Do you often notice that cat litter can escape the box and find its way onto your floors? Cats like to dig a small hole and cover up their business once they’re done — it’s natural. But it can end up in a huge mess that goes beyond the litter box.
No matter how well trained your kitty is, this can still be a problem. Cleaning up these spills isn’t a job for any old vacuum. It’s crucial you use one that can handle this job.
Why You Need a Special Vacuum for Cat Litter
Cleaning up kitty litter with your regular old canister can be fatal for your vacuum. Unless the machine is made for the job, it shouldn’t be used regularly for this purpose. Here are four reasons why you need a special vacuum:
There are three general categories of cat litter: clay-based, biodegradable, and silica-based (1).
Clay-based litter can absorb its weight in urine, making it highly effective. However, once it’s full and can’t absorb any more, a distinctive odor will emerge. You can then add charcoal or baking soda to reduce the smell.
Biodegradable litter is the environmentally-friendly option, and it’s actually safe for your cat to ingest. This type might be produced from recycled products or even plants such as wheat or corn.
Silica-based litter is a crystallized form of silica gel. It effectively absorbs cat urine while keeping the odor under control. This type is preferred by many as it produces less dust.
While these three have very different properties, they have something in common as well. No matter the type of litter you choose, it still becomes a hard substance once it has absorbed urine. They are all therefore potentially harmful to your vacuum cleaner.
Once sucked up, the granules travel through the device at high speeds, hitting the inside components as they go. These fragile parts can suffer from the impact – soon you might notice your vacuum cleaner is failing.
You might have noticed that a significant amount of dust appears when you pour fresh litter into the box. This happens mostly with clay-based products.
The dust can quickly build up deep inside the vacuum motor or around the brushes. This, in turn, causes clogging and overheating.
Odors can quickly build up inside the components of your vacuum. Depending on the type of litter you’re using, the smell might be quite strong.
Old cat litter has a very pungent stench that might not leave your vacuum once it makes its way in. From there, it can actually spread to other areas of your home.
Mold is a major concern for most homeowners, and once it develops it can be challenging to get rid of. Your vacuum might be the last place you’d expect to find mold, but it can definitely happen.
After sucking up soiled litter, perhaps you’ve gone on to clean up something wet or damp. The combination of moisture with the bacteria in the litter creates an opportunity for mold to thrive.
Choosing a Vacuum for Cat Litter
Choosing the right vacuum for the job is essential. It doesn’t have to be the biggest, most expensive choice. For instance, many handheld devices are excellent for use around your litter box. Here are a few things you should consider before buying a vacuum for these specific messes.
1. Vacuums That Separate Dirt and Air
One important thing to look for is a bypass flow motor. These keep air and dirt separate and prevent dust from settling in the filter.
Vacuums with a cyclonic cleaning system use this type of motor. It produces a powerful airflow that forces dust particles to the sides of a cylindrical container. This also ensures the vac maintains a powerful suction.
Speaking of suction, this is always a major consideration when purchasing a new vacuum. To clean up litter, you’ll need all the power you can get.
Cat litter can be tough to clean since it sometimes sticks to flooring or hides deep inside carpets. So you need strong suction to get it out. However, it’s equally important to choose one that will stand the test of time.
Vacuums can be pricey but for the right model, it’s a worthwhile investment. You’re always better off choosing one that won’t have to be replaced after a few uses.
This is especially important when it comes to kitty litter. As we explained above, hard granules can quickly cause damage. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose one whose internal components are up to the task.
4. Bagged vs. Bagless
There’s always the question of bagged or bagless — which is the best? Bagged vacuums have a replaceable bag and filter that you have to change whenever it’s full. Failing to replace it, the vacuum won’t work as effectively.
One of the advantages of bagged vacs, though, is the cleanliness. All the dust and dirt are enclosed within the bag which ultimately gets thrown away. A downside, however, is the fact that you have to buy replacement bags – this can become expensive over time.
Bagless models, on the other hand, feature a dust container where everything is collected. An advantage of this type is that it’s less expensive to use. However, you have to deal with the occasional dust cloud as you empty the bin.
Another point to consider is the smell. Having a bag sitting inside the vacuum waiting to be filled can quickly create a buildup of soiled litter.
The bagless container will most likely be emptied after each use, thus, reducing the chances of any odor. You can also wash it, should any smell linger.
Either one can work with cat litter. Ultimately it’s a matter of preference.
5. Type of Flooring
The last point you should consider is the flooring you have near your litter box and throughout your home. Different types require specific attachments and suction functions. So, if you don’t want to have more than one vacuum cleaner, it’s a good idea to find one that will work for all areas.
Don’t forget you’ll need a strong suction and brushes to get litter out of carpets. A motorized brush can especially helpful if you often find particles in your rugs. These are specially made to “beat” the dirt out of thick rugs.
Hardwood and tile floors won’t need to be agitated but they still require a strong suction. Nozzles like rubber rims and soft roller brushes can also be very effective at picking up kitty litter from uncarpeted flooring.
Best Vacuums for Cat Litter of 2020
Cat litter can be a tough challenge for your vacuum. That’s why essential to have the right one for the task. We’ve looked at a wide variety of machines and read every word possible of customer reviews. Taking all of the above into consideration, here are our top five vacuums for cat litter:
1. Cleanview Bagless Vacuum Cleaner by Bissell
Bissell is a leader when it comes to tackling pet-problems, and the Cleanview lives up to the standard.
It has powerful suction, excellent for picking up hair and getting the litter off the floor.
This a bagless corded vacuum that comes with multiple filters to separate the smallest dust particles.
It’s lightweight and has a long cord so you can move freely throughout your home.
Why We Love It
As we mentioned earlier, this is an important feature for sucking up kitty litter. The Bissell Cleanview has a multi-cyclonic system that keeps the harsh granules far away from the primary air flow. It also has an incredibly powerful suction that will capture everything in its reach.
The multi-level filtration captures every little dust particle and traps it inside the large dust bin. You can easily remove and wash it when needed. Be sure to let it dry completely before putting it back into the vacuum.
A Febreze filter is included with the vacuum to give your home a refreshed scent when cleaning. This is a nice addition when dealing with soiled litter. Bissell recommends that you replace it every three to six months, depending on the use.
Lots of Cleaning Reach
The 25-foot power cord enables you to do more without unplugging it at every turn. You also get a 6-foot flexible hose that is excellent for cleaning sofas, mattresses, and stairs. The Turbo Brush tool will dig deep into the soft surface you’re cleaning.
Plus the large vacuum nozzle covers 13.5 inches in one go, excellent for quick clean-ups.
Works on All Surfaces
Weighing a little over 15 pounds, the CleanView isn’t the lightest option available. However, it’s easy to push and pull as it glides smoothly over any surface.
It has a sturdy brush to get all of the dirt out of your carpets. It also has a softer dusting brush for more fragile areas like hardwood flooring.
Easy to Empty Bin
Emptying your vacuum’s dust bin can sometimes become very messy. Bissell has considered this and created a closed container that is easy to remove.
When you need to empty the contents, place the bin over the garbage, and press the release button. The soiled litter will fall straight into the trash, and you won’t have to touch anything.
Keep In Mind
Power Cord Isn’t Retractable
With a long cord, it’s convenient to able to retract it. Unfortunately, the CleanView cord isn’t retractable so you will have to roll it and store it next to the vacuum manually.
|Cord length||25 feet|
|Included attachments||Dusting brush, crevice tool, turbo brush tool|
2. ArmorAll Wet/Dry Vacuum
Being able to pick up dry and wet messes in one go can make cleaning much more manageable. However, many vacuums aren’t able to suck up moisture or wet objects.
This vacuum from ArmorAll is ready to take on the challenge of removing kitty litter — wet and dry. It has a polypropylene tank that can hold up to 2.5 gallons. The vacuum also has a 2 HP motor.
Why We Love It
This vacuum doesn’t look like your regular canister model. It has a compact design that is easy to take wherever you need it. At only 7 pounds, it’s quite lightweight as well.
You get a two-in-one utility nozzle, crevice tool, detail brush, and car and blower nozzles. The 6-foot long hose is 1.25 inches in diameter – it’s flexible and has a good reach.
The vacuum features organized accessory storage so you can keep everything close at hand.
With the touch of a button, you can use this machine to blow away dust. This is sometimes a preferable way to get rid of your mess where suction might not be the best option.
Can Pick up Wet Messes
Being able to vacuum without having to first stop and wipe up wet spills can be a time-saver. It has a 2.5-gallon tank with an auto shut-off function. This prevents any overflow in case it becomes full.
Keep In Mind
If you’re on the look-out for a vacuum that won’t disturb others in the house, this probably isn’t it. This vac is quite loud, which neither you nor your pets might love.
|Cord length||10 feet|
|Included attachments||Crevice tool, deluxe car nozzle, detail brush, blower nozzle, 2-in-1 utility nozzle|
3. Shark Cordless Vacuum with Twister Technology
For quick litter pick-ups, this smart handheld device could be just what you need. It has a powerful little engine that works fast to pick up pet hair, dust and debris.
It’s a cordless vacuum fitted with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery. It also comes with a few smart accessories that make cleaning up litter and hair a breeze.
The small size makes the Pet Perfect vacuum excellent for the area around the litter box. You can quickly whip it out and clean up whatever mess your furry friend has made.
Why We Love It
You get several attachments suited for each area of your house. The crevice tool isn’t the longest, but it’s still excellent at getting into small corners. We love that the dusting brush is soft and can be used for sensitive surfaces.
The motorized brush digs into the rug and loosens the tiny granules so the vacuum can suck it up. You can also use the direct suction option for jobs that don’t require any attachments.
One of the most critical factors of a handheld is its weight — a heavy one won’t be comfortable to use. Weighing under 5 pounds, the Pet Perfect is easy to hold for an extended period.
The filter is easy to take out, and it only requires a quick wash in tap water. Shark highly advises against the use of any cleaning solutions as these may ruin the filter.
Keep In Mind
Motorized Brush Is Difficult to Clean
Some users have complained about the motorized brush. Hair tends to get stuck, and it can be a challenge to take it apart to clean.
|Included attachments||Dusting brush, motorized brush, crevice tool|
|Warranty||Two-year limited warranty|
4. Bissell PowerEdge Bagless Cleaner
If you need a vacuum to clean your hard floors, this is definitely one to consider. The Bissell PowerEdge vac has a unique V-shape design that allows it to get up close to every corner of your house.
It has rubber rims that capture pet hair and litter. Keep in mind that the rubber won’t work on carpets; this is a hard floor-exclusive vacuum.
Why We Love It
The V-shape works by pushing larger pieces of debris into the center while the outer parts capture smaller pieces. The shape also enables you to get super close to corners and edges for a thorough clean.
The rubber rims, referred to as squeegees, are masters at picking up fine pet hair. They capture and funnel it back into the vacuum. To keep hardwood floors scratch-free, the PowerEdge is fitted with rubber-covered wheels.
Easy to Empty
Removing the dust bin is very straight-forward, and the contents can be dumped straight into the garbage. You can wash the container whenever needed — just remember to let it dry before reattaching it.
Keep In Mind
Not Good At Straight Edges
Because of the unique V-shaped nozzle, it can be difficult to get close to a flat wall. Some users have found this to be problematic.
|Cord length||20 feet|
|Warranty||One year limited|
5. Dirt Devil Multi Floor Vacuum Cleaner
Being able to move around furniture quickly can save a lot of time when cleaning. This vacuum can both swivel and swerve as you move throughout your home.
It has a strong suction power that removes dirt and litter from any surface.
You can reach even the tightest corners of your house with the removable extension wand.
Why We Love It
Easy to Maneuver
The swivel steering enables you to move easily around objects on your floor. Tilt the handle, and the vacuum will follow. It can also go underneath furniture thanks to the bendable connection between the motor and nozzle.
The Dirt Devil comes with a Spin4Pro Brushroll that uses CleanPath Technology. The brush gets rid of dirt from any surface — hard or soft.
One of the more unique features is the TurboClaw. It’s a small tool that you can attach to the extendable wand. The claw-like tips can pick up hair from soft surfaces.
The vacuum comes with a three-stage filtration system. It provides a deep clean without the loss of suction power. This filter is excellent for soiled litter since one of the stages is an odor trapping filter.
Keep In Mind
Hair Gets Tangled
Longer hair tend to get tangled in the brush. It’s essential to get them out as they can cause the vacuum to not work as effectively.
|Cord length||6.6 feet|
|Included attachments||TurboClaw tool, 2-in-1 dusting brush, crevice tool|
|Warranty||Two-year motor warranty|
|Product||Award||Weight||Cord length||Included attachments||Warranty|
|Bissell Cleanview||Best Suction||15.4 lbs||25 ft||Dusting brush, crevice tool, turbo brush tool||N/A|
|ArmorAll Wet/Dry||Wet & Dry||7 lbs||10 ft||Crevice tool, deluxe car nozzle, detail brush, blower nozzle, 2-in-1 utility nozzle||2-years|
|Shark Cordless||Handheld||4.92 lbs||N/A||Dusting brush, motorized brush, crevice tool||2-year limited|
|Bissell PowerEdge||Hard Floors||7.5 lbs||20 ft||None||1-year limited|
|Dirt Devil Multi-Floor||Best Steering||13 lbs||6.6 ft||TurboClaw tool, 2-in-1 dusting brush, crevice tool||2-year (motor)|
How to Prevent Scattered Litter
It’s difficult to avoid scattered litter altogether. However, there are a few things you can do to keep it to a minimum.
1. Choose a Large Litter Box
Cats are very clean animals. They like to cover up their soil, and they don’t want to “go” in the same place twice. This is why they dig and spread the litter.
To make the job easier for both you and your cat, experts recommend giving them a bigger litter box. When your cat has more room, it can choose its place more carefully. This will also reduce the chances of litter making its way out of the box.
Choosing a box with higher walls can also reduce the amount of litter that spills out. Some cat-owners choose fully enclosed ones for this reason. Keep in mind, however, that not all cats like covered boxes (3).
2. Consider a Mat
We advise that you keep a mat underneath the litter box to catch any debris that escapes. As your cat makes its exit, the specialized mat will capture the tiny granules stuck to his or her paws.
A mat is easy to clean – all you have to do is shake it over the garbage bin. The litter should effortlessly fall off without the need for sweeping or vacuuming.
3. Use Low-Tracking Cat Litter
Changing the type of litter you use can make a world of difference. Smaller granules will stick more easily to your cat’s paws.
By changing to a brand with larger granules, you’ll reduce the amount being dragged onto the floor. Pellet litter is very useful for this purpose.
No More Litter
Having a vacuum to suck up scattered cat litter can be wonderful. However, it’s important to have the right machine for the task. Soiled litter can become rock-hard and damage the internal components of your device. Choosing a model with a cyclonic system will keep it safe and working for a long time.
How do you avoid scattered litter? Is it possible to train a cat to wipe his paws? What do you think? Share your thoughts below.