31 Alternate Uses for Cat Litter
Last Updated by Brandon F. on May 6, 2020
When most people think of cat litter they picture the small granules that fill up cat litter boxes. And while this may be the most popular application of cat litter, there is a wide range of other applications that span all sorts of topics and themes. In this article, we list out some of our favorite alternate uses of cat litter around the house, outside, in various hobbies, and much more. You won’t find a larger list of alternate cat litter uses anywhere on the internet, and the list is constantly growing!
1. Helps in the Removal of Spray Paint
Cat litter can aid in the removal of spray paint from walls or sidewalks. Simply put some on the surface of the wall or pavements that have been painted and grind it back in forth with some force. The roughness of the cat litter will not only help to scrape off some of the paint but it will also double as a good way to absorb it. If you are specifically working with sidewalks, put some on the ground and then place a towel or other type of thick fabric between your shoe and the sidewalk and scrape away!
2. Help to Rid your House of Mice
We all know that mice are naturally afraid of cats (well in most cases!) so a way you can use this adaptation to your advantage is by scooping up some of your cat’s used cat litter and placing it in holes or areas that you know mice frequent around your house. The mice will smell the cat urine and it should help to encourage them to hang out elsewhere.
3. Eliminate Mildew and General Smells Inside Trash Cans
For trash cans that have strong mildew or general odor smell from storing trash, you can try adding a layer of cat litter at the base of the can. The cat litter will help absorb these strong trash smells after a short period of time. This can be helpful for indoor trash cans as there won’t be a foul smell whenever you are in its vicinity and it is also helpful for outdoor trash cans as it will be less of an attractant to animals and other critters looking for food.
4. Absorb Oil and Grease from the Pavement or Garage/Shop Floor
If you change the oil in your car or really tinker with any machine that requires oils or greases you will likely spill some on the floor sooner or later. These liquids can be a huge headache to clean up with conventional methods and trying to clean it with water can sometimes make the mess even worse! Instead, try sprinkling some cat litter over the affected areas and let it rest for about half of an hour. When you come back you’ll notice that a lot of the oil and grease will have been absorbed into the litter, making cleanup and disposal much easier.
5. Reduce the Strong Odor Left in Ash Trays
For the smokers out there who want to enjoy their cigarettes but don’t want to deal with the after odors from ashtrays, try placing some cat litter at the bottom of the ashtray where you normally ash your cigarettes into. The litter’s odor-eliminating elements will attach to the strong ash scent and help to neutralize it. We recommend trying to find a litter that contains carbon as it seems to be particularly effective at stopping these odors.
6. Anchor Flower Stems and/or Ornamental Trees
If you are trying to arrange dried or silk flower arrangements for a wedding, holiday, or any other special occasion you can use cat litter as the anchoring material as opposed to florist foam or some other type of heavy object. This can be a much cheaper alternative (conventional florist foam or other types of rocks or stones can be very expensive) and can also give you more flexibility in the shape and size of vase or container you plan on using since litter will fill up any shape or sized container.
7. Traction for Tires on Icy Roads
If you live somewhere that is prone to getting wintery weather, consider throwing a bag of cat litter in your trunk. In the event that your vehicles become stuck or can’t get proper traction to drive out of a slick spot, laying a thin sheet of cat litter in front of your tires can help to give it the traction it needs to get moving again. Certain cat litters can also assist with melting ice and snow but we recommend sticking to standard road salt if it is available.
8. Mix with Planting Soil to Help Keep Moisture Intact
Certain types of cat litters work well when mixed with planting soil to help maximize moisture absorption. Since many litter materials are much more absorbent than traditional planting soil, your watering can go much further as more of the water will stay near the roots and not drain out of the bottom of the vase or container. This can be very helpful if you plan on going on a trip and need to make sure your plants stay hydrated. However, make sure that whatever litter you use is non-toxic so that it doesn’t potentially harm your plants.
9. Absorbs Cooking Oils in Grills to Minimize the Chance of a Grease Fire
Grease fires are very dangerous and can easily be started if the conditions are right. A good way to help avoid this danger is to put a layer of cat litter under the grill where you have seen grease leak out from. Many grills/fryers will come with an oil/grease catch can underneath that is supposed to catch the liquids and you can tape a bag of cat litter directly under/around this can. The cat litter will absorb the grease before it hits the ground. It also doubles as a good way to keep away critters who might be attracted to the strong smell of cooking grease that reaches the ground.
10. Shoe Deodorizers
If you find a pair of your favorite shoes starting to smell a bit foul or musky, put some cat litter in the sole for a few days. It will act similar to baking soda in that it will absorb a lot of the shoe odor. In addition, the cat litter is much less powdery than regular baking soda and can be disposed of without leaving an annoying layer of white dust in your shoes!
11. Put in Your Boat to Absorb Musky Water Smell
Boats are notorious for smelling pretty musky over time. The combination of constant water exposure and the sun can be a recipe for a rather foul-smelly cabin, particularly if you have carpet or some other type of flooring that retains moisture well. When you park your boat for the week or longer place a box of exposed cat litter in the cabin and when you return you should notice that most of the musk smell has disappeared!
12. Clean Up Random Spills Around the Kitchen
Cat litter isn’t just good for the garage or shop floor. If you accidentally spill liquids, grease, or some other type of liquid or semi-liquid concoction on your kitchen floor cat litter can do a great job in absorbing a lot of it and making cleanup much easier. Just sprinkle some on the trouble spot and give it a minute or two to absorb. For regular spills not involving grease or oil, we recommend sticking to standard cleaning products, however.
12. Clay Face Masks
For those who enjoy putting on a face mask from time to time, you should consider trying cat litter instead. Since the primary ingredient in both face masks and most clay cat litters is bentonite you can create a homemade face mask remedy for a fraction of the cost that you would pay at the store. There are tons of helpful step by step tutorials online. Just make sure that you purchase a fragrance-free bentonite litter to reduce the chance of your skin having an adverse reaction.
13. Put in Humidifier to Help Regulate Humidity
For those that are looking to lower the humidity in the room (either to make it more comfortable or if you are storing humidity-sensitive items such as cigars), adding a small amount of cat litter to your humidifier can make a huge difference. We recommend going with one of the many silica gel-based cat litters on the market.
Simply fill a porous container such as a sock or some pantyhose with cat litter and suspend inside your humidifier. This will give your humidifier a boost that will really make it much more effective in regulating humidity. A good tutorial on this can be found here.
14. Put in Cigar Room to Minimize Odor
Another added benefit for the cigar aficionados out there is the odor-absorption benefits of cat litter. A cigar room can be notorious for lingering cigar smells which might be a turnoff to those who don’t smoke. A couple of well-placed containers of cat litter can help lock in these odors and make the room more pleasant-smelling. As for those who prefer for their cigar room to smell of old cigars, we just encourage that you get approval from your significant other or roommate first! 🙂
15. Put Inside Walls or Crevices to Absorb Dead Rodent or Bug Smell
In homes that have insect or rodent problems, a common complaint is a smell that can be emitted when these animals die either naturally or from the use of traps, poisons, etc. Unfortunately, they oftentimes pass away inside the walls of your house. These areas can be next to impossible to get to in order to properly dispose of the remnants and the smell that remains can be overwhelming. Simply put a container of cat litter inside the wall near where the smell is coming from and you will enjoy a significant reduction in the pungent odor.
16. Dry Flowers for Ornamental or Storage Purposes
Cat litter can be very helpful in helping to speed up the process of drying out flowers or leaves that you want to store in a book or to make decorations out of. Simply get a ziplock baggy or other air-tight container and line the bottom with cat litter. Next, place your flowers or plants on top and store away for a couple of days. When you open it back up you should have some nice dried flowers!
17. Pour Down Mole Tunnel to Encourage Them to Move Out
While moles might not be inherently afraid of cats, the smell of cat litter can be a huge turnoff for them. If you notice a mole hole somewhere on your property try pouring some cat litter (clay works the best) down the hole. The overpowering smell has a good chance of convincing them to make their home elsewhere. And for those who don’t want to harm the moles rest assured that this won’t cause any harm to the moles.
18. Help to Fight Off Pond Algae
For those who have koi ponds or other small bodies of water for their favorite fish, algae can be a real challenge to keep in check. Certain clay cat litters can actually help to fight off algae similar to many koi clays on the market and for a fraction of the price! A little bit goes a long way so we recommend reading up on the specifics from one of the many helpful online guides such as this.
19. Absorb Paint Remnants in Cans So it Can be Properly Thrown in Trash
There are strict regulations in regards to properly disposing of empty or semi-empty paint cans or other containers. Basically, you are expected to minimize the amount of paint that you simply throw away in a normal trash can as the paint can be toxic and harmful to the environment. However, regulations are much laxer about disposing of non-liquid and dried forms of paint.
Cat litter is an excellent medium for soaking up leftover paint that is in the bottom of a can or other container so that you can properly dispose of both without breaking any local laws. As for the specific allowable paint that you can dispose of we encourage you to look into the specific laws and regulations that govern your area.
20. Filler for Craft Projects That Need Weight
Cat litter can be quite heavy and also formable which makes it a good material for filling the inside cavity of a craft project that needs stable support or simply more mass to them. Craft stores will oftentimes sell rocks or other dense material that is designed for the same purpose but you can save a few bucks by simply using some spare cat litter you have laying around.
21. Put on Sidewalks to Help with Traction When Walking
Cat litter isn’t just helpful for getting traction in your vehicles. For those days when sidewalks may be slick for walking and you are out of salt, sprinkle on some cat litter. It will provide some much-needed traction for both walking on and also for your vehicles.
22. Absorb Moisture from Wet Electronics
Almost all of us have accidentally dropped our phone or other electronics into a pool or left it out in the rain before. Many of these electronics can be salvageable as long as you properly dry the internal circuitry before trying to turn it back on. Put the wet electronic in a bag with some cat litter and let it dry out for a couple of days before trying to turn it on.
Simply laying the electronic out won’t always guarantee that all of the water hidden inside is removed. The added moisture absorbency from the litter will greatly increase the chances that you can salvage the electronics.
23. Use as an Exfoliate
Exfoliating your skin from time to time is a great way to remove dead skin cells and really smooth out the surface of your skin, making for a much more attractive appearance. For those who want to save a few bucks or don’t feel like going to the local beauty store, you can try exfoliating with a hard cat litter such as clay or silicon crystals instead. We recommend sticking to a non-perfume and chemical-free litter so as to minimize the chance of it reacting negatively with your skin.
24. Makeshift Antibiotic
We kid you not! Pure bentonite (which is the primary ingredient in clay cat litters) has been used to help treat cuts and scrapes as it has embedded antibiotic properties. While we always encourage you to visit your doctor and let them advise you on the best way to treat your cuts and injuries, there have been reports that applying pure bentonite to the wound has assisted in the recovery process.
25. Store Seasonal Items that Need to Stay Dry
Seasonal items such as Christmas and Halloween decorations can be prone to being a haven for moisture when they are stored in your attic or in other areas. This moisture can lead to foul odors, a breeding ground for insects and other animals, and also the potential deterioration or rotting of the items.
If you have had issues controlling moisture wherever you are storing these seasonal items, consider putting a small layer of cat litter in the bottom of the box or container that they are being stored in. It will help lock in any potential moisture that finds its way inside.
26. Wash Produce to Remove Radioactive Particles
Another great benefit of bentonite is that it actually absorbs radiation. If you are purchasing fruits and veggies and are concerned with there being potential radiation on them you can try mixing some water with bentonite and rinsing well. Keep in mind that you will want to use an all-natural bentonite cat litter that it doesn’t contain other chemicals since you will be ingesting the produce! To read more on this cool approach check this out.
27. Make Cheap and Simple Cat Toys
We’ve all seen how expensive a simple cat toy can be at our local pet store. If you are on a budget or simply like DIY projects then you can use cat litter to make your own cat toys! Simply fill a small empty yarn ball or other material with cat litter to give it weight/shape and sew/zip it up. The cats will have a fun toy to play with plus they will smell the litter inside which is a natural attractant to cats.
28. Cheap Weights for Working Out
Typically the large bags of clay cat litter can be an annoyance due to how large they are. It is common to see bags of cat litter weighing 40 pounds or more! However, for those who are into weightlifting, the cost of a 40-pound cat litter bag might be a drop in the bucket compared to purchasing a 40-pound dumbbell. If you are looking for a simple and cost-effective weightlifting substitute consider picking up a couple of large bags or boxes of clay cat litter.
29. Use for Other Animals as Litter
Some cat litters can actually be used as litters for other types of animals such as ferrets. While you will typically be limited to certain types of litter that can be used (such as wood chips, paper pellets, etc.) there is still some overlap. Being able to combine a bag of litter to be used for both your cat and your ferret can save time and money at the store. If you are unsure if a particular type of litter is safe for you other pets we encourage you to consult your vet first.
30. Portable Toilet for RVs or Campers that Don’t Have a Bathroom
Many RVs don’t come with a standard toilet and obviously, anybody camping in a tent doesn’t have access to a conventional bathroom as well. In addition, certain campsites have strict rules when it comes to disposing of your waste. Some people have utilized cat litter to create makeshift toilets so that it is easy to lock in and dispose of your waste in the same manner your cat uses it! A good example of this approach can be read here.
31. Put in Refrigerator to Absorb Smells
We all know about the benefits of putting a box of baking soda in the back of your refrigerator to help combat food odors. However, cat litter performs in a similar manner (with many cat litters even having baking soda built in). Simply fill up a small container with some cat litter and put it in the back of your refrigerator and let it work its magic.
If any of our readers have any more unique applications for cat litter please do contact us and we will add it to the list!