Coffee comes up as a popular home remedy to deter a variety of household pests such as insects and rodents like chipmunks. But how effective is this deterrent really? Will coffee grounds actually keep chipmunks out of your garden and storage buildings?
Used coffee grounds are a poor choice to deter chipmunks since the smell is diluted and rodents don't find them especially repellent. Coffee grounds can be used to deter other more sensitive garden pests such slugs and other insects, however. Chipmunks need stronger-smelling deterrents.
Coffee grounds may not be the best solution you have on hand for keeping chipmunks away, but that doesn't mean they aren't still useful in your garden. Keep reading to learn more about how you can use coffee grounds to deter chipmunks and other pests.
Will Coffee Grounds Keep Chipmunks Away?
On their own, used coffee grounds won't do much to deter chipmunks. They won't be attracted to coffee grounds as a food source, so spreading coffee grounds in your garden won't attract chipmunks. However, using coffee grounds in garden applications typically won't drive chipmunks away, either.
Do Chipmunks Like Coffee Grounds?
Chipmunks won't be attracted to coffee grounds as food since the strong smell is a deterrent to them. Coffee grounds also aren't a natural food source of chipmunks, and many wild animals can be very cautious about ingesting food that they wouldn't be able to find on their own.
The most common application of coffee grounds to the garden as repellent is after the coffee has already been brewed. This brewing process leaves coffee grounds smelling much weaker than they smelled before brewing since brewing removes the oils in coffee that cause its intense aromatic fragrance.
At the end of the day, chipmunks don't like coffee grounds enough to eat them, so they make a poor bait if you're trying to trap chipmunks in your garden. However, chipmunks don't dislike coffee grounds so much that just having them in your garden soil will keep the chipmunks away.
Do Chipmunks Avoid Coffee Grounds?
If you only sprinkle a little bit of coffee grounds in your coffee soil to reuse them, chances are the aromas of the coffee will be so diluted by wet earth and other smells that the coffee grounds won't be enough to cause chipmunks to avoid them.
However, one application of coffee grounds that chipmunks may avoid is when coffee grounds are used for mulching plants. Larger amounts of used coffee grounds have a stronger coffee smell and may help keep chipmunks at bay.
Many commercial coffee shops, such as Starbucks, will offer used coffee grounds to gardeners in bulk as mulch. (Source: Off The Grid News) In these larger amounts, used coffee grounds have a better chance at repelling chipmunks and other pests.
Used Coffee Grounds Aren't Useful on Chipmunks
While used coffee grounds might not be enough to deter most chipmunks in small doses, this doesn't mean that your coffee grounds aren't still useful to save and reuse. Coffee grounds can be used in a few surprising different ways around your garden despite the fact that they don't make the best rodent deterrent.
Here are a few reasons you should still use coffee grounds in the garden even though they aren't that effective on chipmunks (Source: Homes and Gardens):
- Improve the soil: Coffee grounds add tons of nutrients back into the soil as mulch and fertilizer. Coffee grounds also help improve drainage and aeration. All of these factors together lead to healthier, more beautiful, and more productive plants in the garden.
- Feed worms: Chipmunks might not think much of used coffee grounds, but earthworms love them. Use your used coffee grounds to set up a worm bin. Coffee grounds are a good choice for worm bins since they don't smell bad and they're an easy, constant source of organic material to feed your worms.
- Deter slugs and snails. Coffee grounds might not do much to drive off chipmunks, but they're very effective at taking out other common garden pests like slugs and snails. Coffee grounds can be a great organic slug-killer since slugs will eat the coffee grounds, but are unable to digest them.
- Add to compost: The acids in coffee make it a useful material for helping to break down other organic materials in your compost bin, so used coffee grounds are always a good choice to add when you're trying to build up your compost heap. You need a variety of organic materials in the compost for it to break down.
Coffee grounds might not be your best option for keeping chipmunks away, but don't throw them away. Coffee grounds are still useful in all sorts of other applications in the garden.
Natural Deterrents for Chipmunks
Got a chipmunk problem? Used coffee grounds probably won't keep them away on their own, but there are several other household items you can use to help keep chipmunks out of the garden. Here are some alternatives you can use as natural deterrents for chipmunks:
- Peppermint oil: Chipmunks are repelled by the smell of peppermint and other strongly-scented aromatic oils. (Source: Hunker) You can actually recycle used coffee grounds as a vehicle for peppermint oil in the garden as a rodent deterrent. Sprinkle the oil over the coffee grounds and then spread them out.
- Chili peppers and cayenne: Chipmunks hate the taste and smell of hot peppers, so blending hot peppers with a mixture of dish soap and water and spraying it around your garden will help keep chipmunks away. This solution can even be sprayed directly on your plants to help prevent pests. (Source: HGTV)
Whatever you use to keep chipmunks away, rodent poison should be avoided whenever possible. Other animals might be exposed to the poison and die if you leave it out in the garden, and animals that eat a poisoned chipmunk might also be affected by it.
Household Items Can Keep Chipmunks Away
Coffee grounds aren't the best choice of household items for keeping chipmunks away. Luckily, there are several other household deterrents you can experiment with. These organic chemicals are a much safer and environmentally-friendly option than using poison in your garden to drive out chipmunks.