Kill Bugs In Litter Box [Forever] In 8 Easy Steps

This guide will give you eight steps to get rid of bugs in the litter box forever.

Plus, you’ll find out why these bugs show up in the litter box and what’s their source.

Many cat owners used these steps to eliminate bugs from the litter box within an hour and without spending a dime.

And in this guide, you’ll learn those exact steps.

Keep reading to find it out.

Table of Contents

5 Types Of Bugs In Litter Box That Make Your Cat Defecate Elsewhere

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats

Cats are very hygienic pets. They don’t even like to poop in dirty places. 

They would abandon the litter box if there were a bunch of bugs crawling on the litter.

There are five most common bugs in a cat litter box – fungus gnats, phorid flies, maggots, house flies, and fruit flies.

Now you must be wondering why these bugs get into your cat’s litter box?

It’s because all these bugs breed and infest in damp places that have dead or decaying organic matter. 

So, your cat’s litter box is the best option they’ve got inside your home. 

Later in the post, you’ll find out how they get inside your home. But for now, you should know that these bugs aren’t healthy for you. 

The flies will sit on the litter, and all the dirt and feces stick with their body. And they sit on your food!

Now, that’s something you don’t want to happen. 

Except for maggots, you’ll find most of these bugs as tiny black bugs flying around the cat’s litter box. 

But maggots are the larvae of these bugs. So, that means these bugs live and breed in your cat’s litter box if you don’t get rid of them. 

How To Get Rid Of Bugs In Litter Box?

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats

Thankfully, it is a cakewalk to get rid of bugs in the litter box.

You don’t need any special skills or material to get rid of them. 

The stuff that you need to get rid of them is right there in your home, right now. 

So, here’s what you need to get rid of bugs in the litter box– white vinegar, alcohol, liquid dish soap, water at normal temperature, and a spray bottle.

Here are the steps you can implement right away to eliminate those bugs in your cat’s litter box:

Step#1 – Empty Your Cat’s Litter Box

Begin by emptying the litter box.

A dirty cat litter box is full of cat urine and decaying matter that attract bugs. 

For flies like house flies, and gnats, it’s a heaven.

Also, bugs, especially gnats and house flies will lay eggs in your cat’s litter box. The lay eggs in decaying and filthy matter and the litter box with stale litter is the same.

When the eggs hatch, the larvae of these bugs, which are also known as maggots, come out. These larvae mature and form adult flies.

That worsen the house flies and gnat problem in your home.

Disposing the litter and emptying the litter box will get rid of the larvae and the eggs.

It’s the most crucial step because you’re killing generations of bugs that would have made your home their home.

Step#2 – Disinfect The Litter Box By Washing And Spraying White Vinegar

Now that you’ve emptied the cat’s litter box, it’s time to clean and disinfect it. 

Before disinfecting the litter box, make sure to wear a pair of gloves and a mask. 

You shouldn’t touch the insides of the litter box with bare hands because it’s dirty with decaying cat poop.

And wearing a mask is optional if you can withstand the disgusting stink that comes out of the litter box. 

First, clean it with water and dish soap. Take a dry cloth or sponge and wipe the litter box dry. 

Now mix ten tablespoons of white vinegar with half a gallon of water in equal parts. Stir it well and pour the mixture on a spray bottle. 

Spray the mixture on the litter box. And let the combination sink in the litter box for a while. 

Then wipe the litter box again with a dry sponge or cloth. 

White vinegar is acidic and has anti-pest properties that will kill the germs in the litter box. 

Some people don’t like the smell of white vinegar. If you don’t like it either, you can use alcohol instead of white vinegar to mix with water. 

Alcohol is also a reliable disinfectant

Step#3 – Keep Sticky Fly Traps A Few Feet From The Litter Box

Sticky bug traps and fly traps draw the flying bugs and being sticky, the flying bugs stick with the trap. 

Fly traps are cheap, and they can be a lifesaver especially when the gnats, fruit flies, and drain flies inside the home become a nuisance.

Most of these flies enter homes through open doors and windows. So, keeping fly traps will play a great role in stopping them right at the point of entry.

Outdoors, you can also install bug zappers that will electrocute any flies and mosquitoes trying to sneak inside your home.

Step#4 – Keep A Mixture Of Apple Cider Vinegar And Dish Soap In Your Home

Mixture of apple cider vinegar and dish soap (with a little bit of water) is an effective DIY trap for fungus gnats and house flies.

Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and dish soap in a bowl and stir the mixture well. Keep the bowl a few feet away from the litter box, on a shelf.

The smell of apple cider vinegar will attract the bugs and the dish soap will make the bugs stick with it. 

Alternatively, you can also cover the bowl by a cardboard lid with a hole on it. The flying bugs will try to reach the liquid through the hole.

The cardboard lid will trap them.

Step#5 – Keep The Litter Box Away From Windows

All the bugs that you got to know in this post enter through open windows. 

Artificial light from your home attracts bugs like fungus gnats and phorid flies. 

So, don’t keep the litter box near the windows. 

If you do, you’ll increase the chances of bug re-infestation in the litter box. 

Step#6 – Use The Right Type Of Litter In The Litter Box

To keep bugs away from your child’s sandbox you need to use the right type of sand. In the same way using the right litter is crucial in keeping bugs away from the litter box.

You cannot ignore the type of litter in the litter box. There are many types of litters that attract bugs.

Litter made from bio-degradable,  vegetable matter or grain matter like wheat, corn, pine, etc. can draw bugs like cockroaches too.

In contrast, silica-based litter and clay litter don’t draw bugs to them.

However, in most cases, the dirty litter box plays a bigger role in attracting bugs than the litter.

That brings to our final step to get rid of bugs in the litter box.

Step#7 – Refill The Litter Box With Cat Litter

Use the right type of cat litter to refill the litter box. Begin with pouring in less litter.

Then add a layer baking soda. Refill the litter box by pouring in the litter and baking soda alternatively.

Baking soda eliminates the stink from the litter box without irritating your cat. Also, being a desiccant, baking soda also absorbs the excessive moisture in the litter.

It prolongs the life of the litter.

And baking soda is a bug repellent too. It has insecticidal properties that helps the litter box being to remain bug free.

Step#8 – Finally, Scoop Daily

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats

The best solution to have zero bugs in the litter box is to remove the cat poop daily from the litter box. 

The longer the poop stays in the litter box, the more it attracts bugs. 

Source Of Bugs In Litter Box

The source of these bugs in your yard or garden.

Open catch basins, clogged drainpipes, decaying organic waste, and stagnant water are breeding grounds for these bugs. 

And an unclean and ill-managed yard or garden has all of them. 

So, to ensure that you don’t have these bugs flying into your home, here are the steps to follow:

  • Clean your yard or garden of all organic waste.
  • Get rid of bugs in compost bins. 
  • Fill the waterholes in your yard. Waterholes with stagnant water are a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • Fix any water leakages in and around your home and yard. Water leakages increase the dampness of your home, and that attracts many bugs. 
  • Use window shields with smaller mesh to prevent flies of all types from entering your home.
  • Keep a bug zapper near windows and doors. 

Remember, there wouldn’t be any bugs in your cat’s litter box if there aren’t any inside your home. 

Why Do You see Maggots In The Litter Box?

Maggots are larvae of flies. If you see maggots in a cat litter box, it means that the flies that laid eggs in the litter box have hatched.

These maggots feed on the organic waste in the litter till they turn adults. 

On top of that, silverfish, weevils, and mites also infest litter boxes if your home has them. 

Maggots can stick to your cat’s body, and your cat can transfer them in different places to your home. 

And once the maggots are all around inside your home, they can attract other bugs like roaches, centipedes, and ants that eat them. 

So, it’d be best if you keep your cat’s litter box free from these bugs. 


The five most common bugs in the litter box are –

  1. Fungus Gnats
  2. Phorids
  3. Maggots
  4. House Flies
  5. Fruit Flies

To add to it, on rare occasions, people have also found weevils, mites, and silverfish in a cat litter box. 

Getting rid of these bugs in the litter box is easy and doesn’t need much effort. 

Here what you can do to get rid of bugs in the litter box –

  1. Empty the cat litter box.
  2. Clean the litter box and disinfect it with white vinegar or alcohol.
  3. Keep sticky bug traps or fly traps a few feet away from the litter box
  4. Keep a mixture of apple cider vinegar, dish soap, and warm water in your home
  5. keep the liter box away from the windows
  6. Use the right type of litter in the litter box
  7. Refill the litter box by mixing baking soda with the litter
  8. Scoop daily

— Update: 19-03-2023 — found an additional article Does The Litter Box Attract Bugs? from the website for the keyword cat litter that doesn’t attract gnats.

Being a cat owner only comes with a few downsides. Incorporating a litter box into your home would top this list as it can cause a lot of frustration. Some people even wonder whether these boxes will attract bugs into their homes. We’ve done extensive research into this topic and found an answer that’ll provide an idea about what to expect.

Your cat’s litter box does attract bugs, as certain ones love to feed on the feces found inside these boxes. As a result, it’s not uncommon to see them flying around or inside the litter as you’re cleaning out the box. 

But this answer requires a bit more detail about what exact bugs could frequent your cat’s litter box. Let’s take a deeper look at what bugs might make your cat’s litter box their new home. 

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats

What Bugs Are Attracted to Cat Litter?

The number of bugs that are attracted to cat litter is almost endless. Here’s a quick list of what bugs might find their way into your cat’s litter box:

  • Fungus gnats
  • Fruit flies
  • Bumble bugs
  • Litter beetles
  • Grain weevils
  • Moths
  • Fleas
  • Silverfish
  • Earwigs
  • Jumping bugs

Each of these pests finds cat feces appetizing and might be found consuming the waste material. But the most likely culprits will either be fruit flies or fungus gnats. Both are known for their liking of damp places, which describes a litter box or scooping container perfectly. 

Your chosen litter type could also be an attractive element. Cat litter made with organic matter like grass clippings or corn are known attractants to gnats and fruit flies. Tiny moths will infest these litters, which often leads people to mistake them as gnats or flies.

Can Bed Bugs Live in Cat Litter?

Bed bugs are one pest not known for living in cat litter for various reasons. For instance, each cat litter type was made to stay dry and get cleaned every day. These two qualities ensure a litter box becomes unattractive to bed bugs since these pests reside in a cool environment.

Silica-based cat litter is even harmful to bed bugs, as it can dry out their exterior. It then makes them vulnerable and exposed to air, which causes the bugs to dry out and die. As you can imagine, it’s a key component of why bed bugs keep away from litter boxes.

Read more  How Many Litter Boxes Does A Cat Need?

Some people use silica-based litter as an effective tool in eliminating bed bugs from their homes. You can grind it up and place it into crevices/cracks where these pests reside. You’ll soon find any issues with these bugs to be a thing of the past. Tramadol

Bed bugs also need to have their habitats near the host. Cats use their litter box multiple times during the day, but they don’t hang out there for an extended period. Your cat will instead finish their bathroom business and leave the box to rest elsewhere. It isn’t enough time for the bugs to make a suitable home in your cat’s litter box.

How Do I Keep Bugs Out Of My Cat’s Litter Box?

Keeping bugs out of a litter box doesn’t require much effort. The following tips should ensure these pests don’t make your cat’s litter box an all they can eat buffet.

Keep Your Litter Box Clean

The most obvious preventative measure would be keeping your litter box clean. But if the infestation has already started, an excellent place to begin would be emptying the container, then scrubbing it clean using detergent and warm water. 

Once it’s cleaned, place a little less litter than usual into the box. It’ll allow you to clean it out easier and keep the litter inside a lot more fresh. We recommend having separate litter boxes for multiple cat households to prevent an overload of waste from attracting even more bugs. 

Build a Candle Trap

Candle traps are an effective, simple way of stopping these pests from becoming an issue. You need to light a candle and place it inside a water-filled container. From there, turn out the other lights in the area and place the trap near your cat’s litter box.

The trap should attract these bugs to its flame, which will burn their wings. Some might get sucked into the flame’s reflection, get too close to it, and find themselves stuck in the water. Adding a few drops of dish soap would be an effective way to ensure an escape isn’t possible. 

Create a Rotten Fruit Trap

People with some old, rotting fruit inside their homes can use it to eliminate fruit flies. Place the gross piece of fruit into a container, cover it with plastic wrap, and jab a few holes into it. This trap will attract the flies into it while not giving them a way out. 

Use a Vinegar Trap

If the candle or rotting fruit trick isn’t working, some of your kitchen supplies can create a genuinely effective trap. Start by getting a container, such as an old bowl, and adding warm water to it. Proceed to mix in some sugar, a little apple cider vinegar, and a bit of dish soap. 

Stir the mixture until it’s entirely combined and set this container on a ledge or shelf near the litter box. But please, make sure your pet can’t reach it. This trap should be effective almost immediately, as it’s common to see a massive number of dead gnats within one day. 

But you’ll need to keep replacing the solution every couple of days. If you don’t have vinegar, there are a few alternatives options that could have similar results: beer, wine, or any sweet fermented liquid. 

Buy a Few Fly Traps

Commercial fly traps are an extremely efficient way to combat severe infestations. Hang a few from the ceiling where they’re low enough to catch those fruit flies but high enough to keep them away from your cat. These traps should make those pests disappear quickly. 

Deploy a Bug Zapper

Bug zappers are usually used for killing more giant insects, such as mosquitoes. But if you have one, it wouldn’t hurt to place it on a shelf near your cat’s litter box. You might get lucky, and a few gnats find their way into the zapper.

Do Litter Boxes Attract Ants?

It isn’t uncommon to see a few ants crawling inside or around a litter box. An ant’s attraction to these boxes stems from the scent of cat urine. Pet owners with diabetic cats tend to have this issue more than most because they have more bathroom trips than other cats. 

If you have an excessive ant issue, it would be wise to schedule a vet visit because of the diabetic problem. But an ant infestation could also be a result of using bio-degradable litter when your cat has no underlying medical issue. Try switching litter types, and those ants should adventure elsewhere.

Do Spiders Like Cat Litter?

Spiders themselves aren’t attracted to cat litter, but you might see them inside the litter box. A spider might adventure into a litter box because there could be insects within it that they want to eat. Therefore, if you don’t keep your litter box free of bugs, a creepy spider will likely make its way into the box. 

Do Litter Boxes Attract Roaches?

Roaches are about the last thing a person wants to see inside their cat’s litter box. But these vile creatures will infest one because they’re attracted to anything dirty. In other words, the litter box themselves don’t attract roaches, but the soiled litter and type of litter inside them sure do. 

Like other pests, bio-degradable litter made from organic matter (wheat, pine, corn, etc.) can be a roaches’ food source. You’d be better off sticking with a silica-based or clay-based litter to avoid these problems. 

In Closing

If you have any more questions about bugs and cat litter, let us know in our comment section. We’ll make sure to respond as soon as possible. Thanks for reading our article!

— Update: 21-03-2023 — found an additional article How to Get Rid of Gnats in Cat Litter Naturally (Home Remedies) from the website for the keyword cat litter that doesn’t attract gnats.

So, you need to get rid of some gnats in your cat’s litter box.

Are you tired of seeing tiny flies every time you scoop the litter?

Do tiny white worms crawling in the litter box freak you out?

Are you worried about fungus gnats cross-contaminating your food?

We’ll talk about how to manage, control, and eliminate gnats from the litter. Permanently.

In this article, you’ll read about:

  • Why your cat’s litter box is attracting gnats
  • Identifying the type of pest (gnat, silverfish, beetle, flea, drain fly, etc.)
  • Whether or not gnats harm your cat
  • Proven natural remedies to get rid of gnats in the litter box
  • How to keep pests out of the cat litter
  • How to control other pests
  • And more

By the end of this page, you should have everything you need to know to control gnats (and a whole lot more) so your cat can do their business in peace.

Sound good? Let’s keep those gnats outside!

Do flies lay eggs in cat litter?

Yes, they do.

Flies are attracted to cat litter just like any other rotting fruit or vegetable they so desire. Flies, gnats, roaches, and every other pest that feeds on waste or organic detritus can be a problem for litter boxes.

If the litter box isn’t cleaned daily and you live in a warm and humid area, this is just asking for a pest infestation.

Always clean the litter box daily, place it in a cool area that’s well ventilated, and keep humidity low.

If a housefly finds its way into the litter box, you’ll see maggots (those tiny white worms/grubs) in a matter of days.

Gnats in the litter box are also common, especially if you have soil or plants nearby. They can enter your home through the patio or window screenings because of their tiny size.

So gnats that are outside of your home can easily come into your house just like that. The screen on your patio door or window does nothing unless you have a very fine mesh.

Can gnats live on cats?

Gnats can crawl around on your cat’s fur and you may notice scratching or itching.

Although gnats don’t bite or sting cats, they can cause some kind of discomfort. If your cat does his business in the litter box and you notice scratching afterward, some gnats may have grabbed onto your cat’s fur.

However, if you see bite marks, bumps, or bleeding, it could be the work of a mosquito or no see um.

Why are there gnats in my cat litter box?

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats
Fungus gnats are a common pest found in the litter bin.

Gnats are attracted to the feces in your cat’s litter box.

They feed off detritus and organic matter, and your cat’s poop and urine offer different nutrients for them to consume like happy hour at a buffet. If your litter box is in a humid area, such as the bathroom, kitchen, or nearby a drain or sink, this just brings more gnats to the area.

Lastly, if temperatures are warm, generally you’ll see more gnat activity.

There may be other attractants in the area that are also bringing gnats to the litter box, such as fruits, veggies, soil, or even your decorative indoor plants.

Do gnats come from poop?

Yes, gnats can stem from feces and droppings.

Some species favor this environment and will hide in it while they consume the waste material.

They’ll feed on it during their larvae phase until they turn into adults, so it’ll appear as if the gnats “came out” of the feces.

Fungus gnats and fruit flies are both common in cat litter.

But other than the cat poop, they could also be attracted to the urine or even the litter used in the litter box. If the litter contains organic matter like vegetables, corn, or grass clippings, this can be an attractant to gnats.

Can worms live in cat litter?

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats
“Don’t tell me I have worms. Again!”

Yes, especially maggots from the common housefly.

If you don’t keep the litter bin maintained and constantly clean it on a routine schedule, you’ll see maggots start squirming about as you turn the cat litter.

You may end up bringing in a whole host of larvae, as worms are generally the larvae form of beetles, moths, flies, and more. Tiny worms hiding and eating your cat’s feces shouldn’t be a surprise for dirty conditions.

If this is you, start by getting on a schedule for cleaning.

Empty, disinfect, and clean the litter box DAILY. Then add natural repellents to the edges of it to keep bugs away.

You can use a variety of home remedies to keep your litter box pest-free such as essential oils, vinegar, dish soap, and even line the edges with sticky tape. Read below for more details.

Can I get sick from my cat’s litter box?

This is a loaded question because it depends on your hygiene habits.

If you’re a clean person and wash your hands with warm water and soap for an appropriate amount of time after handling anything contained, probably not.

But if your hygiene habits aren’t up to par, there’s a very good possibility that you can take in some kind of parasite, worm, or diseases from your cat’s dirty litter box.

Other factors also are at stake:

  • How clean the litter box is
  • Your overall hygiene habits
  • If there are vectors present in the litter
  • The environment of the bacteria, parasites, and vectors

Even something as simple as how often you check the litter for parasites and other visible vectors matters.

If you never pay attention to the pests hiding in your cat’s litter, you may never notice them and easily touch your face, hair, or clothing and transfer the organism which will then possibly make you sick.

Don’t ever skimp on the cleaning to keep yourself minimized from bacteria.

Can fleas live in cat litter?

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats
Fleas like the humid environment and unlimited food your cat’s litter provides.

Fleas can thrive in the litter box because it provides a perfect environment for fly eggs to incubate and hatch.

Even after the larvae emerge (those tiny maggots), they’ll remain and hide in the litter box and continue to feed on the waste excrement from your cat until they pupate.

Eventually, they’ll turn into an adult fly and leave the litter box (or just buzz around it). This continues their annoying presence and will continue to bug you and your cat.

The fleas can eventually get into your cat’s fur and skin. This is when the biting, scratching, and headaches take place.

They have everything they need in the litter- a place to hide, a steady supply of cat poop to eat, and humidity from the cat urine. Why go anywhere else?

Can a cat get worms from a dirty litter box?

A dirty litter box is a nesting site for all sorts of diseases, worms, and parasites.

If a vector transmits a parasite into the litter box, all it takes is for your cat to walk over it and make contact with it to start the parasitic process.

Unkempt litter bins are just terrible breeding grounds for worms, fleas, beetles, and more than you’ll want to deal with. Always keep it clean.

Set up DIY traps and use natural repellents. Check regularly for pest problems. And act accordingly.

Can gnats hurt cats?

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats
A fungus gnat sitting on the edge of a litter bin. (By EBKauai – , CC BY 2.0)

Gnats are not parasitic and don’t have the proper mouthpieces to bite or harm your cat.

They can get stuck in the fur, but that’ll only cause some minor scratching.

But that doesn’t mean you should just be “OK” with gnats in the litter box. They can be a vector of disease especially if they’ve made contact with your cat’s feces or urine and then fly and land on household surfaces.

Although the transmission of diseases from gnats isn’t common, those who are on the cleaner side may be worried.

Note that there ARE some gnats that can bite, spread disease, and carry parasites.

But for most of the urban US, these gnats don’t usually end up your cat’s litter.

For those that deal with these more invasive species because you’re out somewhere remote or rural (or you just took your cat on a hike through the wilderness), it’s possible to bring home a disease-carrying vector.

Does cat urine attract flies?

Cat urine reeks because of the strong ammonia concentration found in the waste.

Ammonia’s odor is an attraction to flies (and many other pests) and this lures them to your cat’s waste. If you have your litter box placed somewhere humid or has other organic waste (bathroom, shower, kitchen, near drains or trash cans, etc.) then this is a prime attractant for fleas.

You can use essential oils, fly traps, and sticky tape for starters.

But nothing beats regularly cleaning the litter and turning it over.

Plus, you can consider relocating the entire bin to somewhere less prone to pests problems.

What bugs are attracted to cat litter?

Yes, there are bugs that are attracted to cat litter.

Cat litter brings a bunch of different insects to your home. The multitude of pests that feed on feces is countless.

However, there are a few that are especially prominent in homes like mosquitoes, flies, beetles, and of course, gnats.

Fruit flies don’t only eat fruits- they eat cat litter also. Fungus gnats, dung beetles, bumble bugs, litter beetles, fleas, grain weevils, and even moths can be found consuming the waste material.

There are also jumping bugs, silverfish, earwigs, and even bugs that only eat the corn from your cat’s waste.

Don’t take any risks and test the waters. Prevent pest problems by being proactive.

The last thing you’ll need is to dig out the litter to see a layer of grubs hiding under the surface layer.

How do I get rid of gnats in my cats litter box?

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats
Be patient and persistent.

Here are some DIY remedies you can do at home to get rid of the gnats in the litter box.

Read more  Does The Litter Box Attract Bugs?

Use natural or organic methods where possible and avoid dangerous or toxic poisons, especially since you have a live feline roaming around. Try a few of them out and see what works.

There’s no one best way to get rid of gnats- you need to use a combination of them.

Clean the litter box

The most obvious way to keep a gnat-free litter box is to keep it clean. Maintain it.

Don’t let the cat poop build up and attract more gnats (and other pests, like palmettos) to it.

Once a few gnats have established shelter, it only takes a few days for them to breed and start a new generation. You’ll want to do thorough, complete, cleanings of the litter box on a DAILY basis.

Not every other day. Not every week. DAILY.

This is important because you want to disturb the lifecycle and throw out any eggs that the gnats may have deposited to the litter or sides of the litter box.

Use fewer scoops of cat litter than usual because you don’t want to waste too much of it during this time. Try halving the amount and see if it still deodorizes the litter. You can adjust as needed.

Clean it out as soon as you can. Gnats are attracted to the cat urine and excess humidity it creates in the litter.

So disposing of it and keeping it dry will help repel gnats and any other moisture-seeking bugs.

Use vinegar

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats
Vinegar can repel all sorts of flying pests.

Vinegar cleans everything. It’s truly an amazing product.

And using it to kill and repel gnats is just another possibility.

Use vinegar to clean the litter box and apply a layer of it before you toss in the new litter. You can dilute vinegar in equal parts water and spray the litter bin with it when you clean it out.

The layer of vinegar at the bottom and sides can be a natural deterrent and helps keep gnats away from the perimeter of the litter box.

Make your own gnat killer

Similar to using vinegar as a repellent, you can also use it to kill gnats. This mixture will disinfect and kill any residue bacteria as well.

If you spray gnats with vinegar, it can make an effective gnat killer because of the high acidity.

All you need is equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Add in a few drops of dish soap and swirl gently until it starts foaming on the surface of the mixture.

When you see gnats flying around on the litter, spray them and they should drown from the high surface tension of the dish detergent.

You can also use this to clean the litter box. I find this recipe to clean quicker because of the additional dish soap compared to just using pure vinegar.

Don’t let the litter stay damp

Damp litter will attract flies and fungus gnats.

Keep them away by keeping it dry. The collection and buildup of wet litter will eventually create a breeding ground for fleas, gnats, and even moths.

Some flea eggs will hatch in just one day, which propagates their lifecycle. With such an abundance of fleas, you’ll have a flea problem in no time.

Be sure to empty it (or at least the damp part) into a secure plastic bag or container whenever it gets wet. Always rinse with dish soap and water after each thorough cleaning.

Build a gnat trap with vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can be used to create a gnat trap.

You can use pure vinegar, but mixing it with bait to lure the gnats is a lot more effective (and worth your time).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon of dish soap
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • A small bowl or container

How to make it:

  • Add the water and apple cider vinegar together in a small bowl
  • Add the dish soap
  • Gently stir until it starts to bubble

How to use it:

Place the bowl nearby your cat’s litter box.

The gnats are attracted to the apple cider vinegar and will land on the bowl, then drop down to the liquid to drink it. The dish soap has a very high surface tension so it traps them under the liquid, preventing them from flying back out.

If you notice that the gnats land in the mixture but fly back out, add more dish soap.

And of course, don’t let your cat drink the mixture. Place it somewhere secure.

Replace the mixture when it’s full of dead bugs as necessary.

The ACV loses the scent over time and will need to be replaced with a new mixture.

You can also make a paper funnel by rolling up a sheet of paper and shoving it into a small bottle filled with vinegar and dish soap with water as the mixture base.

The gnats and fleas fly into the trap and drown in the soap.

Make a wine or beer trap

Similar to the gnat trap with vinegar, you can also use wine or beer.

Gnats are annoying pests, but they can easily be lured right into a trap using any fermented drinks.

Mix wine or beer with a few drops of dish soap and equal parts water in a small container and place it near your kitten’s litter box. This will help lure the gnat away from the bin and right into the trap.

Don’t depend on JUST these traps to get rid of the gnat problem. You need to clean the litter WHILE having traps set up if you want to eradicate them permanently.

Seal up entryways

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats
A clean yard proves to be less attractive to pests.

The gnats had to come from somewhere, right?

They likely flew into your home from a crack or crevice or some other opening. Evaluate your home and check for common areas where they can be coming in.

Here are some common places to check for gnat activity:

  • Replace window screens that are torn or damaged
  • Seal up door gaps
  • Caulk or replace damaged weatherstripping
  • Check vents and your HVAC system
  • Keep your doors and windows shut
  • Clean and wash any fruits or veggies to prevent vinegar flies
  • Check your cat or dog for signs of gnats
  • Evaluate indoor plants for gnat activity
  • Check your drains, sinks, and other humid areas for flies or gnats
  • Inspect your plumbing for any dripping water or puddles
  • Check any soil nearby for gnats (outdoor yard and potted plants inside your house)
  • Keep your yard clean and tidy
  • Get rid of or store wood properly
  • Keep your patio furnishings clean

Gnats could be entering your property from the outside OR they can be breeding somewhere within your home.

You need to check both to see where they’re coming from.

This is especially critical if you constantly catch gnats buzzing around your cat’s litter box even after you’ve done a thorough cleaning.

Make a DIY gnat trap with saran wrap

You can build a trap using saran wrap and some bait.

This one’s a little more effective at keeping gnats contained. Get some liquor or apple cider vinegar and mix it with equal parts water.

Pour the mixture into a mason jar and cover the top with a layer of cling film. Poke some holes in it and secure it around the neck of the jar with a rubber band. Then place the trap next to your litter box where the pets can’t reach it.

Also, be wary of children and other people.

The gnats are attracted to the scent of the ACV and fly through the holes into the jar, but then they can’t get back out. You can fill it up with dish soap and water to kill them before you type it out.

You can reuse the container with a good wash to prevent bacterial buildup.

Use a candle trap

Candles can be made into a deadly trap for gnats.

The way it works is that you use a live flame from a candle and place it into a mason jar filled with a moat of water.

So the candle sits above the water level and burns at the bottom of the jar. The gnats will fly to the candle, right into the jar. The heat from the candle kills the gnats.

Some people add dish soap to the water to make it harder for them to escape. You should ONLY do this if you have a 100% controlled environment.

As with any flame, you need to be careful about pets and people knocking it over.

Always supervise the trap and NEVER leave it unattended.

Have the means to handle a fire if necessary. This is best used for outside litter boxes that are contained.

Use less litter

Try reducing the litter you use by half.

This will provide less substrate for the gnats to live in and may help make getting rid of them easier.

You can adjust the amount of litter accordingly depending on your cat’s regimen. If you feed a lot of food or your cat drinks a lot of water, you’ll need more litter.

But if not, then reduce the amount you use. This will save you money, not to mention reduce the number of pests you need to deal with.

It’ll also help stop the buildup of organic matter that they eat.

Try sticky tape

Sticky tape can be purchased from any hardware store. Just tape it around areas where you commonly see the gnats. You can make a layer of it on the outside and inside of the litter bin.

When gnats fly or walk on the tape, they get stuck.

Replace as necessary and use it as directed by the product label. The nice thing about sticky tape is that one roll lasts a long time.

Get a double-sided, non-damaging tape and use it around the home. You can stick it around window sills, doors, walls, and even the ceiling.

Some people stick one end on the ceiling and let the strand hang down. Gnats will fly into the tape and get stuck. They’re also easy to replace and completely passive once you set them up!

As long as they’re securely and safely placed, you don’t need to do anything else.

What I like best about sticky tape is that you can use the strips as a gauge to see how you’re doing with the gnat elimination.

Over time, you should see FEWER gnats stuck to the adhesive strips. If you see this, you know whatever you’re doing is working.

And if you see the opposite, you should try a different home remedy to rid the gnats from your cat’s litter bin.

Spray with alcohol

You can kill gnats upon contact with rubbing alcohol.

If you want a quick and clean kill without any harmful chemical residues lingering afterward, use rubbing alcohol.

Even 70% should be enough (and you can dilute it with water to get more out of it).

Rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly and leaves no residue, but it can damage some paints, finishes, and surfaces. So don’t go spraying the stuff everywhere.

You can use it to clean the litter box or as a gnat killer to take care of the ones hovering around your house.

Rubbing alcohol can also be a very effective gnat and fly killer. Just a few spritzes of it into the air kill the flying pests.

Keep humidity down

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats
Bathroom and kitchen sinks provide moisture.

Keeping the humidity low in the room where you keep the litter box can help.

Gnats and flies are both attracted to damp environments so they can thrive. Consider relocating the litter box toa dry environment with plenty of light.

Or lower the humidity in the room where you keep the bin:

  • Dry up any water spills ASAP
  • Open windows to allow airflow
  • Use a box fan to circulate the air
  • Use a dehumidifier if you can’t relocate the litter bin
  • Avoid placing the bin in areas like your bathroom or kitchen

Although it makes sense to you (the bathroom is where the business is done), it’s just harboring pests.

Relocate the litter box

When you’re out of ideas, put the litter bin somewhere else.

Perhaps in a room that has plenty of light and no humidity.

Of course, your cat’s gonna have to get used to it.

But it may stop the gnat problem and rule out the possibility of them hiding in your plants or coming in from a specific area in your home. If you suddenly see no more gnats around the cat litter, this could mean a room-specific infestation.

See if you can find out where they’re coming from and eliminate, block, or set up traps/repellents in that area to get rid of them permanently.

Hire a professional

Consider hiring a licensed pest exterminator if you really can’t get rid of the gnats.

They can usually do a free home inspection and assess the problem. They may be able to toss you some advice as to where the gnats are coming from and if home remedies can control them.

Do some research and read some reviews to see people have to say about a particular company before hiring them.

Some also have alternative “natural” chemicals, which you should ask about.

After all, you don’t want dangerous residues from pesticides lingering around your home, garden, or CAT, right? Don’t rush things and take your time.

How to keep gnats away from the litter box

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats
Keep the bugs away naturally with these home remedies.

There are few things you can do to keep bugs away from your litter box. Start with a combo of different remedies and assess from there.

Stop the ones that aren’t working and try new ones. Here are a few techniques you try:

  • Line the perimeter of the litter box with sticky tape to catch crawling and flying bugs
  • Regularly clean the litter box daily
  • Remove damp litter ASAP
  • Use half the amount of litter
  • Put plants around the litter bin that repel bugs (marigold, lavender, rosemary, basil, onion, garlic, etc.)
  • Use a bug zapper
  • Decrease the moisture content in the air
  • Place the litter box away from windows and doors
  • Ensure there’s no fruits or vegetables near the litter
  • Spray vinegar and dish soap when cleaning the bin

With these tips, you can keep gnats and other pests away from the litter box.

Assuming the pest problem isn’t rampant with your cat, there shouldn’t be too much difficulty to keep it pest-free.

Also, make sure your CAT isn’t bringing in pests from the outdoors or has a flea problem.

Other bugs commonly found in litter boxes

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats
Silverfish, weevils, worms, and more.

There are also some other bugs that are commonly found in litter boxes other than gnats.

Because the environment created by the waste and wetness of the litter, this attracts all sorts of nasty bugs that’ll glady make it their own home.

You may even be dealing with some other insect entirely rather than gnats.

Perhaps you’re about to find out now.

So let’s dive in and see some quick tips on handling these other annoying pests- just in case you have more than one type of bug eating up the cat litter.

Weevils in cat litter

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats
Rice weevils are plentiful in nature, but you’ll find them in your rice or cereal also.

Weevils (grain and rice weevils) are common in litter boxes, especially if the litter uses some kind of corn, rice, wheat, or grain materials.

These weevils feed on the grain and will breed in it.

They don’t require any special environment so they’re prone to reproduce like crazy right in the box- especially if it’s not clean. The dampness from your cat’s waste will only help.

Grain weevils look like tiny white worms as larvae and will pupate into a small beetle.

So if you see worms or beetles in the litter, it could very well just be a single bug. Grain weevils. You can check out this guide on getting rid of them.

Read more  11 Best Rat & Mouse Urine Cleaners In 2022 – Reviews & Top Picks

You may also want to check your dry goods such as flour, wheat, cereal, oats, etc.

The weevils may have come from your kitchen pantry, or they may go from your litter box to your kitchen drawers, so be wary.

Weevils will always require a complete teardown of your pantry and through cleaning. They’re also very good at hiding so you’ll need to be complete and not leave any stone unturned.

Silverfish in cat litter

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats
Silverfish have plenty of eat from your cat.

Silverfish are another pest you may see in your cat’s litter box.

These quick and nimble buggers will dig into the litter and consume detritus and debris. They’re attracted to the excess moisture from your cat’s waste, so they have everything they need to live in harmony.

Thankfully, silverfish are relatively easy to control.

Keep the litter box dry and clean. They should go away on their own. Just be sure you’re actually dealing with silverfish and not something similar to them, like booklice.

Drain flies in cat litter

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats
Drain flies favor the humidity and dampness of litter.

Drain flies may show up in areas that are damp and have plenty of bacteria and fungus for them to eat.

As the name states, they’re commonly found in drains where sludge buildup allows for them to have plenty of particles to eat.

Dirty or unclean litter bins may also create the same environment for drain flies, such as debris and buildup in the corners or bottom of your bin.

Keep it clean and always use a cleaner like vinegar to remove any sludge. You can also soak the entire bin in a mixture of baking soda and water once a month to fully remove any buildup.

Cat litter mites

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats
Clover mites are everywhere during high season.

Mites are also a common pest.

There are many different types of mites, and they’re also often confused with similar bugs because of their small size. Mites don’t have wings and will usually be found on surfaces that are inverse (opposite) of their color.

For example, spider mites can be easily seen on white surfaces.

So you can grab some litter and pour it on a piece of paper. Then take out your phone camera and zoom in. See if you can spot any small tiny mites moving around.

You also may find carpet beetles, tiny spiders, or fleas during the process since they all favor the same environments. Mites can be controlled with regular cleaning and disinfecting.

There are a few different types that are found within the home- mold mites, clover mites, and even mites that hide in your computer.

Do you see the pattern yet?

Keep your bin clean and you can avoid a ton of headache later on.

Further reading

Here are some resources and references you may find useful:

Did you get rid of the gnats in your cat’s litter box?

Cat litter that doesn't attract gnats
A happy cat with a pest-free litter box.

You now have a solid foundation to get you started on eradicating fungus gnats, flies, silverfish, beetles, and even mites found in your litter bin.

Oliver will appreciate it. It’ll take some patience, persistence, and you’ll probably have to try a few different remedies out until you find one that works.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below. Or if you’ve dealt with bugs in the litterbox before, share some tips for others.

If you found this article helpful, please consider telling a friend who may get some use out of it (a fellow cat owner online?).

Thanks for reading.

— Update: 24-03-2023 — found an additional article How To Get Rid Of Gnats In A Litter Box (Hassle-Free) from the website for the keyword cat litter that doesn’t attract gnats.

Getting rid of gnats in a litter box seems impossible if you don’t know the right methods. These persistent little bugs never seem to go away!

This guide will teach you how to get rid of them, and how to keep them out. Don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than it looks.

Why Are Gnats Attracted To Litter Boxes?

When most people think of gnats, they picture rotting fruit or fermenting kitchen scraps. While these tiny bugs do flock to sweet and fruity scents, your cat’s litter box is just as appealing.

The most common type of gnats to invade the litter box is a fungus gnat. These are the same insects that like to hang around potted plants in your home.

They’re predominantly attracted to the waste in the litter. Both urine and feces are valuable sources of food for the bugs. Gnats will often burrow themselves in cat poop as they feed on the nutrients they need to survive. 

Then they emerge, giving off the appearance that they “hatched” from the feces. 

Quick Tip: Sometimes, it’s the litter itself that’s the problem. Vegetable-based litter products often use ingredients like corn or wheat. Even organic matter like coconut shavings or pine will attract gnats for its nutritional content.

Believe it or not, but gnats can also lay eggs in the litter box.

The wet and warm environment of a dirty litter box is perfect for eggs. In only a matter of days, the maggot-like larvae will emerge and make your kitty’s bathroom unusable for the time being.

It doesn’t take long before you have a massive population of annoying gnats in the litter box. If you live in a warm and humid environment, the issue can get even worse!

How To Get Rid Of Gnats In Litter Boxes

Gnats in the litter box can be a massive headache. Fortunately, they’re not too tricky to get rid of with a bit of know-how. Usually, it takes a couple of different methods to remove them.

Here are some techniques you can try to get rid of gnats in the litter box once and for all.

1. Clean The Litter Box Regularly

The first thing you should do? Clean out the litter box!

Gnats in the litter box will usually start to gather when waste sits for a while. Getting rid of both liquid and solid waste will do a lot to send them away. Of course, some will linger behind, but the bugs attracted to the organic waste will have no reason to stick around.

Clean out the box and the collection bin if you have one.

Don’t just limit your cleanup duties to sifting out the waste. Perform a deep clean!

Empty the entire receptacle and scrub it clean with some detergent. If you have it on hand, use some pet-safe sanitation products, too. Otherwise, you can get rid of germs with a thorough wash.

Ideally, it would be best if you cleaned the litter box out every day. Not every other day or a couple of times a week. You should clean and wash the litter box every single day!

We can’t stress that enough.

Quick Tip: Gnats don’t need long to lay eggs and multiply. Cleaning the litter box will disrupt the reproduction cycle and prevent more gnats from appearing. 

2. Use Commercial Fly Traps

Fly traps are a surprisingly effective method for getting rid of gnats in a litter box when you use them correctly.

Most traps feature a sticky surface. It can be a simple cardboard tube or a long ribbon that you unravel. Either way, the surface is coated in a special glue that traps gnats the moment they’re unlucky enough to land on it.

You can hang the traps above the litter box where the gnats congregate. Just make sure it’s out of your cat’s reach. Felines can’t resist playing with a hanging toy, and the last thing you want to deal with is trying to wash glue out of your cat’s fur.

3. Set Up A Bug Zapper

Bug zappers can be hit or miss with gnats. These devices use an electrical current to fry flying insects on contact. Most zappers are designed for more giant insects like flies, mosquitos, and moths.

However, you might see some success with smaller models. Just place the zapper on a shelf somewhere above the litter box. Keep it out of reach from your cat, as that’s a nasty sting just waiting to happen!

4. Use Flying Insect Killer

Another commercial product you might consider buying is a spray insecticide. But don’t get a universal spray product. Instead, find one that targets flying insects.

These sprays have a built-in atomizer that spreads the chemicals in a fine mist. That way, you can quickly attack several gnats in one application.

The insecticide will coat the wings and quickly kill bugs in the litter box by disrupting their nervous system.

Once again, exercise caution here. Avoid spraying the chemicals into the litter, as it can irritate your cat’s paws when they use the litter box.

Quick Tip: Food-safe sprays are available as well. Instead of chemicals, they use all-natural oils. Those products are safe to use directly onto the liter.

5. Make An Alcohol Spray

If you prefer something a little more affordable and natural, you can use alcohol.

Fill a spray bottle with isopropyl alcohol and go to town attacking gnats and bugs that you find in the litter box! The alcohol will kill the gnats almost instantly. However, it also dries quickly and doesn’t cause any harm to your cat if they use the litter box later on.

Quick Tip: Try to use a bottle with a fine mist sprayer. The finer the alcohol particles, the more harmful the spray is against tiny flies.

Even if you don’t have any gnats in the immediate area, you can use the alcohol to clean the litter box. Give it a good spritz after washing to sanitize every surface and keep your cat’s bathroom bacteria-free.

6. Try A DIY Gnat Trap

If you’re in a pinch, DIY gnat traps can work wonders. They get the job done without having to spend much money at all. You have a few designs to try.

The first uses an old container, some cling film, and apple cider vinegar. Fill the container with warm water. Then, add a tablespoon of sugar, a drop of dishwashing soap, and a few tablespoons of vinegar.

Cover the opening of the container with cling film and use a toothpick to create a series of small holes.

The scent of the vinegar and sugar should attract the gnats. They’ll enter through the holes, get trapped in the container, and drown in the liquid below!

If that doesn’t work, you can try the candle trap. With this setup, you’ll need a large bowl of water and a candle. Set the candle in the bowl of water and light it up.

The flame should be above water level (and the whole trap should be in the vicinity of the litter box). The heat will kill the gnats and force them to fall into the water below. For some extra efficiency, add a few drops of soap into the water to prevent escape.

How To Keep Them Out In The Future

Now that you know how to get rid of the gnats in the litter box, let’s talk about how to keep them out.

Gnats are resilient little bugs that can quickly come back. Your cat’s litter box is a prime source of food and shelter for these flies. As long as that litter box is there, it has the potential to attract gnats.

However, there are several things you can do to ensure that they don’t bother you and your cat again.

Keep The Litter Box In The Right Environment

As we mentioned earlier, gnats prefer warm and humid environments.

Keep the litter box out of rooms that generate a lot of heat. Stick them in well-ventilated rooms with easy access to an air conditioner or fan.

Quick Tip: If possible, consider investing in a small dehumidifier. You can set the dehumidifier up in a designated room to keep the air as moisture-free and unappealing to gnats as possible.

Seal Potential Entry Points

Gnats can get in through all kinds of spaces. Thanks to their tiny size, they have no trouble with barriers like mesh or window screens. 

Pay close attention to possible access points (especially near the litter box) and seal them up as much as possible. Use caulk around doors and windows. If your windows have screens, keep them closed to ensure that gnats don’t navigate through.

Use Less Cat Litter

While most cat lovers don’t realize it, they’re using way more litter than they need to. Cats can do just fine with only a thin layer of litter to work with.

Try cutting your litter usable by half. Doing so serves multiple purposes. First, it encourages you to keep the litter box clean. With only a little bit of litter available, you’ll have no choice but to wash and replenish the material more frequently.

Secondly, less litter provides less substrate for gnats to utilize for egg-laying. The gnats, eggs, and larvae will also be much easier to get rid of 

Invest In An Automatic Litter Box

Have you ever seen one of those fancy electric litter boxes? They’re a fantastic tool for keeping gnats out of litter boxes.

These devices have a series of sensors that pick up when your cat comes in and out. After they do their business, the litter box will automatically pick up the waste. Usually, the spent litter goes into a sealed compartment that’s inaccessible to gnats and other insects.

They’re high-tech and pricey, but the benefits make it well worth the consideration!

Apply Repellents

Those who want to keep things simple can try using repellents. Like most insects, gnats are not keen on essential oils and strong odors. They particularly hate lavender, basil, rosemary, and other intense aromatics.

Use that to your advantage! You can create a simple essential oil spray with some water and vinegar. Use it liberally around the room to keep gnats and other insects out of the litter box.

Quick Tip: Alternatively, you can buy whole plants and arrange them around the room! Either way, the smell is usually enough to keep most gnats at bay.

Take Care Of Nearby Plants

Finally, don’t forget to check any indoor plants. The same gnats that get into your cat’s litter box are causing trouble to nearby potted plants.

Consider replenishing the soil and changing your watering habits to encourage drying and adequate drainage. If the gnats become too much of a problem, you might want to move the potted plant. 

Is It Dangerous Or Unhealthy?

Gnats in a litter box are more than just a minor annoyance. While it’s rare, these flies are fully capable of spreading disease-causing pathogens throughout your house.

Your pets would be the first to feel the ill effects of gnats. These bugs can get on your cat’s paws and eventually spread to their fur. There, they cause itchiness and irritation.

Eventually, your cat will spread the gnats throughout your home.

It doesn’t take before the gnats reach you, your children, and everyone else in the home. All it takes is you not washing your hands before touching your face for things to go awry. The flies can carry parasites, bacteria, and disease vectors.

They’re not something you want to ignore. A large population of gnats in a litter box can create an unsanitary and potentially dangerous environment in your home.


If you have a cat, learning how to get rid of gnats in their litter box is an essential skill you should develop. Fortunately, it’s just a matter of knowing the right methods to try.

Let us know if you have any questions about taking care of these annoying little bugs (or keeping them out). We’re always happy to help our readers!


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About the Author: Tung Chi