Do Coffee Grounds Keep Squirrels Away? (Helpful Information)

Last Updated on February 19, 2022 by John Moretti

The world seems to always have in abundance is coffee grounds and squirrels. Coffee is brilliant stuff. However, while squirrels are adorable, they become less so when destroying your yard and garden.

But there are plenty of people on the internet claiming that spreading coffee grounds around your property will keep squirrels away. Is it true? 

There is no scientific proof that coffee grounds keep squirrels away. However, coffee grounds probably disrupt squirrels’ sense of smell. There are studies into the natural insecticide properties of coffee. Thus, coffee grounds do repel ants, slugs, and snails. They are also good for some plants. 

There are many positives to using coffee grounds in your garden. While there is no concrete proof they deter squirrels, many people swear by it. Also, there is no one surefire way to keep squirrels out.

To discourage squirrels, you must employ various methods, and it is worth adding coffee grounds to your strategy. Besides, your hydrangeas will love it. 

Do Coffee Grounds Keep Squirrels Away?

Are Coffee Grounds A Pest Deterrent? 

Coffee grounds are a pest deterrent. Since 1984, studies have been published examining the natural bioactive micronutrients and chemicals in coffee and their ability to repel various pests, including fruit flies and mosquitos. The results thus far show that coffee grounds can put pests off. 

This doesn’t mean it is a cure or even as strong as DEET. But they are toxic to some insects and deter others, including beetles, slugs, snails, and ants. Which doesn’t mean it will harm or deter squirrels, per se. But that doesn’t mean coffee grounds are of no use in your rodent battle. 

Coffee Grounds Have A Strong Scent

Coffee Ground

Squirrels have a superb sense of smell. This is how they find those bulbs you planted months ago and the nuts they buried in your grass last season.

Spreading coffee around makes it harder for squirrels to find tasty things like your bulbs. If squirrels don’t detect your garden as a food source, they’re not interested in hanging around. 

Squirrels Have Sensitive Paws

Squirrels have very sensitive paws. This is why they and their chipmunk cousins don’t like digging in gravel. Between their sensitive paws and their keen sense of smell, they will probably not want coffee grounds on the equivalent of their hands. 

Again, one of the biggest ways they find food is through their sense of smell. So, if they get coffee grounds on their hands and transfer them to their faces, it will make finding the food they want all that much harder. Thus, this is another reason why coffee grounds almost certainly help deter squirrels from digging around your property. 

Can I Spray Coffee Grounds On My Property? 

Coffee Grounds

Watering down old coffee grounds and spraying your property is a great way to annoy squirrels. Again, it isn’t so much that squirrels necessarily hate the smell of coffee. Coffee gives squirrels trouble because it makes it harder for them to smell the food they do want to eat, such as your bulbs. 

Also, spraying a coffee mixture around your property will help put off other pests, such as mosquitos, flies, and beetles. 

However, remember that any time it rains or you use a sprinkler, the scent of coffee will be depleted. So you will have to spray your coffee ground mixture with some regularity. 

Will Coffee Grounds Hurt My Plants? 

Coffee Grounds and Plants

Some plants love coffee grounds; others do not. When spreading them out, keep the layer thin, regardless. Coffee grounds hold moisture in. This is why you should not put them on potted plants. Too much water retention may cause root rot or mold. 

1. Plants That Like Coffee Grounds

Some plants will enjoy having coffee grounds spread around them. Keep the layer thin; a quarter of an inch or less is best. 

  • Azaleas
  • Blueberries 
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Hydrangeas 
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Radishes
  • Rhododendrons
  • Sugar beet
  • Soybeans

2. Plants That Don’t Like Coffee Grounds

Coffee Grounds

Some plants don’t like coffee grounds. It won’t necessarily kill them but can slow down or temporarily arrest growth. 

  • Asparagus
  • Chinese Mustard
  • Fern
  • Geraniums
  • Italian Ryegrass
  • Potted Plants
  • Seedlings
  • Tomatoes

Can I Add Coffee Grounds To Compost? 


Adding coffee grounds to your compost is great. Just remember that they are a wet, or “green,” addition, so you need to balance that with dry. Also, when mixed into compost, plants that generally don’t like it will not be bothered. 

What Are Other Squirrel Deterrents? 

No Squirrels

There is no one perfect way to get rid of squirrels. The key is making your property less attractive to the little rodents. The biggest factor is not being a primary food source.

So if your yard is less of a squirrel buffet, the less likely they’ll want to hang around. Thus, in addition to spreading coffee grounds around your property, we have five more suggestions.

1. Secure The Bird Feeder

Bird feeders are squirrel diners. Get a squirrel-proof one, or buy a guard. Also, make sure you do not hang your feeder near branches for squirrels that act as launch pads to the bird food.

2. Spread Out The Mulch

Just as squirrels don’t enjoy digging in gravel, mulch helps protect bulbs and plants. Adding grit and some coffee grounds could help, too. 

3. Release The Hounds

Most dogs enjoy chasing squirrels. Most squirrels do not enjoy dogs. If you do not own a dog and have always wanted one, maybe it is time to visit your nearest animals shelter and adopt a new best friend. 

4. Keep Your Compost In Bins


Your compost heaps can attract all sorts of vermin, including squirrels. So keep your compost in sealed bins that squirrels can’t access. Or at least cage it in wire netting. You’ll need the holes to be smaller than that found in typical chicken wire. 

Clean Up Rotten Fruit

If you have fruit and nut trees dropping overripe bounty to the ground, pick it up. Leaving it, there is a feast that will attract squirrels and other unwanted visitors. 


While coffee grounds are not proven to keep squirrels away, they can be used as part of your anti-squirrel strategy. The smell of coffee grounds is strong and will make it harder for squirrels to find food sources. The less attractive your property is to squirrels, the fewer squirrels you’ll have. Besides, coffee grounds are a good repellant for other pests such as slugs.