Do Coffee Grounds Keep Deer Away? (Is Coffee A Good Repellent)

Deer may seem innocent, but they can create chaos in your garden and other plant life.

It can be frustrating to deal with animals, especially when they are damaging your precious garden, and you are probably looking for ways to make them stop.  

There are many home remedies and methods that you can try to deter deer from your property. One of the methods that you might have heard about includes coffee, and you might be wondering, "do coffee grounds keep deer away?" We are here to answer this question.  

Deer have a strong sense of smell, which means that the bitter smell of coffee grounds can be used to keep deer away from your property. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove that coffee grounds deter deer, but ground coffee does exude a bitter odor that deer tend to avoid.  

You can sprinkle your used coffee grounds close to your plants and trees. Furthermore, coffee grounds can also help to keep other animals and pests away. 

However, it is possible for deer to become accustomed to the scent of ground coffee, which means that the method can lose its efficacy over time.  

Many gardeners recommend using coffee grounds as deer repellent, but they have also seen results by using mint, garlic, and pepper. Deer tend to use their sharp sense of smell to detect the presence of people and predators. Unfamiliar, bitter scents usually frighten or upset them.

It is also worth noting that you want to scare the deer away, not bring harm upon them. Using coffee grounds as deer repellent is a natural and harmless method to keep away deer and other animals.  

Two Deer Close To Housing

Why Use Coffee Grounds For Deer Repellent? 

  • A Slow-Release Fertilizer
    There are a number of essential nutrients and micronutrients in ground coffee, along with nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Plants like carrots, roses, and azaleas would appreciate the boost from coffee grounds. 
  • Coffee Compost
    Sprinkle the coffee grounds on the soil and lightly rake it in. The coffee grounds add organic material to the soil, which helps water retention, aeration, and drainage. 
  • Feed Worms
    If you are interested in vermicomposting with a worm bin, then coffee grounds will help because worms love them. Add a cup of coffee grounds into a small container per week to feed the worms. 
  • Mulch
    Mulch helps to reduce the growth of weeds and keeps the soil moist. It can be difficult to buy compost or straw in large quantities at low prices, which is why coffee grounds can be very useful. Coffee grounds work best when they are mixed with other organic materials like leaf mold to create mulch. 
  • Repel Animals
    Coffee grounds can be good at repelling other animals and pests besides deer. The other animals and insects that coffee grounds can repel include snails, slugs, ants, cats, dogs, rabbits, and deer. 

How To Successfully Use Coffee Grounds To Keep Deer’s Deterred 

The key to successfully using coffee grounds to keep deer away is to store the used coffee grounds in a sealed bag or container for up to a week. You should be careful about storing coffee grounds for longer than a week because they might develop mold that is not suitable for your garden.

After a few days or a week, you should spread the coffee grounds close to your plants and trees, and it will form a scent barrier that will keep deer away.  

ground coffee

It is crucial that you use spent coffee grounds from HOT coffee because hot coffee releases more acidity compared to cold brews.

Therefore, hot coffee will have a more bitter and acidic scent when you sprinkle it outside to deter deer. The scent of coffee grounds will not last long, so it is best to replace the grounds daily or every other day to achieve maximum effectiveness. 

We do not recommend that you use instant coffee to keep deer away due to the fact that instant coffee is much more diluted as a result of being diluted.

Will Coffee Grounds Keep Deer Away From Your House Forever? 

You should try to observe the effects that ground coffee has on keeping deer away. If it works for you long-term, then that is great!

However, it is worth noting that coffee grounds might not be a complete long-term solution due to habituation.  

Habituation is when deer become accustomed to the scent of coffee grounds, and they realize that there is nothing to fear. Deer will likely become used to the smell of coffee grounds over time, so the scent will become less effective.

Therefore, it is essential that you have other methods alongside using coffee grounds to keep deer away.  

wild deer near house

Alternative Ways To Keep The Deers Away From Your Home 

  • Use Deer Resistant Plants
    There are a number of plants, flowers, shrubs, perennials, and groundcovers that deer hate to be near, such as floss flowers, signet marigold, verbena, snapdragon, boxwood, cinquefoil, butterfly bush, spirea, juniper, Russian sage, bee balm, fringed bleeding heart, monkshood, peony, black cohosh, dusty miller, lamb’s ear, Japanese pachysandra, Japanese printed fern, lady’s mantle, lily of the valley and Japanese sedge. 
  • Use Deer Repellents
    There are plenty of deer repellents that you can buy to keep deer away from your property, such as Nature’s MACE. 
  • Install Deer Deterrent Motion Sensor Lights
    The tactic of installing deer deterrent motion sensor lights is good at scaring away deer and other animals from your garden. It is important that you have a high-quality motion sensor floodlight.
  • Fencing
    You should try to fence off your plants and trees to protect them. 
  • Get A Dog
    Dogs that stay outside all night will be able to scare off deer and other animals. 

Common Questions About Keep Deer At Bay

What smells do deer hate?  

Deer hate sharp and strong smells like Marigolds (Tagetes species), Putrescent Egg Solids, Mint (Mentha species), Wolf Urine, Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), Garlic (Allium sativum)Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)Oregano (Origanum vulgare)Sage (Salvia officinalis)Rosemary (Salvia Rosmarinus) and Lavender (Lavandula).  

What are the disadvantages of using coffee grounds to repel deer?  

The main disadvantage of using coffee grounds in your garden is the fact that the scent fades quickly, especially after a heavy rainfall. Therefore, it is important that you remain consistent and replace the coffee grounds daily or every few days in order to keep deer and other animals away.  

Does vinegar keep deers away? What about cinnamon? 

Deer, as well as other animals like cats, dogs, rabbits, foxes, and raccoons, do not like the smell of vinegar, especially after it has dried. You should consider soaking a few rags in full white vinegar and place them around the garden to keep away animal visitors. Try to restock the rags every 7 to 10 days. Cinnamon is also an effective year-round control against deer damage. 

What plants do deer hate the most?  

Deer tend to avoid poisonous plants or plants with toxicity like daffodils, foxgloves, and poppies. They also do not like plants with strong scents like sages, lavender, and ornamental salvias, along with flowers like peonies and bearded Irises. Prickly plants are also not liked by deer.  


If you love your garden and you want to keep it safe from animals, then it is a good idea to use coffee grounds along with other methods in order to keep deer away from your property. It is always good to use more tactics because animals will not know what to expect when they visit your garden.  

As a last tip, we also recommend setting up a nature camera to monitor the success of your methods and watch to see the deer staying away from your property.