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Do Coffee Grounds Attract Rats & Mice? Facts & FAQ

ground coffee with wooden spoon

If you have a rodent problem on your hands, you might be wondering if coffee grounds could be the culprit. You may have heard that leftover food and strong-smelling organic items have a tendency to attract rats and mice, and that might have led you to ask if the smell of used coffee grounds lures rodents. While rats and mice are attracted to food odors, they aren’t interested in the smell or taste of coffee grounds. In fact, both used and fresh coffee grounds repel mice and rats.

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Is There a Difference Between Dry & Used Grounds?

Not really. Neither dry coffee grounds nor used ones will attract rats and mice. Rodents don’t like the smell of most products containing caffeine, and they typically won’t bother with coffee grounds in any form. This general aversion to coffee smells is one of the reasons it’s perfectly safe to throw your used coffee grounds into your compost heap. Coffee grounds contain nitrogen which is fantastic for plants, and composting your grounds is an excellent way to increase your soil quality without attracting rodents naturally.

hand holding coffee grounds
Image Credit: Weerayuth, Shutterstock

Can I Use Coffee Grounds as a Rodent Repellent?

While rats and mice won’t go out of their way to get into or eat coffee grounds, the associated smell isn’t strong enough to act as a serious repellent. Rodents are generally attracted to food smells and are persistent and resourceful. If you have a rat or mouse problem, throwing coffee grounds on your trash or compost heap will not do a thing to deter the critters from getting into your food waste.

To keep rats out of your trash, you will need to invest in a heavy-duty trash can with a sturdy lid. Clean your trash cans regularly and spray them with ammonia to discourage unwanted visitors. When it comes to compositing, you have a few alternatives that will work far more effectively than coffee grounds, including outdoor trench and indoor worm composting.

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What Smells Tend To Attract Rats & Mice?

Rodents are attracted to a variety of organic and food smells. Pet food, dairy products, bones, dog and cat poop, rotting fruit, butter, bread, meat, and fish are some of the biggest culprits.

Image Credit: Blossom, Pixabay

Are There Smells Rodents Dislike?

Yes! Rats and mice tend to dislike the smell of mothballs, mint, eucalyptus, chili powder, peppermint, and citronella. They’re also not fond of ammonia, vinegar, onion, garlic, and clover.

What Animals Are Attracted to Coffee Grounds?

Worms are attracted to coffee grounds! The invertebrates are more important than you can imagine in the food chain. They’re indispensable for breaking down organic matter.

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Are There Other Uses for Coffee Grounds?

Used coffee grounds make an excellent natural deodorizer. After brewing coffee, leave the grounds out to mask household smells. You can even use them to remove nasty odors from your refrigerator! Used grounds also serve as gentle scouring agents for pots and pans. Throw used grounds in a bowl and set it outside your window to discourage mosquitoes and fruit flies from bothering you. Coffee grounds also work wonders as meat tenderizers!

Featured Image Credit By: Marie C Fields, Shutterstock


Lorre Luther

Lorre Luther is a cat-loving coffee drinker. Originally from the United States, she now lives in the Netherlands (when not exploring all the glorious places to see on this planet.) She’s whole-heartedly adopted the Dutch tradition of taking a regular late morning coffee break, complete with exactly one cookie.

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