How Do I Wash My Cat Carrier? (Soft & Hard Carriers)

After a long day out with your cat, it’s always time to get the carrier cleaned up. This leaves you wondering:” how do I wash my cat carrier?”

There are many reasons that make cleaning your cat carrier an extremely critical yet beneficial measure. Be sure to check out some of the best cat carriers for your feline adventures.

Check out this post to get all your cat carrier questions before you buy to make sure you get the right one.

As you probably know, cats are noticeably hygienic and clean animals who like clean places. If you want to keep your cat comfortable in the carrier, you should make sure that your cat finds it clean and tidy.

In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about cleaning and washing your cat’s carrier. 

How Do I Wash My Cat Carrier?

To wash your cat carrier, you first need to prepare your essential tools, such as:

  • Gloves
  • All-purpose brush
  • Soap detergent
  • Bleach
  • Warm water

After that, start by removing all cat’s wastes from the carrier. This includes organic matter, such as feces, food remains, and hair.

*This page contains affiliate links to products I recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.

When it’s empty, remove the bedding, food and water bowls, and any detachable parts to get it ready, and then do the following:

  • Wipe the exterior clean with warm water and detergent.
  • Scrub the interior of the cat carrier with a brush and warm soapy water.
  • Disinfect the cat carrier by using diluted bleach or specialized pet disinfectant.
  • Add the bedding to the washing machine on the highest setting possible.
  • Clean the food and water bowl with soapy water.
  • Hose the entire cat carrier with clean water.
  • Leave the carrier to dry.

Read on if you want a more in-depth instruction on how to perform a thorough cleanup to your cat carrier.

How Often Should You Clean Your Cat’s Carrier?

how often to clean a cat carrier
You should wipe down your carrier after every use and do a deep cleaning after every few uses.

In the most perfect circumstances, you should wash the cat’s carrier after every trip outdoors with your cat. This way, you’ll be able to reduce your scrubbing and cleaning tasks significantly.

Some people clean the carrier weekly, which is also a good routine although it can leave your cat in discomfort if the carrier gets excessively dirty or messy.

However, if your busy schedule doesn’t support consistent washes, you can wash it every 2 or 3 outdoor trips, especially if your cat doesn’t have an accident outside.

What Do You Need to Clean a Cat Carrier?

how do you clean a cat carrier
You’ll need specific tools and disinfectants to properly clean a cat carrier.

Before you head on to wash your cat carrier, there are some essential tools that you’re going to use. These tools will come in handy and will make your job a lot smoother and quicker.

Hand Protection

While cleaning the carrier, you’ll come across various nasty stuff that you better not hold with your bare hands, especially, if you have open cuts that can cause infections.

Keeping a pack of disposable protective gloves for the job is always the safest and easiest way to get it done.

Cleaning Brush

Some food, blood, urine, and feces might be a bit hard to clean, especially if they’re hard dried.

In that case, using a brush will help you scrub these stubborn stains with little effort and almost no time. 

Brushes like No products found. are great because they’re easy to grip and cleans thoroughly.

Cleaning and Drying Towels

You’ll only need any two clean towels for the job. However, microfiber cloth towels are ideal for quick drying and cleaning.

Cleaning Solution

For cleaning greases, food remains, and other organic matter, you’ll need a cleaning solution. This solution can be anything from warm soapy water, all the way to special cat products detergents.

Ideally, we recommend using Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent because its ingredient is safe for cats. Additionally, it’s unscented, so it’s ideal for cats with highly sensitive noses.


After scrubbing your cat carrier clean, you’ll also need to disinfect it to remove unwanted odors and keep it germ-free.

You can simply achieve this by using diluted bleach specialized pet disinfectants, such as KennelSol Dog Crate Cleaner and Disinfectant.

Although this product is marketed for dog crates, it does a wonderful job at cleaning cat carriers as well.

This one is deodorized for sensitive noses and kills a huge spectrum of bacteria and fungi without being corrosive or staining.

Washing Method

You’ll need to do a final rinse when you’re all done. Ideally, this calls for either a bathtub with fresh clean water or a garden hose.

Can I Toss the Carrier in a Washing Machine?

Some parts of the carrier are machine washable, while others aren’t. 

That’s why you need to check your cat carrier and see if it’s fully machine washable before attempting this.

How to Clean a Cat Carrier?

There are two types of cat carriers. Whether you have a soft-sided or a hard-shell cat carrier, you’ll find a simple cleaning guide down below.

Soft Sided Carriers

cleaning a soft sided carrier
Soft sided carriers can be cleaned, even if it’s not machine washable.

If your cat carrier is soft-sided, here’s how to clean it:

  • Wash your hands and wear your gloves.
  • Take both the food and water bowls out.
  • Remove the floor padding from the carrier.
  • Remove all hair, food remains, and feces inside by handpicking or vacuuming.
  • Apply warm soapy water or detergent on your brush, and start scrubbing the interior of the carrier.
  • Prepare your disinfecting solution, and add it to an empty spray bottle you have.
  • Spray the entire cat carrier with your disinfecting solution inside and outside.
  • Leave the disinfectant for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • In the meantime, wash the food bowls thoroughly with warm soapy water, and put the floor padding in a washing machine but check the manual first.
  • Wash your entire cat carrier with clean water either by rinsing or soaking.
  • Dispose of the gloves safely.
  • Let the carrier sun or air dry.

Hard Shell Cat Carrier

how to clean a hard cat carrier
Cleaning a hard cat carrier will require you to use bleach and wipe it down.

Hard-shell cat carriers are much of a difference from soft-sided ones. In fact, their rigidity makes them a bit easier to clean but slightly problematic when it comes to drying. Here’s how you can wash them clean.

  • Similar to soft-sided ones, wash your hand and wear your gloves.
  • Remove all the interior bowls and bedding.
  • Remove all organic remains from the carrier.
  • Soak the plastic body in warm soapy water for 5 to 10 minutes to break the hard stains loose. This eliminates the need for tedious scrubbing, but it remains optional.
  • Disinfect the carrier without disinfectant of choice, and leave it for another 15 minutes.
  • Rinse or sink the carrier in clean water.
  • Let the carrier dry in the sun. You may also use a hairdryer to speed this step up a bit, as it takes longer in hard-shell carriers.

To clean the carrier out completely, you may want to remove the front door. Many carriers make it easy to take it off for the purpose of cleaning.

Tips for Cleaning Cat Carrier

Here are some valuable tips for cleaning the cat carrier safely and efficiently. 

Preparing Bleach for Disinfection

If you’re going to use bleach for disinfection, you must dilute it with water. Make sure that you wear protective gloves and eyewear while pouring the bleach to avoid unwanted accidents.

Ideally, you need a 6 to 10% solution of bleach to disinfect your cat carrier, anything below that won’t work properly. Add 1 ounce of bleach per a gallon of water to prepare the solution. (source)

Always follow the instructions on the label to ensure that you are using the product safely!

Avoid Phenolic Detergents and Disinfectants

Some people use laundry sanitizers like Lysol to clean and disinfect the cat carrier. However, phenolic detergents are toxic to cats. Make sure that the disinfectant you used doesn’t have the word “Phenol” or “Carbolic Acid” in its ingredients.

Bottom Line

With that said, you now know how to wash your cat carrier efficiently. As you already know, keeping the cat carrier clean is essential for your cat’s health. This will also make your outdoor trips much easier for both you and your cat. 

On the other hand, if your cat isn’t comfortable with the cat carrier cleanliness, it might refuse to get inside easily, which can cause a lot of hassle and scratches on outdoor trips.

The cleaning process is also great for keeping your own health, as you’ll eventually come across all these nasty stuff while taking the cat out or putting it in.