How To Clean A Cat Tree: 10 Easy Steps

How To Clean A Cat Tree? Bacteria, fleas, and ringworms thrive in a dirty Cat Tree. To clean a Cat Tree, you need to disassemble it and clean all of the nooks and crevices. Vacuuming and washing the removable pieces, such as the hammock, will keep the Cat Tree clean for your cat to play, exercise, and sleep on.

A Cat Tree is more than simply a place for our cats to play and sleep. It’s a vital tool that allows your cat to satisfy their innate drive to climb and remain on high perches. While our cats are low-maintenance, they certainly can make a mess of their Cat towers! Today, I will tell you how I clean a Cat Tree which includes odor removal and cleaning it for ringworms and fleas.

How To Clean A Cat Tree From Ringworm
Cat Tree placed in the living room watercolor painting

Total Time Needed: 60 – 90 minutes

Total Cost: $20 -$50

Required Tools

How To Clean Cat Tree In 10 Simple Steps

To start, I will briefly share with you the different steps on how to clean Cat Tower. Once a month I perform these easy to clean Cat Tree steps as part of my effort to keep my cat healthy, happy, and active. 

This step also allows me to inspect for cat fleas lurking and propagating in the cat tower. 

RECOMMENDED: Best Cat Tree For Ragdolls (Reviews & Top Picks)

The best way to thoroughly clean a Cat Tree is by disassembling it so I get to inspect each part, especially the corners which are breeding areas for fleas and ringworms.

Read More

Step 2 – Trim Torn Ends

How Do You Remove Hair From A Cat Tower
Cleaning a sisal rope post of a Cat Tree with a brush

My fluffy friend’s cat tower comes with a scratching post made with jute rope which tends to shred, so I trim off the torn ends before cleaning her Cat Tree. 

Read More

Step 3 – Remove Cat Hair with a Lint Roller

Then, I use a lint roller to get rid of the fur sitting around my Lilac Ragdoll’s cat tower. 

Read More

Step 4 – Vacuum the Cat Tower

Next, I vacuum her cat tower using a powerful vacuum cleaner that features an attachment (a crevice cleaner or upholstery tool).

Read More

Step 5 – Remove Stains

How To Clean Cat Tree From Fleas
A cat owner using UV light to detect hidden stains/spots on the Cat Tree

For removable covers, I wash them to remove stains; otherwise, I spray the fabric and carpets with stain remover. 

Read More

Step 6 – Wash Removable Covers

Removable cushions or pads that cover some of the wooden surfaces can be machine or hand-washed based on the specifications of the product.

Read More

Step 7 – Clean the Non-Removable Sections

How To Clean Cat Trees
Cat owner cleaning the plush seat with a cleaning spray and cloth

Scrub non-removable sections with a soapy sponge or a warm wet cloth.

Read More

Step 8 – Apply Disinfectant

Commercially available cat friendly disinfectant or homemade deodorizing solutions can be sprayed on the entire Cat Tree. This is done to remove harmful microorganisms and strong odor.

Read More

Step 9 – Air Dry

After the Cat Tree has been cleaned, let it dry completely to avoid mold and bacterial growth.

Read More

Step 10 – Reassemble the Cat Tree

Now it’s time to reassemble the Cat Tree. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to reassemble it properly and correctly.

Read More

How To Clean Cat Towers: A Step-By-Step Guide

For a more detailed guide, stay with me as I show you how to clean a used Cat Tree in ten (10) simple steps. 

1. Disassemble the Cat Tree

Cat Trees come in different forms and sizes. If it’s your first-time to disassemble a Cat Tree, I suggest that you take a photo of it so you won’t be at a loss when you put it back together again. 

However, if you’re still developing your confidence in how you can disassemble and reassemble a cat tower, you can skip this step for now.

But in my case, I remove all the parts including the hammock, condos, ladder, and perch so I can thoroughly clean the entire Cat Tree. 

This step also allows me to inspect for cat fleas lurking and propagating in the cat tower. 

RECOMMENDED: Best Cat Tree For Maine Coon (Reviews & Top Picks)

2. Trim Torn Ends

Our cats keep their nails healthy by using a scratch post. This action, however, shreds the material of the scratch post, more so if it’s made with jute. 

The problem with shredded scratch posts is that my cat’s nails tend to get stuck into them, making it painful for her to get out of that mess.

This issue was solved when I started to trim off the shredded portions before cleaning her Cat Tree. 

3. Remove Cat Hair with a Lint Roller

Before I even vacuum her cat tower, I use a sticky lint roller to remove cat hair. This step allows me to remove cat hair from tight spaces that a vacuum cleaner cannot reach. 

But there’s one trick I want to share with you on how to remove cat hair from a Cat Tree. To prevent the hair from accumulating, I often brush my cat’s hair using the FURminator deShedding tool for cats

This is one of the best de-shedding tools I’ve tried because it targets the loose and dead undercoat without damaging my Ragdoll’s topcoat.

As a result, the FURminator DeShedding tool helps minimize shedding which means fewer loose hair on her Cat Tree. 

4. Vacuum the Cat Tower

One of the effective ways to clean Cat Trees is by using a powerful vacuum cleaner.

I take advantage of vacuum attachments such as crevice cleaner to remove embedded cat hair, dander, dead fleas, and eggs in areas that are hard to reach. 

READ ALSO: Do Ragdoll Cats Shed? 7 Ways To Shed Less!

5. Remove Stains

If there are stains on the hammock or condo, I use a pet-safe stain remover spray.

6. Wash Removable Covers

The good news is that most removable cushions and fabric covers in commercially available Cat Trees are machine washable. This will save you time and ensure that the toughest dirt can be thoroughly cleaned in the washer.

Simply throw the removable covers in the laundry machine and use mild detergent soap.

7. Clean Non-Removable Sections

After I remove the detachable parts, I start deep clean the entire structure which includes the wooden posts, carpets, and scratch post. 

I scrub the post and carpets with warm water and a mild detergent soap. Then I remove excess water by wiping it with a dry cloth to prevent damage. 

To remove dirt from the jute rope coverings, I use a brush with a stiff bristle. Next, I spray a thin layer of warm water mixed with a little vinegar and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Then, I scrub the rope with the brush and then rinse it with warm water.

8. Apply Disinfectant

Disinfectants help to keep bacteria, viruses, and other germs at bay. Depending on what is available, I would use any of the following three (3) solutions in a spray bottle to clean the entire structure:

  • Commercially available disinfectants that are safe for pet use.
  • A 1:1 ratio of white vinegar and water.
  • Dilution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 6 parts warm water.

I also like using REScue One Step Disinfectant Cleaner & Deodorizer to wipe the Cat Tree surface. It is a one-step disinfectant that can kill microorganisms in just one minute.

9. Air Dry

I allow all portions to dry completely. Molds grow easily on moist surfaces and can get into my cat’s fur when she climbs the tree. 

Mold ingestion can cause vomiting and poor appetite, as well as allergies leading to excessive scratching and fur loss.

DON’T MISS: Cat Scratching Litter Box Excessively (10 Reasons Why & What To Do!)

10. Reassemble the Cat Tree

Once everything has dried, I begin putting the Cat Tree back together according to the manufacturer’s directions. 

To prevent wobbling, ensure that the structure is solidly anchored to the wall or floor. If the Cat Tree is unstable, it can endanger not only your cat but also you.

Cleaning Used Cat Trees Infested with Fleas & Ringworm

The ten (10) steps I outlined above are all about cleaning the Cat Tree. But what if your cat is flea-infested and has ringworms? Is the cleaning method still the same or is it more rigorous? 

If your cat has or has had fleas or ringworms, this section will teach you how to clean a cat tower thoroughly to eradicate these harmful organisms. 

How To Clean A Cat Tree For Ringworm?

Ringworm is a fungal infection that can be transmitted by cats to humans. The purpose of cleaning a Cat Tree from ringworms is to remove spores from it to stop the spread of the disease. 

Here’s how to do it: 

  • If you can, disassemble the cat tower. 
  • Use a lint roller and a vacuum cleaner to get rid of cat hair, dander, and other debris.
  • Clean all removable parts of the Cat Tree by washing them with a detergent cleaner. 
  • For the non-removable parts, spray them with a detergent solution and then brush. 
  • Next, make a solution of 10 parts water to one part bleach and place the solution in a spray bottle. This solution will eliminate the spores of the ringworms. 
  • Spray this solution on all parts of the Cat Tree and then wipe it off after 5 to 10 minutes. 
  • Repeat this process twice a week until you no longer see any signs of ringworms on your cat’s skin. 

So, How To Disinfect Cat Tree Ringworm?

The best way to disinfect a Cat Tree for ringworm is by using a bleach solution and removing cat hair from the Cat Tree. 

According to Veterinary Partner, “Household bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is an inexpensive option. Although dilutions as high as 1:10 have previously been reported, a lower dilution of 1:100 is also effective and less harsh on surfaces…Pay attention to the warnings on the bleach container and do not mix bleach with other cleaners.”

Step 1: Eliminate cat hair

Start by wiping, sweeping, and/or vacuuming the area to collect loose cat fur. Follow this with a thorough washing of the surface to remove all remaining cat hair. Be sure to dry the area completely before moving on to Step 2.

Step 2: Apply the disinfectant

You’ll want to apply the disinfect and let it dry. A good 5 to 10 minutes will do.

Note that it is very important that you religiously remove cat hair from cat towers to clean and disinfect it from ringworms.

How To Clean A Cat Tree From Fleas?

Any signs of fleas should be addressed right away to stop infestation.

According to Fleas: A Source of Torment for your Cat from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine:

“Fleas are the most common of all external feline parasites, and the consequences of infestation will be terribly uncomfortable for most cats and can be the source of deadly disease for some… Flea bites cause horrible itching, and a hypersensitive cat’s incessant scratching may open wounds in the skin that are vulnerable to serious infection.”

Additionally, William Miller Jr., VMD, a professor of dermatology at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine noted that, “‘A flea doesn’t actually bite…It sticks its proboscis into the skin and sucks blood. It doesn’t take too much of this sucking to cause anemia in a kitten that is carrying innumerable fleas. You don’t see this problem very often in adult cats, but it’s frequently seen in kittens.'”

In a Cat Tree, you may see some tiny black specks around it. To eradicate fleas from a cat tower, do the following steps:

  • Vacuum all parts of the Cat Tree, including condos, baskets, and all crannies and nooks. After vacuuming, be sure to empty the vacuum bag and seal it to stop the fleas from jumping back to your home. 
  • Get a cat-safe pet cleaner to get rid of adult fleas, flea eggs, and flea dirt. Follow the required ratio and then allow the Cat Tree carpet, sisal ropes, etc. to get soaked in the solution for about 10 minutes before rinsing with clean water. 
  • After washing the cat tower, you can use flea treatment solutions like flea spray to stop these pests from coming back. Kindly consult a vet for the safest anti-flea sprays on the market. 
  • It’s also important that you use a flea comb and a flea shampoo to eradicate fleas from your kitty. 

I want to emphasize that some cat flea chemicals can cause poisoning in kittens.

Based on the information from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, “Don’t apply a product to kittens or puppies unless the label specifically allows this treatment. Use flea combs to remove fleas and flea eggs, and a tick remover to take off ticks from puppies and kittens that are too young for flea and tick products.” 

How To Deep Clean A Cat Tree With My Cat’s Poop On It?

The first step in cleaning a Cat Tree with your cat’s poop in it is to use a dry paper towel to remove as much residual gunk as possible. 

Then, using a brush and warm soapy water, scrub the area to remove any residues.  After that, disinfect it and allow it to dry completely before allowing your cat to utilize the Cat Tree.

How To Clean A Carpeted Cat Tree Using A Steam Cleaner?

How To Clean Cat Tree Carpet
Man using a steamer to clean and sanitize the cat tree

One recommendation I would make is to use a steam cleaner. The high heat vapor from this device not only loosens dirt and hair but also eliminates dust mites, bacteria, and molds. 

To achieve a thorough clean, remove loosened hairs first with a lint roller or de-shedding tool before using a steam cleaner.

Final Thoughts

Cat trees, like any other piece of furniture in your home, require frequent cleaning and care. It is where your cat may spend most of his time, thus it is critical to keep it clean and clear of parasites and bacteria.

The step-by-step method we talked about on how to clean a Cat Tree house will ensure that they may enjoy their playtime without concern about contracting any diseases.


How do you refresh a cat tree?

You can lightly clean a Cat Tree by vacuuming it and wiping the surface with a mild soapy solution or disinfectant.

How do you clean a cat tree with baking soda?

Baking soda is a great way to eliminate foul odors. You can sprinkle some of it on the Cat Tree and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes or more. Vacuum thoroughly afterward to prevent any residue from being inhaled by your cat. Baking soda can also be mixed with the warm soapy solution that you use to scrub the Cat Tree.

How do you remove hair from cat tower?

Loose hairs can be removed by initially vacuuming the cat tower. Embedded hairs can be further loosened by brushing with a de-shedding tool in all directions and then vacuumed once again to thoroughly get rid of hairs.

How to remove hair from cat tree?

Simply brushing the cushions with a de-shedding brush or tool will remove hair from a Cat Tree. Vacuuming it afterward, particularly the gaps, will help to minimize the amount of hair in the Cat Tree even further.

How to deodorize cat tree?

Deodorize cat trees by spraying them with a veterinary-approved disinfectant or water mixed with an equal amount of vinegar. Wipe off all surfaces well and allow them to dry completely.

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.