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How to Clean My Cat’s Eyes | Our Guide

Cat’s eyes are majestic and beautiful, but sometimes they can get dirt and goop buildup in the corners.  Usually your fussy feline will take care of cleaning his little eyes all on his own, but other times he may need some help from his humans.

Cat’s eyes should be free of this “goop” in order to avoid any potential eyes infections due to clogged tear ducts.   If you notice your cat’s eyes are watery, unclean, irritated, or encrusted with “eye boogers”, then try out these simple yet effective cleaning methods.

There are several ways you can remove dirt and junk from your cat’s eyes.  Read through the methods below and select which option is best for your cat (and you).

Method #1: A Warm Washcloth

This method words for your everyday cat eye cleaning.  It’s especially more appropriate for those kitties who just naturally get eye boogies or have mild gunk buildup.

What you will need:

  • Small, soft washcloth
  • Sterilized / boiled water (room temperature)

What to do:

Sit your cat on your lap comfortably or ask a friend for an extra pair of hands to help out.

Dip the washcloth corner into the clean water.

Gently wipe away any dirty and grime from your cat’s eyes (starting from inside corner of the eye and wiping outward).

Repeat daily as needed.

How to clean my cat's eyes

Method #2: Sterilized Water & Cotton Balls

For eyes that are more crusty and oozy, try this cleaning method.

What you will need:

  • Cotton balls (at least 3 per eye)
  • Boiled water, cooled to room temperature
  • 1 or 2 clean, small cups or bowls

What to do:

Divide the clean water into the 2 cups or bowls (or 1 bowl, does not need to be a large amount).

Use one of the cups/bowls for dipping the cotton ball and removing the crusty goop from your cat’s eye, and the other for making final cleaning up touches (with a different cotton ball for a different eye).

It’s important to not reuse cotton balls. One eye may have an infection while the other does not, so using cotton balls for different eyes with two separate cups of water to dip them in will help in avoiding any potential mixing/crossing of infections.

When finishing up, use a dry cotton ball to remove any additional water droplets that could leak into the eye.

Always be sure to wash and clean your hands before and after.

If your cat or kitten’s symptoms do not heal after cleaning and actually appear to be worsening, s/he may have cat conjunctivitis.

How to clean my cat's eyes

Method #3: Using Tea

Sometimes the watery goop or crusty boogers surrounding your cat’s eye can be taken care of at home by using plain tea. Tea, you ask? Yes! Tea has natural anti-viral/bacterial properties and is often advised by veterinarians for cat eye infections because of the tea’s tannic elements.

What you will need:

  • A warm, moist tea bag (“pure”/plain tea; can be green or black)
  • Cotton balls

What to do:

Very gently apply the warm, moist tea bag on the cat’s eye needing attention.

If matted, allow the warm tea bag to soften up the crust, do not pull off the matted crust or try to remove it prematurely

Once the crust/goop/junk is soft, gently swipe it away with clean cotton balls until the eye is free of debris or discharge

It may also be possible to use a very weak/diluted solution of tea to create tea tear drops to be used throughout the day as needed or recommended.

How to clean my cat's eyes

In case of infection:

It’s very important to not let your cat’s eyes become severely infected as much as you can help it, as infections could lead to potential eye sight loss if not properly taken care of.

Though the above methods are approved effective for daily use and for mild-moderate eye goop cases, they should not replace the advice of your veterinarian.

If your cat’s eyes are red, itchy, sore, with plenty of discharge, it’s best to go ahead and seek proper care from your veterinarian, who can supply you with the required topical ointment needed to cure your cat’s eye infection.

Instructional video on how to clean my cat’s eyes:

Watch a veterinary surgeon (with an awesome Scottish accent) give you a step by step guide on how to clean your cat’s eyes.

Final Thoughts: How to Clean My Cat’s Eyes

We at Fluffy Kitty hope you were able to use some of these methods to properly clean your cat’s eyes!  Remember that when in doubt, it’s always best to first consult with your vet.

The health and safety of your cat comes first! Thank you for reading and following along with Fluffy Kitty! Have questions or comments? Let us know – we would love to hear from you!

Cindy Fox

Thursday 24th of December 2020

My cat had goopy, crusty eyes all the time and the vet recommended special eye wipes. However, the problem persisted so I took her to a vet ophthalmologist. It turns out she had a very dry eye and needed drops on a regular basis.

The Fluffy Kitty

Wednesday 24th of March 2021

Wow, that's helpful to know. Thanks, Cindy!


Thursday 22nd of October 2020

I'm so glad that this has been posted! I have been a cat owner for several years now and haven't known how to safely take care of 'eye goop' as it is often referred to as! I'm not too sure if you have a section on this or not, but if you do, how can someone get a cat who is used to being able to go outside and roam freely used to being inside more often and only really allowed outside when on a leash?

The Fluffy Kitty

Sunday 15th of November 2020

Hey Zane! Thanks so much for your comment! I will definitely consider writing about that topic because that's interesting and would be great to know! Our Yoda is getting used to roaming outside (in a private garden) and it's making him more and more "itchy" to get outside. Otherwise, we always take him on a leash! I think you could help your cat by giving him or her 10-15 minute intervals of being outside. Could start 3x a day, then scale it down to 2, then 1, or as much/little as is appropriate/suitable for your lifestyle.