Can you vacuum litter: 4 cleaning tips for cat owners

The hallway. Under the sofa. Cat litter goes everywhere your cat does and can be tricky to keep on top of without the right cleaning tools. Thankfully, a good vacuum can make life easier, but is it safe to do so with just any vacuum? 

To help you keep your home clean, we’ll explain whether you can use a regular vacuum, and offer extra cleaning tips to help you reduce the amount you need to tidy up.  

Tips on maintaining your cat litter tray 

Regularly cleaning and tidying your cat’s litter box can help reduce the mess you need to vacuum up. Here are a few helpful tips. 

1. How often should you change cat litter? 

The RSPCA recommends replacing your cat’s litter at least once a week and spot cleaning waste daily. Some litter types don’t need to be changed as frequently. But if you have several cats in your household, you may find you need to tidy more often.
Many cats are also very particular when it comes to their litter box. Their paw pads are sensitive. Some will prefer the feel of clay-based litter, while some may prefer eco-friendly options such as wood. 

Your cat might also avoid using the box if it’s not clean, dashing out as fast as they can – which can lead to more mess. If your cat tends to kick a lot of litter around, a rubber litter mat can reduce the amount that will get tracked around the house. 

2. Can cat litter go in the green bin? 

Today there are many eco-friendly cat litter options made from wood, paper and even coconut husk. While these are all compostable materials, cat poo could pose a risk to your health – especially if you’re pregnant or immuno-suppressed – and should never go in the green bin. 

This is because even the cleanest cats may carry a parasite called Toxoplasmosis gondii. The good news is that contact with your cat isn’t a major transmission risk, according to Cats Protection [LINK]. Most people never know they have it, and those that do only report mild flu-like symptoms. You’re more likely to become infected if you touch contaminated soil or eat unwashed fruit and vegetables. 

To avoid contamination, wear gloves when you clean or tidy the litter box. You should also bag up poo and put it in the general waste bin, while soiled biodegradable cat litter can go into the green bin. 

3. Can you vacuum up cat litter? 

Vacuuming is one of the most effective ways to clean up clay and silica-based cat litter. Many vacuums have ‘pet’ models, which typically have a pet attachment or special filters. You should also only vacuum dry litter to avoid damaging your vacuum and never vacuum wet clumps, even if they look dry. 

If in doubt, use a designated ‘cat clean-up’ broom and dustpan to sweep up litter to avoid spreading bacteria to your other cleaning tools. You should also check your vacuum cleaner manufacturer’s guidance. 

4. What is the best vacuum for cat litter? 

Vacuums like our Shark pet models are designed with pet messes in mind. Many come with dedicated pet tools which work at removing pet fur and litter from floors and upholstery. These tools often have motorised brush-rolls or bristles that are designed to remove fur and litter better than standard attachments. 

Clay-based cat litter also produces a lot of dust, so look out for vacuums which have anti-allergen seals or similar technologies. If you don’t want to buy a brand-new vacuum cleaner, check with your vacuum manufacturer. Again, many like Shark sell separate pet tools which are small enough to help you tackle tricky areas like the stairs and sofa cushions. Always check that the attachment is compatible which your vacuum cleaner before purchasing. 

Posted in: Vacuum Tips