Can You Vacuum Cat Litter?

There’s not a more effective way to ruin a good vacuum cleaner than to use it on cat dung. Why? Cat litter can quickly form a clump inside the canister, clog, and damage the device. Besides, the next time you use the cleaner, you’d only be spreading germs from cat litter all over your house.

So, the answer is obvious; you really shouldn’t use your vacuum on cat litter as this is not what they are designed to do. However, there are other ways to clean cat dirt, and the steps have been provided below.

How to Clean Up Cat Litter?

The question here is how do you properly clean up cat litter?

Of course, abandoning the litter there is not the solution. You start by doing some manual cleanup. Use a brush and a dustpan to lift most of the dirt because it makes it easier to clean the thing.

Just in case a broom and dustpan do not work, try using a carpet rake. Though this does not tend to be as effective as a broom, it, however, does something to uproot all the tiny pieces of dirt clinging to your carpet.

You might want to rake your carpet more than once to achieve effectiveness. If this too does not work out, then a shop vacuum should be your next port of call.

Use a Shop Vacuum

When you’ve tried all else, and you’re still not satisfied with the results, then you might want to opt for a shop vacuum. This is not a regular vacuum for cleaning homes.  Shop vacuums like the Dyson v6 are stronger, and much more durable than your regular sweeper. As such, it can withstand abuse.

Shop vacuums are affordable and can suck up liquids. However, there are shop Vacuums that come with floor attachments. This is nice, but make sure to use the hose only for cleaning up the cat mess. Floor attachments that have the spinning brush should not be used because they will spread litter everywhere.

Why You Shouldn’t Use a Vacuum

In as much as a shop Vacuum will clean cat litter thoroughly, it’ll be better to start with manual sweeping or raking. These options can efficiently manage the smell, and the tools won’t be prone to any severe damage.

You could transfer the box into a bigger container when using these options. Here are some things cat litter does to a vacuum cleaner.

  • Makes the Vacuum Smell

This is a significant issue. No one wants a smelly vacuum, but this is what you’ll get when you use it to clean cat litter. Besides, it will inevitably contribute to transferring germs to your house surroundings.

The more you use your vacuum on cat mess the more bacteria and bad smell accumulate and begin to leak into the air. The most annoying thing, however, is how much cleaning you’d have to do to get rid of the smell.

  • The Filter Will Get Clogged Quickly

Cat litter gets the filter clogged quickly. Even when using a good model, you’ll still need to change your filters often because the waste gets sticky and dries up pretty fast, and when this happens, clogging occurs.

Prevention Tips

  • Get a Litter Mat

A litter mat performs similar functions to a carpet. These mats help to curtail the spread of litter around the litter box. The raised little knobs that it has makes it possible for dirt to drop through.

Meanwhile, it is comfortable for your pet to walk on, and would prevent them from spreading the dirt all over your home; and you can always empty the mat later

  • Automatic Litter Box

The litter mat is useful; however, cats still succeed in throwing litter out the sides especially when you have more than one cat. They wouldn’t want to stay in the same place as the other cat, so they create their spot by throwing litter around.

Unless you prefer to clean up the litter very often, you need to get an automatic litter box. They help to keep the box clean and fresh continually.

How to Choose a Cat Litter Vacuum

Choose a vacuum that separates dirt and air

By keeping dirt and air separated, the vacuum discourages dust from lodging in the filter. A Cyclonic cleaning system makes use of a bypass motor which ensures that the vacuum has strong suction for a long time. Such a kind of suction is necessary for tackling heavy jobs like cleaning cat litter.

Ensure that the vacuum is compatible with your flooring

Remember that the vacuum you choose has to be compatible with your type of flooring. A roller brush is essential to ease your worry about cat mess being trapped within your carpets. A vacuum for hard floors will suffice if your litter box is on a smooth surface.

Should it be bagged or bagless?

If your vacuum is Bagless, you’ll need to empty the dirt canister frequently to prevent a build-up of bad smell. If you’re very concerned about odor, a bagless vacuum cleaner will be best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Cat Litter Ruin Vacuums?

Whether cat litter can ruin a vacuum or not is mainly dependent on the kind of vacuum you are using. While some vacuums can handle whatever mess you throw in it, others don’t have that capacity. So, it is up to you to find a sweeper that is strong enough to withstand the mess. Usually, shop vacuums will work best for cat litter.

Can a Roomba Vacuum Suck up Cat Litter From Hardwood Floors?

The answer is “yes” Roomba recognizes the litter as dirt, and will usually suck it up while cleaning. Roomba does not discriminate when it comes to picking dirt; it merely sucks them up once it recognizes that it is debris. It even does it effectively; however, this doesn’t mean that the litter will not harm the vacuum.


In conclusion, vacuums should come into the picture only when all other options have failed. Your vacuum is no doubt precious to you, and you probably don’t want it damaged too soon. Besides, there’s that awful smell that you can’t just get around if you use your vacuum continuously on cat dung.

If you do use your vacuum to clean the cat mess, make sure to clean it immediately after. Make sure to use a shop vacuum. It is more suitable for this kind of cleaning. Get ready to change filters often or clean thoroughly.

A litter mat and an automatic litter box will make things easier for you, make sure to purchase them. Follow all the recommendations provided here, and you’d see how effortless it is to manage kitty litter.

About Mosabbir

As the Executive Director of Houzhold's Home Care and Cleaning department, Mosabbir brings over 12 years of experience as a consumer products expert to the table. He utilises his advanced analytical skills and writing expertise in appliances, cleaning, and housekeeping products to provide valuable cleaning and home care advice for Houzhold. Mosabbir also holds a Masters degree in business management, which enables him to oversee the department efficiently while producing insightful content for the company.