Can You Vacuum Cat Litter?

Vacuuming cat litter
Written by Clair Chesterman

You may be wondering if you can use your regular household vacuum cleaner to clean the cat litter. However, you might not want to do that, as it is likely to damage your current vacuum.

Does Cat Litter Ruin Vacuums?

The short and simplest answer to this is yes, it can ruin the regular vacuum cleaners that you use at home. Here are some of the reasons to not use your regular vacuum to vacuum cat litter listed below: 

  • Some cat litters are sharp, which can damage the hose and especially the filters of your vacuum cleaner.
  •  The urine and feces from your cats can form their litter into clumps that may get stuck in the vacuum hose.
  • These clumps can also adhere to the canister walls and hoses when they come into contact with any liquid.
  • It behaves much like concrete when mixed with liquid, making it akin to vacuuming tiny rocks that could harm your standard vacuum cleaners.
  • The dust from the cat litter can clog the filters. 
  • The accumulation of cat litter dust particles and leftover clumps may result in an unpleasant odor in your vacuum and your home.

Can You Vacuum Cat Litter With A Dyson?

Now that we understand how cat litter can damage vacuum cleaners, you might be wondering what type of vacuum is suitable for cleaning up cat litter.

Most vacuum models, including Dyson, are not recommended for vacuuming cat litter as it can harm your vacuum. However, there are a few models specifically designed for this purpose.

If you really want to use a vacuum for cat litter, it is best to get a handheld vacuum cleaner for cat litter purposes as it is cheaper, more effective, and the filters are specifically designed to deal with cat litter, therefore, it would not break all the while saving the efficiency of your main vacuum cleaner. 

I personally use the one from Dyson. It is the premium option but it is extremely effective and I have been using it for 4 years. 

Ways To Clean The Cat Litter Using Regular Vacuums

Showcasing different way to vacuum cat litter

Now after all the reasons why using regular vacuum cleaners to vacuum kitty litter may destroy them and you would still prefer or would still want to try using your regular vacuum, check out some tips below to use them without destroying them. 

  • Transfer the litter box away so there will be no clutter while you clean. 
  • Remove the filter from the vacuum to avoid the clumped urine or feces from getting stuck into it. 
  • Avoid using attachments when you vacuum cat litter that may just brush them away from the nozzle hole. 
  • It is best to attach the crevice tool especially when vacuuming the corners and areas that are narrow and difficult to reach. 

My Top Choices For Cat Litter Vacuum

Dyson V7 Trigger Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Dyson V7 Trigger Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

The Dyson V7 Cord-Free Handheld vacuum cleaner is undeniably one of the best tools for tackling cat litter. While it may come with a higher price tag, it offers unmatched power and durability for efficient litter cleaning. Personally, I prefer investing in a high-quality device that can serve me for years rather than continually opting for cheaper alternatives.


  • Huge capacity –  up to 15 gallons, does not break if you vacuum cat litter
  • Cordless design eliminates the hassle of unwinding and storing cords, providing greater reach flexibility.
  • Includes useful attachments like a crevice tool, combination tool, and mini-motorized tool.
  • Powered by Dyson V7 that can last up to a 30-minute non-fading suction
  • Uses long-lasting lithium ion batteries

BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium-Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum

BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser and cat litter hand vacuum

The Bissell Cordless Hand Vacuum Cleaner falls within the mid-range price point compared to the two options. I’ve heard that it’s also a reputable vacuum brand for cat litter cleanup, known for its power and reliability in handling this task. However, it’s worth noting that the Dyson V7 boasts more suction power.


  • Equipped with a 14V lithium-ion battery, suitable for vacuuming cat litter, although not ideal.
  • Capacity is up to 0.7 litres or around 24 ounces
  • Cordless design contributes to its lightweight and user-friendly nature.
  • Features a triple-level filtration system for effective cleaning.

BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum ION Hand

BLACK+DECKER Handheld Vacuum for cleaning cat litter

The Black & Decker Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum ION Hand is the most budget-friendly option among our top three picks. It appears to perform slightly less effectively than Bissell and significantly less so than the Dyson V7 when it comes to vacuuming cat litter. However, despite its affordability, we still consider this brand reliable, hence our recommendation.


  • Capacity is up to 31.8 ounces
  • Utilizes lithium technology for stronger suction and extended usage, suitable to vacuum kitty litter cleanup.
  • Features a washable filter and dust bowl for convenience.
  • Includes a crevice tool attachment.
  • Cordless design makes it portable and lightweight.
  • Can last up to 10 hours on a single charge.

Alternatives To Cat Litter Vacuum Cleaner

You may also want to consider using other alternatives to vacuuming as well, such as special litter carpet, auto litters, etc. 

  • Litter Carpet Or Litter Mat

Cat litter mat that help to avoid cat litter mess

Litter Carpets can help in maintaining the cleanliness of the cat litter box and its surrounding area by trapping scattered cat litter on the floor. These scattered litter particles are easily vacuumed up by a vacuum cleaner. This type of carpet or mat is also more comfortable for your cats to walk on compared to regular ones. There are so many of them (check here for example) and no need to recommend a specific one but make sure to check that dimensions fit your room.

  • Self-Cleaning Or Automatic Litter Boxes

self cleaning and scoop free cat litter boxes

This may be something you want to consider, especially if you are a busy cat owner. As the name suggests, it self-cleans the litter boxes automatically, making it a great help in maintaining cleanliness. It also excels in odor control, trapping odors better than regular litter boxes. Another advantage of auto litter boxes is that they make disposing of waste materials easier. For more information, check out our review of the Best Self Cleaning Litter Box  options for cats.


Using your regular home vacuum cleaner to clean the cat litter is not advisable, as it can potentially damage your existing vacuum. It is highly recommended to use a specialized, powerful tool for this particular task, and the best vacuum cleaner for effectively picking up cat litter is the Dyson V7 brand (check the latest price here), known for its power, durability, and reliability.

RELATED: 5 Best Self Cleaning Litter Boxes for Cats


  • Clair Chesterman

    Clair is a professional cat breeder having her own cageless CFA and CCA Registered cattery & fostering company FluffyMeowPaws in Eugene, Oregon. Clair knows everything about multiple cat breeds and how to use the latest technologies to make the cat's life better.

1 Comment

  • Sorry but you are terribly way off base if you think using a DYSON for cat litter is a good idea!! I have one cat and he is not a pig…some litter comes off from his paws and that is what I was vacuuming with one of my 3 Dysons UNTIL I noticed a disgusting smell of cat urine coming from the Dyson….I found out that when the cat walks and drags the litter everywhere especially on my area rugs he leaves the stink of urine from walking in the litter box EVERYWHERE on the rugs. I discovered this the hard way after years of using one of my Dysons for just picking up the scattered litter and vacuuming the area rugs. I had to take the entire DYSON apart and soak it in vinegar for 2 days to get rid of the stench! I SUGGEST YOU DON’T TELL PEOPLE TO USE THEIR EXPENSIVE DYSON TO CLEAN UP CAT LITTER!! I am not a professional cat breeder but I have owned many cats since the age of 18 and I am now 73 and have years of experience but this is the first time my cat has disgusting paws from walking through his own urine in his litter box. SO NO BUY A CHEAP HANDHELD VACUUM TO PICK UP LOOSE LITTER AND SAVE YOUR VERY EXPENSIVE DYSON!

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