Will Coffee Grounds Keep Chipmunks Away? (Ways To Repel)

Chipmunks are cute little critters that run around with nuts squeezed in their tiny cheeks, but for some homeowners they're a real nuisance. 

These rodents (yes, they are rodents!) can impact your plants and even cause structural damage around your home, so you need to find a way to deal with the chipmunk problem fast. 

You can trap chipmunks and deal with them, but the easiest thing to do is use natural deterrents. Used coffee grounds repel rodents, and in this guide we'll show you have to use them safely and effectively.  

While we love the taste and smell of coffee, most animals can't stand its smell, including chipmunks. This is why coffee grounds can make an excellent barrier to keep chipmunks away. 

All you have to do is sprinkle them on the ground, and they can help deter these rodents. Since most rodents are close to the ground, sprinkling coffee on it will help keep them away.  

You can also sprinkle the coffee grounds around your garden and in between the plants which attract chipmunks. Apart from keeping chipmunks and other rodents at bay, they are also excellent compost. 

If you don’t have coffee grounds, your local Starbucks or other cafes will likely give you free bags of coffee grounds.[1 

Sprinkling coffee grounds in your garden is a win-win approach. Not only can you keep chipmunks and other rodents aways, but you can fertilize your solid and keep your plants healthy.  

Chipmunk Eating A Bag

Why Use Coffee Grounds As A Deterrence? 

While there are other things you can use, such as putting up a fence, to keep chipmunks away from your home, coffee can be one of the best options you can use. Here are some of the reasons why:  

  • Inexpensive
    Even if you don’t consume coffee at home, your neighborhood coffee shops, or even Starbucks, can give coffee grounds away for free. 
  • Great compost and offer benefits for some plants
    Coffee grounds can be an excellent compost for your garden. So by spreading them near these plants, you are helping them to grow. However, be sure to check the plant’s soil preferences before spreading them near it because some plants will do worse with coffee grounds. 
  • Fragrance
    Compared to other deterrents, coffee has a nicer smell and produces a great aroma. 
  • Keep other animals away
    Apart from chipmunks, coffee grounds can also deter other animals such as squirrels, deers, and even slugs. 
coffee grounds from bean

How To Successfully Use Coffee Grounds To Deter Chipmunks 

There are a few ways to use coffee grounds to keep chipmunks away from your home. Here are some of them:  

1. Add To Compost 

One way to use coffee grounds to deter chipmunks and other rodents is to use them as compost. If you don't compost, maybe it's time to consider starting.[2]

You can begin by mixing green materials, such as grass clippings and food scraps, with brown material, such as dried leaves, wood chips, and straws. The coffee grounds will be considered green materials.  

Apart from that, you can also throw in your coffee filters, if you use them, in the compost as brown materials.

Remember, when making compost, make sure that there are more green materials, around 75%, and lesser brown materials, or else it will throw off the balance of the whole compost.  

2. Use As Mulch 

Coffee grounds can also be used as mulch to repel chipmunks from your garden and home. All you have to do is pile ½ to 1 inch of coffee grounds around your plants, but be sure not to use more than that.

Otherwise, you’ll be left with a moldy, disgusting pile. On the other hand, if you use the right amount, the grounds will be quickly broken down by the rain, worms, and soil microbes.

Furthermore, adding a layer of coffee ground on the top of your sonic will also deter slugs from your garden.  

3. Soil Amendment 

Apart from using it as compost and mulch as a chipmunk repellent, you can amend it directly into your soil. 

You can do so by adding it to the solid when you initially put the plants in your garden or mixing it with the soli rather than putting it on the top layer like a mulch. 

Then, your plants will be very pleased with the nutrients they’ll get from the coffee, and chipmunks will not go into your home.  

Chipmunks and wild animals will tend to gather around bird feeders, so spreading the soil around this area will help you in eliminating chipmunks from your garden.

chipmunk eating nuts outside

Disadvantages Of Using Coffee Grounds For Prevention

While coffee grounds offer many other benefits apart from keeping chipmunks away, they may have some downsides. Here are some of them:  

  • Temporary fix
    You need to replenish the coffee grounds for them to be effective frequently. It can also be easily washed away when it rains. 
  • Effectiveness
    Compared to other deterrents, coffee grounds may not be as effective for keeping chipmunks and other rodents away. 
  • Dangerous to pets
    If you have pets at homes like dogs and cats, you may want to keep them away from coffee grounds. In large amounts, coffee grounds can be toxic and fatal to your pets. 

Other Popular Ways To Keep The Chipmunks Away 

If coffee grounds are not a viable option to use to keep chipmunks away, don’t worry. Other ways can keep them at bay, and you can choose below which one suits your situation best:  


The most obvious way to deter chipmunks is to put up a physical barrier around your home. 

However, the fence should have a finer mesh than the standard chicken wire and should be buried in the ground of the perimeter to keep chipmunks away and discourage them from their burrowing habits.  

Eliminate Food Waste Source 

If you keep your food waste outside your home or somewhere easily accessible to chipmunks, you will keep attracting them. To deter these rodents, make sure that there are no food waste sources in or outside your home. 

Plastic Predators 

This may seem like an odd way, but putting replicas of owls and coyotes in your garden or around your house can do the trick and scare chipmunks away.  

Garlic And Hot Sauce 

Rodents don’t like strong-smelling spices, including hot sauce and garlic. Simply mash ten garlic cloves, some hot peppers, a cup of hot sauce, and a pint of vinegar. 

Allow it to sit under the sun for a couple of days and apply it to the base of your plants with a hand spray. This will help in deterring chipmunks, and if they still try to eat your vegetables, they quickly turn away and seek food that does not taste as harsh. 

Plant Various Herbs 

Various herbs act as natural deterrents for chipmunks, including sage, oregano, basil, and rosemary. For example, sage has a strong smell, and aromatic herbs, such as oregano, basil, and rosemary, can repel them. 

Apart from that, you can use these herbs for cooking your favorite dishes. Furthermore, lavender can also help keep rodents away. While humans love lavender fragrance, chipmunks and other rodents hate its smell. 

Use Blood Meal Fertilizer

Fertilizers, like blood meal, acts as a chipmunk repellent on your plants because the rodents don't like the smell or taste of it. 

Baby Powder

Surprisingly, chipmunks hate the chemicals in this powder. Spread it on tree bark, plants, or fruit that usually attracts chipmunks and it should stop them coming back.

Irish Spring Soap

Experienced gardeners often grade or cut up some Irish Spring soap around their plants. This repels chipmunks, mice, and other creatures who might feed on the plants.

You can also hang the soap in a pouch on a stick and the smell should act as a natural deterrent. 

Are Used Coffee Grounds Good For Your Garden?

Yes! They coffee grounds repel chipmunks, but used coffee grounds are also good for the precious plants in your garden too. It helps in a few ways:

  • Packed With Minerals - Used coffee grounds are packed with minerals like nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and chromium. All of these are key for growing healthy plant life. 
  • Improves Soil Quality - Used coffee grounds also improve the overall soil quality by absorbing some fo the heavy metals. They also attract worms, which are great for your garden. 
  • Adds Acidity - The natural acids in used coffee grounds are great for plants. Just make sure you don't spread it over the ground more than once a week or you can over acidify your garden.

Risks Of Using Old Coffee Grounds In Your Garden

Used coffee grounds aren't just chipmunk repellents and have a lot of uses. However, there's a few things to look out for: 

  • Can Stop Water Flowing - Used coffee grounds are denser than regular soil and water won't flow through them as easily. Make sure you don't spread them too thickly around your garden or your plants may not be able to absorb water through their roots. 
  • Impacts Non 'Acid Loving' Plants - Most plants benefit from the acidity of the coffee grounds, but a few can react negatively so it's worth checking first. This includes some crops, like tomatoes, and other plants.

Common Questions About Keep Chipmunks At Bay

What smells do chipmunks hate? 

Chipmunks and other rodents hate the smell of herbs and spices. For example, garlic and hot sauce mixture can keep them away, as well as aromatic herbs like oregano and sage. They also hate the smell of peppermint.  

Will vinegar keep chipmunks away? 

Yes, vinegar has a strong smell that can help chipmunks away. You can use apple cider vinegar and spray it around your plants, as it won’t cause any harm. Apart from that, you can also mix it with hot sauce and garlic, as mentioned above.  

Will cinnamon get rid of chipmunks? 

Cinnamon is also an aromatic herb, and it can deter chipmunks. Just sprinkle some into your garden or where chipmunks usually go in your home.  

Can I use any type of coffee grinds for repelling chipmunks? 

Any type of coffee grind will work for repelling chipmunks. It doesn’t matter what kind of roast you have; the smell of coffee alone can deter these rodents.  


Used coffee grounds are great for keeping chipmunks and other small animals away from your home. The smell repels them, so it's quick and easy pest control. 

However, be aware of their downsides, especially when using them for your plants, as some plants may react negatively to the acidity from the grounds.  


1. https://stories.starbucks.com/stories/2015/starbucks-coffee-grounds-for-the-garden/

2. https://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/soil-compost/coffee-grounds-composting

Kim Fernandez


Kim Fernandez
Kim offers a unique perspective on coffee culture and trends. Kim's writing is personal and experiential, providing readers with firsthand advice on the latest in coffee. Beyond her writing, Kim is an avid explorer of new coffee trends and spots, always seeking to share the most genuine advice and latest trends. True to her love for coffee, you'll often find her in a café, immersed in a book with a freshly brewed cup of joe.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... A freshly brewed cup of joe

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