Do Coffee Grounds Keep Squirrels Away?

Coffee cup with coffee beans
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If you think squirrels are not a problem for people living in urban areas because they belong in the woods and forest, you are in for a surprise.

Do your garden beds have shallow holes dug in them? Are you finding half-eaten fruits and vegetables around your home? Yes? It’s probably squirrel damage.

These tiny creatures can wreak havoc in your beautiful garden and refuse to leave, especially in wintertime.

So how can you deter squirrels? 

The easiest solution to repel squirrels can be a household item everyone has in their pantry. Indeed most people use coffee grounds for their caffeine fix, but I am telling you to use them to deter squirrels away.

So, do coffee grounds keep squirrels away? Yes! As much as we love coffee, squirrels detest coffee.

Coffee grounds will keep squirrels from your garden, as they dislike the bitter taste and off-putting scent of coffee, which makes them avoid the area. Try using coffee grounds as a yard deterrent to squirrels to keep them from digging up your garden or raiding your bird feeders.

This guide will provide the most effective tips and straightforward methods for using coffee grounds to annoy squirrels away!

What Are Squirrels? Why Do They Come?

Before jumping into the details of warding away squirrels, it is better to know what type of animal they are.

Let us understand why they find comfort roaming our homes and gardens, permanently migrating and creating disturbances.

Squirrels are natural foragers who eat various things in backyards, such as fruits, seeds, flowers, and vegetables. Having a garden or bird feeder is an explicit invitation for squirrels to come, especially during wintertime.

We are right to think squirrels belong in tropical forests or deserts. But because of deforestation, squirrels lose their natural habitat and seek shelter and food in urban areas. They like migrating to urban areas with ample fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Also, if you have a bird feeder, it will naturally bring squirrels to your backyard. They like invading bird feeders, looking for seeds or food.

Many squirrels are synanthropic and love living near humans and enjoying their gardens. Especially the female squirrels become pests in the home and build nests to raise the baby squirrels. They look for dark and quiet hiding places, like basements, attics, or tree cavities.

coffee beans and grounds

What are Coffee Grounds?

Coffee grounds are the leftover residue after brewing coffee in an electric coffee maker or traditional brewing method like a French press. The type of coffee grounds depends on the brewing method; they can be fine to medium coarse.

We usually throw coffee grounds away without thinking about their possible uses. From being useful for several purposes around the home and garden, coffee grounds can also spruce up your beauty routine.

You can use coffee grounds for fertilizing your garden or composting purposes. Coffee can be an excellent ingredient for a gentle DIY exfoliant to have radiant skin.

Additionally, you can repel the annoying insects from your home or garden using coffee grounds.

And if you like experimenting in the kitchen, you can incorporate coffee grounds into your recipes too!

However, it is essential to keep the coffee grounds in a cool and dry place and store them in airtight containers. If the coffee grounds go stale, there is no point in utilizing them for different purposes.

Do Coffee Grounds Keep Squirrels Away?

Returning to our main topic; keeping squirrels away using coffee grounds.

Coffee grounds are natural pesticides and an inexpensive method to keep your home free of squirrels, insects, and pesky critters. Coffee grounds are also eco-friendly, as they make the soil fertile.

As much as squirrels love to wander in the gardens searching for food and a nest, they won’t take a minute to run away once they smell coffee.

Regardless of what type of coffee grounds you use, regular or even decaf coffee, squirrels are not a fan of the smell of coffee, and neither they like the taste.

However, using the right quantity of coffee grounds and the correct method is essential to make this hack work effectively.

You should keep an eye if there are enough coffee grounds covering to get rid of the aggravated squirrels. Knowing that your garden has coffee grounds, the squirrels avoid returning to the area.

coffee filter with coffee grounds

What Kind of Coffee Grounds To Use?

The best coffee grounds to repel squirrels are freshly-brewed coffee grounds. Freshly brewed ground coffee beans have a strong smell, making them more easily smelled by squirrels.

Even if you don’t have freshly-brewed coffee, you can use pre-ground coffee, which is also effective. As the fragrance is the main hero here, If you like to store your coffee, ensure it retains its freshness and smell.

Whichever coffee you use, once you spread coffee grounds, ensure it covers the area because you can never know where the squirrels would smell it.

How to Use Coffee Grinds in Your Garden to Deter Squirrels?

Using the correct method to make coffee grounds deter squirrels is essential, or your efforts can go down the drain. Here is how to use coffee to make squirrels go away:

  • Spread an equal and thin layer of coffee on the garden soil.
  • Spread coffee near bird feeders to keep squirrels away.
  • Put coffee grounds around the plant’s roots and in potted plants.
  • Add coffee to the garden at least once a week, or the squirrels will keep returning.
  • You can add coffee to the compost used for your garden but be mindful of the quantity. The preferred ratio is 50 % coffee grounds, 20 % leaves, and 30 % straw.
coffee grounds on filter paper

How long do the effects of coffee grounds last in keeping squirrels away?

There is an issue with quick fixes at home; they need proper follow-up or would be ineffective. The same goes for our hack to keep the squirrels away.

Don’t think you are good to go once you have prepared the garden or any part of your house with enough coffee grounds.

The truth is, you need to keep an eye on the coffee grounds your spread because, with time, they will become stale and deprived of the smell that the squirrels hate. There is no point in stale coffee grounds spread all over when they don’t have fragrance.

Also, rain, wind, sunlight, snow, or people frequently walking over the area can make the coffee grounds ineffective.

So, to be the clear winner in this fight against squirrels, replace the coffee ground every other day.

How much should coffee grounds be applied to ward off squirrels effectively?

You should use a layer of coffee grounds between 1/2 and 1 inch thick to keep squirrels away.

Adding a thicker layer will retain more water, leading to the formation of mold and fungi. Fungi attract birds and squirrels, while mold damages your plants.

Additionally, it is essential to know the pH level of your coffee beans. More alkalinity from the Robusta beans or acidity from the arabica beans can damage the plants if you spread thick layers of coffee.

You must replenish the coffee grounds frequently to ensure they remain effective.


Is Using Fresh or Used Coffee Grounds More Effective for Repelling Squirrels?

Using used or fresh coffee grounds will effectively repel squirrels if they contain a pungent smell. Squirrels have evolved a sense of smell; any amount spreading coffee grounds having a solid fragrance will scare them away.

fresh coffee grounds

Are Coffee Grounds Bad For Plants?

If you keep replacing the coffee grounds and avoid mold, it will not harm the plants.

Instead, coffee is highly beneficial for your plants as a natural fertilizer if you use it properly.

Coffee grounds contain minerals like calcium, nitrogen, and phosphorus, which are suitable for plant health. Also, the phosphorus from coffee improves growth by contributing to photosynthesis. 

Coffee as a fertilizer improves the health of your soil, making it more fertile, and as a result, the plants grow better. However, coffee can slow down the growth of some plants like asparagus fern, Italian ryegrass, and geranium.

How to Identify if Squirrels Are Causing Damage to Your Garden or Home?

If you think squirrels are harmless or can’t determine how they can damage your property, I have a list of signs for you. 

If you can identify the squirrel damages, you will be able to prevent them.

  • Look for half or fully-eaten nuts, fruits, flowers, or vegetables.
  • Chew marks on wiring or water tubing around the house.
  • Search for nests in attics, trees, rooftops, or any wooden areas in the home.
  • There are holes dug in the backyard or in flower beds.
  • Damage to the air vents or insulation system.
  • Squirrels might destroy the trees’ trunks or branches.

Which Other Animals Does This Work For?

Squirrels can be one of many problems with uninvited animals around the house, but many other annoying animals can invade your home. So, you can use coffee grounds to deter other animals, like locusts, chipmunks, snails, and ants.

If you live in the suburbs, you can use coffee grounds to ward off raccoons, deer, and bears. All these animals detest the smell of coffee, and they will leave your home alone.

What are the Drawbacks of Using Coffee Grounds to Keep Squirrels Out of the House?

There are a few things you must be considerate of while using coffee grounds in your garden. There are no severe drawbacks, but here are a few things that might be troublesome for you:

  • Using coffee grounds alone to keep squirrels away might only sometimes work. You may have to find some other solutions for it.
  • If you have pets at home, ensure they do not swallow the coffee grounds. If they eat coffee grounds in large quantities, they may fall sick due to indigestion.
  • Coffee grounds keep squirrels away, but it is a tasking method. With winds blowing or raining, you must regularly add coffee grounds to the affected area to work as a squirrel deterrent.
  • The pH of coffee grounds can affect the growth of some vegetables, flowers, and other plants like tomatoes, orchids, rosemary, and blueberries.
filter paper with coffee grounds

When are Coffee Grounds not the Most Effective Option?

The following situations may make coffee grounds an ineffective deterrent for squirrels:

  • You may not have extra coffee grounds, whether it’s because you don’t drink coffee or because it’s hard to find enough coffee grounds from the local coffee shop.
  • If you have pets around the house, you must be extra careful when using coffee grounds. The caffeine in coffee is toxic for pets and might be life-threatening if they fall sick.
  • If you have a vegetable garden or lots of fruits and flowers around the house, not all of them might tolerate coffee grounds’ pH well and die.

Final Thoughts!

You may find squirrels adorable creatures, but they can also cause chaos in your home. Coffee drinkers with serious squirrel infestation problems have everything they need to deter them from their gardens or bird feeders.

By using coffee grounds in your garden or yard, you will not only prevent unwanted visitors but also benefit the environment.

If you want coffee grounds to be most effective, reapply them every few days. The smell of coffee can also repel squirrels and other pests like mosquitoes, snails, and ants.

However, remember that coffee grounds are not a permanent solution to keep animals away from your garden; they can only ward them off for some time.

Nevertheless, the tips mentioned in this guide will help you cater to your Squirrel problems.


Do Coffee Grounds Deter Rabbits?

Yes! Coffee grounds work to repel rabbits and other animals from the garden, as they hate the smell like squirrels do.

Are coffee grounds harmful to plants?

Coffee grounds do not harm plants unless they form mold or fungi. Coffee grounds act as a natural source of plant nutrients, keeping them healthy and fresh.

Are there any other uses for coffee grounds?

Coffee grounds have unlimited uses. From using coffee in your recipes to making a scrub with it, from using leftover coffee grounds to fertilize your plants to cleaning the dirty surface, there are endless possibilities for utilizing coffee grounds.

Can I use instant coffee instead of ground coffee?

No! Instant coffee is soluble in water, unlike regular coffee grounds. While instant coffee can be a good fertilizer for the plant, it might not help you deter any animals as it will absorb in the soil more quickly than coffee grounds.

What Is The Best Time To Put Coffee Grounds To Keep Squirrels Away?

There is no particular time to put coffee grounds to deter squirrels. However, consider the weather. If it’s raining, snowing, or heavy winds are blowing, wait for them to pass because they can scatter the coffee grounds here and there.

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