How to clean a cat tree or tower

Cleaning a cat tree or cat tower can be done in three easy steps.

These steps will help you deep clean a used cat tree (or any cat tower) to remove cat fur, smell, orders, viruses, or ringworm from the entire cat tower.

You want to remove as many odors or smells from the previous cat or cats for used cat towers as possible.

The steps below will help you clean any cat tree (not only a used, second-hand tower).

Also, step two will help clean the cat tree to remove ringworm. I used this process to clean our DIY cat shelves as well when my cats had ringworm.

If you are cleaning a used cat tower, I recommend cleaning it outside or in your garage before introducing it to your cats.

If you are cleaning a cat tower that you’ve had for a while, you can clean it where it is, but try to limit access to your cat while any cleaning products dry entirely.

The cat tree in the video is a Go Pet Club cat tree.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I will receive a commission.

Three reasons to clean a used cat tree tower

  1. Cleaning will reduce the chance of your cat urine marking to mark its territory on the cat tree.
  2. Used cat towers are at risk for transferring viruses or ringworm to your cat.
  3. To remove any possible fleas or flea eggs.

Step 1: Vacuum the entire cat tower

Use a vacuum cleaner to remove as much loose cat hair as possible. The goal is to remove all the hair, but it’s unlikely that a vacuum will be able to suck all the hair off.

Vacuuming off any excessive hair will make the next steps easier to complete.

Cordless stick vacuums make it easy to vacuum the cat tower. In addition, the smaller size is easier to navigate on the smaller surfaces of a cat tower.

I used a Dyson V10 Animal+ stick vac which is lightweight and works great. But you can use whatever vacuum cleaner you have already.

Use your vacuum cleaner’s attachments to get the hair out of any tight spaces or cracks around the perches, in any enclosures, or on the perches.

And don’t forget to vacuum the vertical parts of the cat tree, including any sisal on scratching posts sections.

I have only used Dyson cordless vacuums. The table below lists more choices.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Step 2: Use tools to remove more cat hair

The vacuum cleaner will probably not remove embedded or impacted cat hair.

You can use a lint removal tool, a lint roller, or a cat deshedding tool to remove the remaining hair.

The lint roller I used was not as effective as the lint removal tool or the Furminator deshedding tool.

However, the lint removal tool and the Furminator were more likely to shave off a bit of the fabric on the cat tower surface. The material being cut a bit happened less on the compacted, more used areas than on spots that the cat hadn’t used as much.

Deshedding and lint remove tool on a cat tower

The different tools may work better or worse on different types of cat tower surfaces (carpet vs. faux fur vs. sisal)

If you already have cat shedding tools or lint rollers, you may want to try them before investing in a link removal tool.

A little experimenting will determine the best way to remove cat hair from your cat tower. You can read about my test of four tools for removing cat hair here.

Step 3: Disinfect the cat tree

The final step is to disinfect the cat tree. You may also want to use a spray that kills fleas or any flea eggs that haven’t hatched yet.

During this step, you will also be able to do a spot cleaning of stains on the cat tower.

My top choice for disinfection the cat tower is Rescue brand. Rescue brand comes in wipes and a liquid that can be put into a spray bottle.

Also, the wipes can be used to scrub out any stains on the cat tower.

A huge benefit to using Rescue brand is the number of viruses, fungi, and bacteria it can remove. This includes ringworm fungus! It’s designed for veterinary use, but it’s available on Amazon.

The wipes can be used on all the cat tower surfaces. The instructions may say they are for nonporous surfaces, but the wipes can be used because the fabric or carpet on cat towers is usually thin.

Or Rescue liquid can be put into a spray bottle and then sprayed on the cat tower surfaces. Then you can use a cloth, towel, or paper towels to wipe up the spray after it sits on the cat tree for the recommended about of time (read and follow the instructions on the label).

Let the cat tower dry completely before letting your cat access it.

Tip: You can wear latex gloves or other gloves to protect your hands from the wipes. The active ingredient in Rescue brand is hydrogen peroxide. My hands got a little irritated when I used several wipes without gloves.

Other wipes or sprays may work just as well, but I like Rescue the best since it’s designed for pet stuff. Be sure to read and follow all instructions thoroughly.

You can test the spray or wipe on a small section if you are concerned about the cleaning product discoloring the fabric or carpet.

Removing Fleas from a cat tower

The vacuuming in Step One helped to remove fleas or flea eggs.

When my indoor cats had fleas in 2011, we treated the cats with a topical treatment that the vet recommended and vacuumed a lot. I was vacuuming for more than an hour a day.

We didn’t use any sprays at that time, as I was nervous about using flea sprays around the cats.

If you are cleaning your cat tower in the garage or outside or not allowing your cat to access the tree during the cleaning, you could use a spray to ensure all the fleas and flea eggs are eliminated.

You can read through the reviews for flea sprays on Amazon, Chewy, and read the labels at your local store to pick a flea spray product that you are comfortable using.

The Spruce has a review of home flea treatments that includes natural products that you may want to read through as a resource.

Fleas can be horrible for cats and humans, so it’s best to eliminate them as quickly as possible.

For used cat towers, spraying the cat tower down with a flea spray is an excellent way to be sure you are not bringing fleas into your home.

Orange cat sitting on cat tower that needs to be cleaned.

Cat Tree Cleaning Summary

Cleaning a cat tree or cat tower can be done in three easy steps:

  • Vacuuming
  • Removing cat hair
  • Disinfecting

Cleaning the cat tree can remove odors, smells, stains, excessive cat hair, fleas, ringworm, viruses, fungi, and bacteria.

Read Next: Cat Litter Box Problem Solving Guide

About The Author
Heidi has been living with cats since 2003 and sends exclusive count in the weekly Caturday Newsletter. You can sign up for it here. It's free!

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