Is Adding Baking Soda to Cat Litter Safe?

Reader's Question:

My 1-year-old cat can be quite the stinker sometimes. I've heard mixed opinions on adding baking soda to the litter box to control odor. Can anyone share their experiences or advice on whether it's safe or not?

Michaela S., San Francisco, CA

Michaela, I completely understand your concern about using baking soda in the litter box. As a fellow cat owner, I've often turned to baking soda for cat litter odor control.

But the key is balance. While adding baking soda to cat litter is an effective and generally safe method, using just the right amount is crucial. Here's how to do it safely:

an orange cat in the litterbox

Safely Using Baking Soda in Your Cat's Litter Box

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a popular choice because of its ability to neutralize those challenging litter box odors. To keep things safe for your kitty, sprinkling a bit of baking soda litter box mix should suffice.

A moderate amount, say around 1 to 2 tablespoons per litter box, should be ample to tackle odors without risk. For those who want to be extra careful, sprinkling a thin layer of baking soda at the bottom of the box, beneath the litter, ensures it's out of your cat's direct reach

Caution: Too Much of a Good Thing

However, using too much baking soda in a litter box can be problematic. If a cat ingests a significant amount, they might experience discomfort, like vomiting or lethargy.

It disrupts the body's delicate balance. So, while cat litter with baking soda is a fantastic odor-neutralizer, moderation is key.

two cats in the litterbox

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Before you decide, "can I add baking soda to cat litter?" let's consider both sides:


  • Odor Reduction: Baking soda does wonders in absorbing those pesky smells, answering the question, "does baking soda absorb cat litter smell?"
  • Ease of Cleaning: It acts as a gentle abrasive, making clean-up a breeze.
  • Cost-Effective: It's a budget-friendly alternative to pricey scented litters.
  • Compatibility: It works well with various litter types, be it clumping or non-clumping.
  • Fragrance-Free: It doesn't leave a strong scent, ideal for sensitive noses.

Hand pouring baking soda into litter box


  • Texture Issues: Some cats may not like the feel or addition of baking soda in their litter.
  • Cleaning Overlooked: It might make you less likely to clean the box regularly. Remember, nothing replaces the need for frequent cleaning!
  • Ingestion Risk: Be vigilant, as accidental ingestion in large quantities can cause health issues.

For those wondering, "Is it safe to put baking soda in cat litter?" there are other natural methods for odor control. If you're looking for alternatives, check out our post on using vinegar to clean the litter box.

a cat in the litterbox

The Bottom Line

Addressing the question, 'Is baking soda safe for cat litter?'—yes, it generally is. But remember, it's not a magic solution. If odors linger even after adding baking soda, it might be time to roll up your sleeves for a deep clean or consider replacing the litter box.

In my experience, a sprinkle of baking soda, combined with consistent litter box maintenance, can significantly reduce those pesky smells, ensuring your cat's space stays fresh and welcoming.

Should You Add Baking Soda to Cat Litter?


    • Simply add and mix it into the litter, Tom. Start with 1-2 spoonfuls and see how that works.

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