Do Coffee Grounds Keep Ants Away? Myths And Facts!

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Coffee grounds, while delicious, can also serve a purpose outside of your coffee mug. That’s correct. The answer to “do coffee grounds keep ants away?” is a definitive yes. But there’s more that you are yet to discover and understand about coffee grounds and ants.

That said, do coffee grounds kill ants? Coffee grounds, by themselves, cannot kill ants or other pests. But, more on that later in the article. So, keep reading before you take out your pouch of coffee grounds!

Why get rid of ants at home at all?

Ants are undesirable pests.

Well, ants, while admirable insects, are undesirable at home. There are, of course, a variety of reasons for this, some of which I have listed below.

Bear in mind that if ants set up an entire colony in your house, it can be doubly difficult to get rid of them entirely as the colony gets larger. Therefore, you must take prompt action against these pests!

Ants can cause immense damage to your property.

Ants are a common pest that can cause a lot of damage to your property. They can get into food, damage furniture, and structures, and contaminate surfaces. If you have an ant infestation, it is important to take action quickly to get rid of them.

Their presence often goes undetected until it’s too late and the damage has been done. Signs of an ant infestation can be difficult to detect, as they’re very small and tend to stay hidden.

It can take years for the damage to be noticeable, so it’s important to address any signs of an ant problem immediately.

Ants act as transmitters of food-borne diseases.

One of the most common pests in the world, ants, can also transmit food-borne diseases that can make you sick.

They often travel from one contaminated surface to another, which means they can easily bring germs into your home and kitchen. It is important to keep them away from your food and to clean up any messes they make quickly.

Though ants are not as dangerous as other insects, they still carry and transmit bacteria that can make you sick. For example, E. coli is often found on their legs, and salmonella can be spread through contact with their feces.

So while they may not pose a huge threat, it’s still important to keep them away from your food.

Ants can also bite.

Ant bites can be painful and often result in an itchy, red welt. Some people are allergic to ant venom, which can cause more severe reactions. In fact, if a person is allergic to ant venom, they could also experience an anaphylactic shock!

Though ants are small and seemingly insignificant, they can pack a powerful punch. Some ant venoms can cause intense burning pain and skin breakage for some people. This can lead to extreme itchiness and, at times, even a severe rash.

Why have you been unsuccessful in getting rid of ants from your house so far?

I get it. You’re frustrated because even though it’s not really the season for ants to come out in large numbers, you keep spotting them in your house! Now, this could be the case because of a few reasons.

Ants are a common household pest, and they can be very difficult to get rid of. One reason for this is that ants are very resilient and adaptive creatures.

They also love good food sources, which means that if you have an ant problem in your house, it is likely because they are finding something to eat there.

Not only do they build nests that protect them and allow them to spread, but they also can survive for several generations off of a small amount of food. So before you try to get rid of ants, make sure you understand their biology and how they live.

Alternatively, it could also be that the modes of treatment for pest control you’re using are absolutely correct. But, you might be applying them incorrectly or just to a small population of the ant colony in your house.

For any pest control treatment for ants to be effective, you must ensure that it affects the entire population of ants and not just a small portion!

Do coffee grounds keep ants away?

Do coffee grounds keep ants away?

Now that you know, coffee grounds will not kill ants, but do coffee grounds repel ants? Yes, coffee grounds are a popular home remedy for getting rid of ants. While they do not work for every type of ant, coffee grounds contain compounds that can be toxic to common pests.

Specifically, the diterpene and caffeine content of coffee grounds work as efficient insecticides.

Further, the fact that coffee grounds are easily available and do not take a toll on your pockets only makes sense that coffee grounds are an effective remedy to keep ants away.

Granted that coffee grounds as a method of ant control is considered to be a myth in many places. But, there is evidence, both anecdotal and scientific, that coffee grounds do, in fact, work well to deter ants.

will coffee grounds kill ants?

If you’re looking for a natural way to keep ants at bay, you might want to try using coffee grounds. Since it is derived from plants, it poses no health risks associated with chemical processing.

More so than that can of Raid, coffee grinds might serve as a fertilizer and attract helpful earthworms thanks to their high nitrogen content and acidic character. So, does coffee grounds kill ants?

Fresh or used coffee grounds won’t kill ants on their own; you’ll need to mix them with something else, like hot water or borax, for that to happen.

It has been proven that pouring boiling coffee onto an anthill would kill all of the arachnids living there. The coffee might have a lasting impact that drives away any potential survivors.

Why are coffee grounds a good option to keep ants away?

Though there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, in general, coffee grounds can be an effective way to deter ants.

This is because different species of ants respond differently to the scent of coffee grounds, and some are temporarily deterred or confused by the smell.

While it’s not a guaranteed solution, using coffee grounds as part of your pest control strategy can be a helpful option.

How can you use coffee grounds to keep ants away from your home?

Sprinkle coffee grounds in your potted plants.

Coffee grounds can be used as a natural and safe remedy to deter ants from invading homes. The grounds work because the ants don’t like the smell, and they also don’t like the taste.

So, all you need to do is sprinkle coffee grounds around your house, especially near and around the places where you store food and sugar. The coffee grounds will not only help keep ants away, but it will also give your kitchen a lovely aroma.

At the risk of being repetitive, though it is not a surefire method to keep ants away, as they will eventually find another way into your home, using coffee grounds as a deterrent can be helpful.

Sprinkle them around the plants in your garden that ants are drawn to, such as citrus trees- and the ants will avoid those plants.

Additionally, if you see an ant colony established in your yard, you can pour a pile of coffee grounds on top of it to force the ants to relocate. You can also create a ring of fresh or used coffee grounds around anthills to deter the ants.

Can used coffee grounds be used to kill ants?

Used coffee grounds

No, used coffee grounds cannot be used to kill ants. The fact is that while coffee grounds work extremely well as deterrents, to actually kill ants using them, you will need to use extremely large amounts of coffee grounds.

If, however, you want to use coffee grounds in some manner to kill ants that are invading your home, you will have to mix it with a pesticide of some sort.

It is a good idea to mix coffee grounds with a powerful substance like borax or even diatomaceous earth and sprinkle it into your garden.

The borax or diatomaceous earth will kill any ants that come into contact with it, and thereafter, the coffee grounds themselves will prevent any ants from entering at all!

What are some of the other natural remedies you can use to keep ants away?

Lemon juice concentrates can work well to deter ants.

Assuming you don’t want to use coffee grounds as a method to keep ants away, there are still other natural remedies that you can use! In this section, I have listed some of the most popular natural remedies that have been proven to work well against ants!

White vinegar solution

A white vinegar solution holds not only the power to keep ants away but also the power to kill them. That said, many people don’t like the overpowering odor of vinegar lingering around their house.

So, if you don’t particularly mind the odor, simply mix vinegar with water in a 60% to 40% ratio, and spray it in the areas where you notice ants most frequently. If you do mind the odor, you’d be better off with a 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water.

Bear in mind that this method of killing ants will need you to spray vinegar solutions around the house multiple times.

Concentrated lemon juice

When it comes to lemon juice, ants have a hard time following the scent trail left behind. This is because the acid in lemon juice makes it difficult for them to navigate.

As such, if you’re looking to keep ants away from your food or property, using concentrated lemon juice can be an effective method.

That said, you should remember that lemon juice cannot kill ants. It just makes it harder for them to track the trails of food that ultimately end up in your kitchen.

Cinnamon powder

Cinnamon powder also works extremely well as an ant repellant and an ant killer. The smell of cinnamon powder is so strong that ants simply can’t bear to be around it.

If you can find cinnamon essential oil, make a solution out of it and spray it on any ants, you can see.

Black peppers and cayenne peppers

Black pepper is a well-known spice that is often used in cooking. It has a variety of other uses as well, including being used as a natural pesticide in gardens. Cayenne pepper is also sometimes used as a natural pesticide.

Interestingly, ants are repelled by the odor of black pepper. Cayenne peppers also contain a compound that repels ants. Sprinkling these spices near entry points and nests should help keep the ants away.


So, the conclusion of this piece is that while coffee grounds can keep ants away, don’t count on it for permanent freedom from ants. You will have to reapply and repeatedly sprinkle your home and garden with coffee grounds to keep ants away from your house for a long period of time.

So, I would suggest that you use coffee grounds as a temporary fix while you look for a better way to get rid of ants that will work in the long run.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.