Cleaning up after your pets is obviously a gross but necessary task. Scooping out a litter box particularly isn’t a very fun job.
Beyond the obvious (scooping cat droppings and clumped cat urine) cat litter can have a number of dangerous chemicals for humans. It’s also a special mess in and of itself! Even moving a litter box around will often leave you with bits of litter all over your floor or behind furniture. Dusty, smelly cat litter is the last thing you want to have hiding out under a couch or bureau.
Dust-free cat litter helps address at least some of these issues by being easier to clean up and not hanging in the air as long as traditional cat litter.
The wrong dust-free cat litter can leave you with a number of issues, however:
- Cat litter being labeled “dust-free” doesn’t always mean the litter is actually dust-free, unfortunately.
- Some brands of dust-free cat litter will actually help with dust, but are terrible at clumping so scooping what you’re there to scoop is almost impossible.
- If your dust-free cat litter isn’t absorbent you can end up with a mess and some very unpleasant cleanup at the bottom of your litter box.
Don’t worry, though. To help you avoid these issues (and more) we asked our veterinary advisor Dr. Chyrle Bonk (a licensed and practicing veterinarian who is an expert on cats and cat products) to personally review each and every major brand of dust-free cat litter and share her findings with our readers.
Dr. Bonk selected Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Unscented Ultra Clumping Cat Litter as the best of the best. It’s hypoallergenic with all-natural ingredients, making it suitable for families with allergies, and it has superior odor control, too.
While this was Dr. Bonk’s top pick, she’s also got you covered if this option isn’t for you. In this article, she’ll share her top tips for choosing the best dust-free cat litter, which cat owners may want to avoid dust-free cat litter altogether, and share her personal recommendations for the best dust-free cat litter brands for a variety of use cases.
The 5 Best Dust-Free Cat Litters
- Best Overall – Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Unscented Ultra Clumping Cat Litter
- Best for Multiple Cats – Fresh Step Scented Multi-Cat Litter
- Best Clumping – Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Clumping Cat Litter
- Best Biodegradable – Purina Yesterday’s News
- Best Lightweight – World’s Best Cat Litter, Unscented
Dust-Free Cat Litter Compared
Here are the top picks from our veterinarian. Compare the ratings and features of different models.
|Editor’s Picks||Model||Rating||Odor Control||Scented||Material||Dust-free|
|Best Overall||Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Unscented Ultra Clumping Cat Litter||100% bentonite clay||99.9%|
|Best for Multiple Cats||Fresh Step Scented Multi-cat Cat Litter||Clumping clay||99.9%|
|Best Clumping||Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Clumping Cat Litter||Natural clay with deodorizing system||99.9%|
|Best Biodegradable||Purina Yesterday’s News||Paper pellets||99.7%|
|Best Lightweight||World’s Best Cat Litter||Whole-kernel corn with odor control||99%|
*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers
In This Article
Who Should Buy Dust-Free Cat Litter?
- Families who have allergies – The dust from some cat litter may aggravate your allergies.1 Choosing a dust-free option – ideally, a hypoallergenic one – could help a lot.
- Owners of cats with allergies – As with humans, if your cat has allergies, the dust from cat litter can worsen their symptoms. Your cat may even be allergic to the cat litter itself. Dust-free, hypoallergenic cat litter can help to reduce your kitty’s symptoms.2
- Cat owners with small homes – Dust and the tracking of litter can be particularly problematic in a small apartment or house.
- Owners of any cats that seem reluctant to use their litter box correctly – Cats can be picky … and changing to dust-free litter could instantly improve their litter box behavior.3
Who Should Not Buy Dust-Free Cat Litter?
- For individuals, couples, or families on a very tight budget – Dust-free litter can come at a premium price.
- Owners of cats who are happy with their current cat litter – If it’s working for you and your cat, why change it?
Buying Guide: Research Tips From a Veterinarian
Dust-free cat litter is a relative term: it’s hard to make something that is 100% not dusty. That being said, there is plenty of cat litter that is very close to dust free. In order to judge which litter is best, I recommend that you:
- Consider trying different materials – Not all cat litter is made from clay. You can choose from a multitude of materials including wood chips, corn, newspapers, and even silica gels. Try different options to see what works for both you and your kitty.
- Think about clumping vs non-clumping – Some pet parents like clumps, while others don’t. It all depends on how you prefer to clean your litter box and the litter box system that you’re using.
- Consider odor control – Nobody likes the ammonia odor of a stinky litter box, especially your cat. Some cat litter doesn’t conceal odors at all, while others may have added fragrance or the ability to trap odors. If your litter box is in a high-traffic area, odor control is particularly important.
- Check whether the cat litter is scented or not –This is really down to personal preference: you might like to use a fragrance to mask odors or you may not want a strong perfumy smell lingering in your home.
- Check the texture and size of the litter – Some cats are picky about this, so make sure you know your cat’s preferences and choose a dust-free cat litter that’s similar to their current favorites. If your cat doesn’t mind, opt for a larger-sized litter: smaller sizes will stick between your kitty’s toes and get tracked around more easily.
How Much Does It Cost?
Between $20 and $45 for 40lb
The price of dust-free cat litter depends on the material, but most will cost between $20 and $45 for 40 lbs. In general, traditional clay litter will be cheaper than litter made from other materials. You’ll also find that litter is sold in a wide range of sizes, so we’ve given the price range for the equivalent of a 40lb bag. You can expect to spend anywhere between about $20 and $45 for 40lb of dust-free cat litter, depending on the type you go for.
Our Methodology: Why Trust Pet News Daily?
The first feature that I looked for in dust-free cat litter is the actual degree that it is dust free! I wanted the least of the least when it comes to dust produced. Next, I went after odor control, because nobody wants a stinky litter box, and absorbability makes litter box cleaning easier. My final consideration for dust-free cat litter choices was availability. If a product was constantly out of stock or very expensive, I didn’t consider it a practical purchase. Of course, if your cat has health issues that might require specific types of cat litter, I strongly recommend speaking to your own veterinarian to get a personalized recommendation. – Dr. Chyrle Bonk
The Best Dust-Free Cat Litter Reviews
1. Best Overall – Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Unscented Ultra Clumping Cat Litter
Dr Elsey’s Precious Cat Unscented Ultra Clumping Cat Litter is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a dust-free cat litter. It’s budget-friendly, coming in right at the low end of our price range. With hard-clumping medium-grain clay, it prevents moisture and is a perfect option for sifting and mechanical litter boxes.
It’s suitable for multiple cats if you have more than one kitty in your home. Plus, it’s designed to reduce tracking so you don’t end up with litter all over your floors. There’s even a money-back guarantee if your cats don’t use the litter box 100% of the time.
- Hypoallergenic litter, suitable for cat owners with allergies
- Costs just $19.99 for a huge 40lb bag
- Forms hard clumps for easy twice-daily cleaning and disposal
- Comes with a money-back guarantee from Dr. Elsey
- Clumps are quite large, so you might get through the litter quickly
- Not fragranced (only a problem if you prefer scented litter!)
2. Best for Multiple Cats – Fresh Step Scented Multi-Cat Litter
Looking for a robust cat litter that can stand up to the needs of multiple cats? Try Fresh Step Scented Multi-Cat Litter. It’s easy to clean up: just remove clumps and solids daily. The fragrance is pleasant rather than overpowering, and many reviewers said this product was the only one their cats really liked.
If you’re keen on finding a cat litter that excels at odor control (and that smells good even when you’re cleaning out the litter tray) then this is the one for you.
- Pleasant-smelling litter that successfully masks odors
- Easy to clean out once a day as it clumps well
- Popular with picky cats that reject other types of litter
- Some reviewers felt it produced too much dust for a “dust-free” option
- Litter may track outside the litter box quite easily
3. Best Clumping – Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Clumping Cat Litter
Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Clumping Cat Litter is a great option if you want a cat litter that clumps well for easy clean-up. Their cat litter is also designed to be as dust-free as possible, easily preventing clouds of dust when you pour it out.
It has a natural, clean scent rather than a fragrance, which many reviewers said they preferred.
- Clean-smelling cat litter that will mask odors for up to 2 weeks
- Clumps well and is easy to clean out of the litter box
- Good-value cat litter that’s cheaper than many competitors
- A few reviewers felt it produced too much dust, making their cats sneeze
- The box it’s supplied in is heavy and may be tricky to carry and pour from
4. Best Biodegradable – Purina Yesterday’s News
Worried about your cat’s carbon footprint? Purina Yesterday’s News is a biodegradable cat litter made from recycled paper, mostly newspapers. It can even be flushed away down your toilet.
The paper pellets are suitable for sensitive paws and don’t contain any harmful chemicals, making them a great alternative to traditional clay cat litter.
- Biodegradable, environmentally-friendly option
- Doesn’t create much dust at all
- No smell, not even the “natural” smell of many clay litters
- Suitable for other pets such as bunnies and rodents
- Cats accustomed to clay litter may not like it
- The large pellets may not fall through your poop scoop
5. Best Lightweight – World’s Best Cat Litter, Unscented
Does World’s Best Cat Litter, Unscented, live up to its name? Plenty of reviewers think so. It’s a popular choice of dust-free litter, as it’s made from corn rather than clay. This prevents dust and helps avoid tracking, too.
It’s also easy to clean up if it does happen to get outside the litter box. It should vacuum easily out of your carpet and wash off hard surfaces with just water.
- An eco-friendly option that’s great for your pet and the planet
- Won’t track around your house on your pet’s paws
- Easy to clean up if it gets outside the litter box
- Has great odor control, despite being unscented
- May take some time for cats used to clay litter to adjust to it
- Clumps may fall apart a bit when scooping
Frequently Asked Questions
Pet News Daily uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- WhatAboutPets. Can Cat Litter Cause Allergy Symptoms in Humans? Whataboutpets.com. Updated January 9, 2016. Accessed January 14, 2022.
- Wilde LM. Does your cat have litter allergies? Animalwellnessmagazine.com. Published June 7, 2019. Accessed January 14, 2022.
- Johnson-Bennett P. How to Tell if Your Cat Dislikes the Litter Substrate. Catbehaviorassociates.com. Published January 4, 2012. Accessed January 14, 2022.
- Sung W, Crowell-Davis SL. Elimination behavior patterns of domestic cats (Felis catus) with and without elimination behavior problems. Am. J. Vet. Res. 2006;67(9):1500-1504. doi:10.2460/ajvr.67.9.1500