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Which litter box liner is best?

One of the best and worst aspects of owning a cat is the fact they use a litter box. It’s particularly good when it’s storming fiercely outside and you don’t need to get up from the couch to let your cat out. When it comes time to clean it all up, though, it can be miserable, especially if you use a thin litter box liner that’s prone to tearing.

Avoid that and many other issues with Fresh Step Unscented Drawstring Litter Box Liners. This best-of-the-best option is easy to clean, thanks to its drawstring seal, and large enough to serve multi-cat homes. Even better, it keeps unpleasant odors down without masking them with a stronger scent.

What to know before you buy a litter box liner

Types of litter box liners

There are three main types of litter box liner: sifting, disposable and reusable.

  • Sifting: Sifting litter box liners are designed so you can get the most use possible out of your cat litter. They work by using several layers of disposable liner placed over a solid liner on the bottom. As your cat uses the litter box, you simply lift a liner layer up and let the unused litter filter out through holes, leaving only the waste in the liner layer you removed.
  • Disposable: Disposable liners are essentially just bags you throw away once the litter box fills with waste. They’re easy to remove and replace, and usually have easy-sealing features, such as drawstrings to avoid accidental spillage.
  • Reusable: Reusable litter box liners are the most expensive option and also the one that requires the most work to use properly. They are scratch- and tear-resistant, but require regular cleaning and you’ll need to empty the used litter into a separate trash bag.


Most litter box liners will have a thickness of between 1 and 3 millimeters, with thicker liners being the most durable and resistant to scratching and tearing. It’s important to note that 1-millimeter litter box liners are rarely durable enough to withstand anything more than very minor activity.

What to look for in a quality litter box liner

Odor control

Sometimes keeping your litter box clean isn’t enough to reduce unpleasant odors. That’s why many litter box liners include some method of odor control, whether it be masking the odor with a different scent or using an antimicrobial agent. Most cats are very susceptible to strong odors, though, and might not use the litter box if it has a masking scent that is too strong.

Drawstring handles

One feature that’s particularly helpful when cleaning up a litter box is a liner that uses drawstring handles. These handles work like those of many basic kitchen trash bags and simply pull to close the bag around the used litter. The drawstring sealing also helps keep bacteria exposure, dust and odors down.

How much you can expect to spend on a litter box liner

Litter box liners have a few variables that can alter their price range, such as size, number of included liners and additional features. Most sets of liners can be found between $10-$20, with more expensive options, like reusable liners or huge bulk boxes reaching up to $30.

Litter box liner FAQ

Can’t I just use a leftover plastic bag from the grocery store as a litter box liner?

A. Technically, you can use that or a handful of other alternate solutions. But only a specially made litter box liner is designed to eliminate odors, resist tearing from the litter’s weight or your cat’s claws and has special features like drawstrings for easy cleaning. They are also designed to best fit your specific litter box’s size and shape.

Should I use a litter box liner if I already use clumping cat litter?

A. Clumping cat litter can solve a lot of odor and cleaning problems, because it forms firm lumps when moisture hits the litter, meaning you can scoop out urine along with solid waste. But a liner can still be incredibly helpful in keeping your litter box clean, especially as cats can get their excretions on the sides of the litter box or even expose the bottom by digging too deeply.

What are the best litter box liners to buy?

Top litter box liner 

Fresh Step Unscented Drawstring Litter Box Liners

Fresh Step Unscented Drawstring Litter Box Liners

What you need to know: These litter box liners eliminate most odors instead of masking them with a stronger scent.

What you’ll love: The drawstring makes cleaning up the litter box much easier than most. They can be used on covered or open litter boxes.

What you should consider: These litter box liners are better suited to larger litter boxes and they aren’t fully scratch-resistant.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Chewy

Top litter box liner for the money

Jonny Cat Heavy Duty Jumbo Litter Box Liners

Jonny Cat Heavy Duty Jumbo Litter Box Liners

What you need to know: These extra-tough and tear-resistant litter box liners are purr-fect for multi-cat homes.

What you’ll love: The drawstring closure combined with the 2-millimeter thickness of the liner greatly limits any risks of tearing during cleanup.

What you should consider: Not the best liners for smaller litter boxes, considering they’re jumbo size.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Chewy

Worth checking out

Nature’s Miracle Odor Control Litter Box Liners

Nature’s Miracle Odor Control Litter Box Liners

What you need to know: While not the strongest option, these litter box liners are top-notch at keepin unpleasant odors down.

What you’ll love: One of the largest options available at 39 by 22 inches.

What you should consider: These litter box liners are quite thin, so be extra cautious when changing the liner.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Chewy

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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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