds up over time, especially for multi-cat homes. The ingredients for DIY deodorizers are generally kitchen staples you likely already have on hand. Once you make an initial investment in supplies, maintenance is virtually free since you’re using materials found around the house. Over the lifespan of a cat, the overall cost savings of making your own can be significant.

Allow For Customization

When you craft litter box deodorizers yourself, you control the scents. If your cat is sensitive to strong fragrances, you can opt for mild, natural essential oils. You may also find certain scents help mask odors better than others based on your cat’s preferences or the composition of your home’s surfaces and airflow. Commercial products offer limited scent variety by comparison.

Fun, Creative Process

For many people, finding ways to reuse household items and experiment with DIY projects is a relaxing, fulfilling hobby. Making your litter box deodorizers allows you to flex your creative muscles. It’s a fun process of discovering what scents and combinations of materials work best before settling on your top-performing recipes. You’ll learn through trial and error.


Litter Box Deodorizer Materials and Preparation

With the benefits of homemade litter box deodorizers established, it’s time to explore the key materials and preparation involved. Proper setup is important to ensure your DIY creations last and perform as intended over time.

Essential Oils

When choosing essential oils for your litter box deodorizers, be sure to vet selections that are safe for cats. Some oils can potentially be toxic if ingested, so aim for varieties with a good safety profile. Top natural options to consider include:

  • Lemon oil – Has a bright, citrusy scent that cats tend to like. Works well for neutralizing ammonia odors.
  • Lavender oil – Gentle, floral aroma. Some studies show it has calming effects. May help address anxiety-based box aversion.
  • Eucalyptus oil – Its fresh, herbaceous scent helps mask odors. Has antibacterial benefits.
  • Orange oil – Sweet yet zesty profile. Cats aren’t known to dislike the aroma.
  • Peppermint oil – Minty, invigorating scent. Use sparingly as cats can find it overpowering.

When adding essential oils to recipes, 2-3 drops per project is usually sufficient. Too much oil can overwhelm the area and potentially irritate cats’ delicate respiratory systems.


Baking Supplies

Common pantry items like baking soda, citric acid, cornstarch, and diatomaceous earth all have properties that make them effective bases and carriers for essential oils in litter box deodorizing recipes.

Baking soda, for instance, helps absorb moisture and odors at a chemical level. Citric acid cuts through odors when combined with baking soda via a reaction known as effervescence. Meanwhile, items like cornstarch or diatomaceous earth can be scented to naturally dry out messes after sprinkling.

Containers and Display Methods

Deciding how to showcase your homemade litter deodorizers is an integral final step. Common vessel options include:

  • Mason jars – Attractive, easily dispersed in the litter box. May require replacing lids after the oil application dries.
  • Glass bowls or dishes – Sturdy but don’t allow easy crumbling/breaking like jars. Best for solid recipes.
  • Mesh pouches or sachets – Let essential oils diffuse slowly over time. Hang it near the box or inside of it.
  • Empty food containers – Creative reuse of items like spice jars, and coffee canisters. Must have openings to release the scent.

No matter the style, keeping DIY deodorizers within or very near the litter box allows their fragrance to be effective at the source. An area of 2-3 feet around the box is usually sufficient for coverage.

DIY Homemade Litter Box Deodorizer Recipes

With prep work complete, let’s explore some highly effective DIY litter box deodorizer recipes to try. Use your creativity to customize scents and tweak ingredients based on your cat’s preferences over time.

1 Baking Soda and Essential Oil Deodorizer

Baking soda alone is already a powerful odor absorber, but pairing it with oils boosts its freshening abilities tenfold.


  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 10 drops lemon, orange, or eucalyptus essential oil


  • Add baking soda to a container and drizzle essential oil over top.
  • Stir until powder is evenly coated in fragrance.
  • Sprinkle coated baking soda around the litter box or inside of it after each scooping.

The baking soda will cling to odors and break them down chemically while the oils zestify the air. This versatile, cost-effective recipe tackles even the strongest scents.

2 Citrus-scented cornstarch Deodorizer

This lightweight deodorizer absorbs moisture while spreading a bright, citrusy aroma.


  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 15 drops of lemon or orange essential oil
  • Optional: Food coloring gel or spray for color coding


  • Pour cornstarch into a container and stir in essential oils.
  • Add 1-2 drops of food coloring if desired for visual identification.
  • Shake or drizzle flavored cornstarch over the top of soiled litter areas after scooping.

The fine powder absorbs liquid messes fast. Oils leave behind an uplifting smell without overpowering the area.

3 Eucalyptus and Lavender Sachet Deodorizers

These fragrant sachets make lovely receptacles for releasing scent over time.


  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1⁄2 cup cornstarch
  • 15 drops each of eucalyptus and lavender essential oils
  • Small mesh or cheesecloth pouches


  • Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Stir in essential oils until the powder is well-scented.
  • Scoop mixture into pouches and tie closed with string or zip tie.
  • Place sachets inside the litter box or hang them nearby on wall hooks for slow diffusion.

The soft combo of eucalyptus and lavender creates an atmospherically spa-like environment your cat will adore. Baking soda keeps odors at bay between refreshes.

4 Cinnamon Stick Air Freshener

Not just for recipes, cinnamon sticks impart delightful scents on their own. This DIY freshener is simple yet effective.


  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • String or twine


  • Tie string or twine tightly around the middle of cinnamon sticks to create loops.
  • Hang finished air fresheners on wall hooks or above the litter box area.

As the cinnamon dries, its spicy, warm fragrance permeates subtly. Refresh sticks as needed by moistening ends with water before hanging to release oils. Your cat associates the space positively due to its pleasant aroma.

Arranging and Maintaining DIY Deodorizers

Now that you’ve tried some top recipes, how do you display your homemade creations for optimal results? Proper setup is crucial to sustainable odor control.

Placement Tips

  • Position deodorizers both inside and within 2-3 feet around the exterior perimeter of the litter box.
  • Hang sachets from hooks or Command strips on nearby walls or enclosure tops.
  • Stand solid recipes in dishes nearby, replacing weekly or biweekly as needed.
  • Sprinkle powder versions directly in soiled litter areas after scooping.

Freshening the entire footprint where odors linger most yields complete coverage. A multi-point system covers all bases.

Refreshing Guidelines

  • Reapply baking soda mixtures as they lose absorbed odors, usually weekly to biweekly.
  • Top off oil levels and reformulate solid or powder recipes when scents fade by adding 1-2 more drops of essential oils.
  • Refresh hanging sachets every 2-4 weeks or sooner if fragrance diminishes by reforming the mixture and replacing pouches.
  • Maintain a rotation of 3-4 different recipes to prevent olfactory fatigue from any single scent. Switch up, which you use weekly.
  • Deep clean litter boxes themselves once every 1-2 months using pet-safe cleaners to remove any lingering sources at their point of origin.

Keeping DIY deodorizers freshened routinely prevents odors from ever taking hold. Having multiple scents in rotation also stimulates your cat’s interest through mild novelty. They’ll come to associate the overall space positively due to the consistently fresh ambiance.

FAQ about Homemade Litter Box Deodorizers

After creating an arsenal of effective DIY recipes, you’re all set to maintain a cleaner, fresher-smelling litter environment for your cat. To wrap things up, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Are essential oils safe around cats?

While many essential oils are non-toxic in diluted amounts, a small number can irritate feline respiratory systems or cause other issues if overused or ingested. Always vet oils for documented cat safety before using. Start with 2-3 drops max per batch and monitor your cat’s behavior. Switch to a gentler option if any irritability arises.

How do I prevent my cat from chewing deodorizers?

Cats may be tempted to chew or ingest solid forms of deodorizers out of curiosity or playfulness. To deter this, hang sachets up high or place solid varieties in covered containers your cat can’t access directly. Monitor use until you’re sure they lose interest.

Can I make unscented versions for sensitive cats?

Absolutely! If your cat is easily overwhelmed or has allergies, omit essential oils altogether and rely solely on the odor-absorbing properties of baking soda, diatomaceous earth, or activated charcoal in solid forms. Unscented varieties are still perfectly effective.

How do I get rid of the “new litter” smell?

Some cats are put off by the aroma of pristine fresh litter. In socially sharing the change with your cat, gradually introduce new litter to their environment over several days by starting with a thin 1/2-inch layer at first. This allows them to adapt to the scent gently. DIY deodorizers also help the substrate lose its raw odor faster.

Can I use other types of litter materials instead of clay or paper?

Most DIY deodorizing recipes are compatible with all popular commercial litters—clay, clumping, recycled paper, and even wheat or walnut shell-based varieties. Baking soda mixtures are extremely versatile and work equally well with any litter substrate.


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