Unexpected Uses For cat Litter Around The Home

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We all know the purpose of cat litter; but, what if I were to tell you that it has a multitude of uses around the home?

It’s one of those products where you go, wow, that’s a great idea and then promptly forget what it was. Book mark this page, you will need to come back.

From absorbing spills and odors to using it as a deodorizer, cat litter is useful and versatile.

It is used in many ways, including cleaning up messes in the garage, keeping your shoes smelling fresh. It’s all about its absorbent properties, which make it an ideal solution for a wide range of household tasks.

Smelly fridge? Musty closets? Damp basements? Cat litter can help to eliminate odors and keep your home smelling fresh.

Even if you don’t have a cat, add kitty litter to your shopping list today. You will be amazed at its many different uses.

Maybe you will end up getting a cat as well.

Why Does Kitty Litter Absorb Odors?


The absorbent properties of cat litter come from its porous structure. This and the natural properties of the materials used to make it. Moisture is absorbed and odors are controlled.

The most common types of cat litter are clay-based. They are made of clay minerals such as sodium bentonite.

Clay cat litter is naturally absorbent. When it is mined and processed, it is made into small pellets or granules. These granules have a porous structure that allows them to absorb moisture. The moisture is absorbed into the clay particles. The odor is trapped inside, which helps to control the smell in the litter box.

Another type of cat litter is made from natural materials like corn, wheat, or pine. These litters are made from the by-products of these crops.

Kitty litter is not only is great at absorbing odors, but is one of the best materials for taming odors in the refrigerator and freezer.

Who knew that cat litter could be so useful? Make sure a bag is on the shopping list. Look for a cheap bag of cat litter to give these ideas a go.

1. Kick Odors To the Kerb

  Food Storage Container for kitty litter in the fridge

Place a small container filled with kitty litter inside the refrigerator to absorb excess odors. This is particularly useful if you are going on vacation. It helps reduce the ‘fridgy’ food odors that you are greeted with when returning home.

Every now and then, dispose of the litter, wash the container and replace with some fresh litter for ongoing odor control. Easy Peasey!

By the way, the same tip also works with baking soda.

2. Potting Up Plants

woman adding cat litter when potting plants
Don’t add too much at first. Experiment to see what works best

Add kitty litter to potting mix when potting or repotting plants. The bentonite clay found in some types of cat litter will help the potting mix retain water, and the pots will not dry out as quickly.

It will also help to extend your potting mix, so this is also an economical option.

3. In the Trash Can

Before putting a liner in your kitchen or bathroom trash cans, sprinkle a layer of cat litter in the bottom. Not too much, enough to cover the bottom generously.

This will help absorb any accidental liquid leaks and keep the trash can from becoming stinky. When it’s time to change the liner, just dump out the old kitty litter and replace it with a fresh batch.

4. In The Garden – Weed Blocker

Use kitty litter as a weed blocker under the mulch in your garden.

Just sprinkle cat litter around the drip-line of your plants and cover with an inch or so of mulch. Note the word sprinkle, cover the earth but do not pile up.

The kitty litter will help keep the weeds from growing near your plants, and once covered with dirt or mulch, they will not be visible.

When you need to re-mulch, simply replace the kitty litter and mulch. This is an especially great tip if you have pets that may try to dig up your garden!

5. In The Garden – Sandy Soil

It’s not quite The Sahara at our place but sometimes it feels like it!

This handy garden tip is for those gardeners who have to deal with sandy soil. Sandy soil is somewhat of a nightmare for gardeners. Sandy soil is sadly lacking in minerals and is almost certainly water phobic.

One quite simple solution that helps with water retention is mixing a generous amount of cat litter into a slurry and pouring it onto the soil. As sandy soil also lacks minerals, add some minerals at the same time.

As a homeowner in a near-beachside suburb, we have sand, sand, sand. Adding organic matter helps, but eventually that disappears too, and then we are back to square one.

Adding some clay to the soil helps with water retention and improves the structure of the soil.

Have You Ever Thought About Making Your Own Cat Litter?

It can be done…

DIY Cat Litter

6. Gasoline Spills

Many people use cat litter to soak up gasoline spills on their garage floor or oil spills under a car or truck before cleaning them up with a shop vacuum.

If you’re going to do this, be sure to wear rubber boots and rubber gloves as petroleum products can cause skin irritation after prolonged exposure—even these small amounts soaked into clay granules!

Also, remember that kitty litter absorbs not only odors but also liquids.

If you use it in your gasoline spill area, be sure to pick up all the granules when you’re done so they don’t clog the cleaner later on.

7. In The Car And The Closet

clothes hanging in a closet
Protect your clothes from damp. Add a small container of cat litter to absorb moisture from the air.

Does your car tend to “sweat” on hot days? Put some kitty litter on the floor (in a largish, shallow container) of the trunk. This is to help absorb the moisture and keep your car from becoming musty. Remember to remove the container or put a lid on it when driving.

Is your closet smelling musty? You can also use kitty litter in your closets to help with moisture absorption and prevent mildew growth. Put the litter into a small container. Be sure to replace the cat litter every few months.

Use a plastic container with some slits cut into the lid. This will help to avoid any kitty litter spills in the closet, which obviously would not be a good idea.

8. Oil Spills In The Kitchen

Using kitty litter to absorb cooking oil that has been accidentally spilled on a stovetop is a great way to clean up the mess quickly and effectively.

Scoop up the initial spill as best you can with a paper towel and discard

Start by gently sprinkling the kitty litter onto the spill, making sure to completely cover it.

The kitty litter should be fine enough not to make too much of an impact on surrounding surfaces.

After 15 minutes, simply scoop up the used kitty litter into the trash and wipe down your stovetop to remove any remaining residue or smell.

There’s no need for harsh chemical cleaners!

9. More Kitchen Spills

Kitty litter can be used as a scouring powder to scrub hard-to-get food stains from dishes before they go into the dishwasher.

Just pour some on an old washrag and scrub… works wonders! It’s very abrasive, so don’t use it every time you wash dishes, but it does work great on especially greasy or food-stained messes.

Related Reading: A litter box that has become non stick over time can be resurrected. Read how to make a litter box non stick again.

10. Pet Accidents

If you have a pet that sometimes has “accidents” in the house, put a layer of cat litter where the accident happened, to help absorb the urine odor.

Change out the litter as needed until the smell is gone.

This also works for baby accidents, especially if you’re potty training!

11. Get Traction In The Snow

Kitty litter is very useful if your vehicle is stuck in the snow and you can get no traction with the tires. The tires just spin, and you are going nowhere.

Try sprinkling some kitty litter in front of the tires before driving forward. The kitty litter may just give you enough traction to get going.

Now you knew there was a reason you had a cat, didn’t you?

12. Sweeping Up

If you run out of Swiffer cloths for your sweeper, use old kitty litter bags instead! Use them straight from the bag or cut them up into smaller pieces.

The abrasive texture of the litter will help pick up even more dirt and dust than a regular Swiffer cloth (especially if you have pets that shed), plus it’s free!

uses for cat litter
It’s amazing the amount of cat hair that comes from even a short haired cat.

13. Painting On A Humid Day? Where’s The Kitty Litter!

If you’re planning on painting any walls in your home, put some cat litter down first.

Cat litter will absorb some of the excess moisture in the air.

In humid climates, getting paint to dry properly can be frustrating. This will ensure that even when your wall dries completely (usually within 48 hours), there won’t be any musty smells left behind.

14. Moving House – Get The Cat And The Cat Litter

When moving house, put a layer of kitty litter in the bottom of your packing boxes to help absorb any excess moisture and keep your belongings from getting ruined.

This also works when packing away seasonal decorations or storing furniture during the off-season. Replace the kitty litter as needed particularly if it gets damp.

15. Pet Bedding Deodorizer

Mix a small amount of kitty litter in your pet’s bedding to absorb bad odors…..better yet, mix it with baking soda.

This will help eliminate the smells 100% better than using plain cat litter alone. Use a nylon stocking or mesh bag to store the deodorizer.

Related: As useful as cat litter can be around the home, it does also tend to get everywhere. Read how to keep cat litter under control.

16. BBQ – Cut The Grease

The easiest way to keep your BBQ drip tray clean, is by first lining it with aluminum foil and then filling it with some cat litter. When the litter is soiled from fat and grease drips, dispose of the foil and the cat litter.

17. Ideal Packing Material

Cat litter is lightweight and inexpensive, making it the perfect packing material for all types of things. Protect delicate items when shipping by putting them in a box lined with kitty litter.

The kitty litter will absorb any moisture that gets through to keep your package looking as good as new when it arrives at its destination.

18. In Birdcages

Kitty Litter is highly useful for keeping the bottom of your bird’s cage clean and fresh smelling. Kitty litter absorbs moisture very well.

19. A Remarkable Shoe Deodorizer

cat litter to help deodorize smelly sneakers

No naming names here but smelly sneakers and gym shoes really are truly horrible.

Next time you put them outside the door for an airing, do this – Fill a sock with some cat litter and place one sock in each shoe. The litter will absorb odors. Throw away the litter.

Stockings can be used instead of socks. No stockings? Knee highs are pretty cheap and would do the job well.

20. Be Crafty

Many small craft projects require a soft filler for stuffing or filling. Cat litter to the rescue. Cat litter is suitable to use as a filler for a multitude of small craft projects.

Note: Do not use cat litter if the crafty project is to be given to or used by a toddler or young child.

21. Phone Rescue

That dreaded feeling when your phone has become wet. A popular way to “dry out” a phone is to place it in rice overnight to absorb the moisture.

We have done this in our household and were pleasantly surprised when the rice did work.

Cat litter is another alternative.


Because cat litter is such a good absorbent material for damp and musty places and is also good at cleaning up odors, it is a very useful item around the home and garden.

Even just one good tip can make a huge difference in solving a pesky problem.

I hope you had an ah ha moment when reading some of the ideas for using cat litter.

Luckily we have lots of cat litter in the house.

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