Do Coffee Grounds Repel Voles? The Surprising Answer

Coffee grounds that can be used to repel voles

Voles can be pesky little animals that damage your lawn and garden. But despite this, many homeowners aren’t sure how to keep them away!

This guide will teach you if coffee grounds can repel voles effectively, as well as some tips for maximizing your success rate.

Do Coffee Grounds Repel Voles?

Voles are annoying (but cute) little pests with a penchant for ruining gardens. Many people mistake these rodents for moles, and it’s not hard to see why.

Both burrow, creating tunnels under your yard and holes through your perfectly pristine lawn. But voles are on the smaller side, resembling mice or rats. They’re brown, stocky, and often blend in well with the soil they dig up.

The worst part about voles? Not only do they ruin your yard, but they can also destroy your vegetable garden! These pests can make it impossible to bring fruit and vegetables to harvest.

A vole on someone's property digging around

As you can imagine, homeowners have tried many techniques to keep voles away. There’s no shortage of methods out there. Some involve dangerous baits and chemicals, but most people prefer trying safer DIY alternatives like coffee grounds.

But do coffee grounds repel voles?

Coffee grounds are an easy-to-source material that do a surprisingly good job of repelling voles and keeping them away. That means if you’re already a coffee drinker, you can put your grounds to work right away!

Grounds are a byproduct of coffee brewing. Whether you buy pre-ground coffee or go through the process of roasting and grinding fresh beans, the post-brew mess is what you want. The spent grounds are perfect for repelling voles and other pests.

Most people simply toss the grounds in the garbage after every brew. Instead of doing that, consider collecting them in an airtight container! After about a week, you should have plenty of coffee grounds to repel voles on your property.

The best part? You’ll have a continuous supply moving forward. It’s a great way to recycle organic mess while taking steps to protect your property.

Why It’s Effective

What is it about coffee grounds that makes them so effective when it comes to repelling voles?

Ultimately, it comes down to the smell and the chemical composition.

The smell is intense. That’s what people love about coffee! The aroma is enough to wake you up in the morning and prepare you for the day.

While it’s a pleasant and attractive smell for us, it’s overwhelming for voles. The intense aroma is far too much for these sensitive animals to handle.

Not only that, but the chemical composition makes it even more unbearable. Coffee grounds are high in nitrogen. They also contain minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The combination is pretty arbitrary to humans and doesn’t have much impact on us. In fact, most people can’t even smell the minerals.

But the noses of voles are much stronger than our own. These animals can burrow underground and sniff out food despite the lack of clear visibility. So what’s innocent and pleasant for you can be a wall of overwhelming intensity for these tiny creatures.

They aren’t fond of the smell, and most will avoid it at all costs. It’s not lethal or harmful to the animal’s health in any way, but coffee grounds repel voles because it makes them uncomfortable to be nearby!

How To Repel Voles With Coffee Grounds

When it comes to using coffee grounds to repel voles, the steps are pretty simple.

Collect Your Coffee Grounds

The first step? Collect your coffee grounds! As we mentioned, you can easily use the grounds you brew daily. Instead of tossing them, pop the spent coffee in an airtight container and keep it in a cool place to avoid mold growth.

It doesn’t matter what kind of coffeemaker you use. Standard drip-style brewers are the easiest for coffee collection. But even if you use single-cup brewers, it’s manageable. All you have to do is peel off that layer of foil and scoop the grounds out before recycling the cup!

What if you don’t drink coffee? Sourcing coffee grounds can be a little more challenging if you’re not a java lover, but it’s not as hard as you think.

The best place to go is your local coffee shop! Whether it’s a nationwide chain or a small mom-and-pop shop, there’s a good chance that they’ll give you their used grounds. It’s a great way to source a lot of coffee for free!

Many shops even have programs for gardeners and composters. Just go inside and ask! Most are more than willing to give those grounds to someone who will actually use them!

If you don’t have a coffee shop you can go to, there’s always the option of buying coffee. If you choose this route, there are a few things to remember.

First, you should always use spent coffee instead of dry coffee. Brewing the coffee in hot water pulls out the oils, making the aroma more intense than when it’s dry. While dry grounds do have a smell, it’s nowhere near as fierce as it is after brewing.

Secondly, keep things cheap! There’s no need to buy fancy gourmet coffee if you’re not even going to drink it. Get the affordable stuff and do what you can to save as much money as possible.

Spread The Grounds In Problem Areas

Now that you have your coffee grounds ready to keep voles away, it’s time to spread them around!

To do this, pay close attention to where the voles are most active. If you have a garden plot, it’s usually somewhere near there. You might even see some holes around your property. Those are where voles enter their tunnels and hide out. 

Start by spreading the coffee in those problem areas.

If the garden is where these animals cause the most trouble, sprinkle the grounds on top of the soil. Create a layer of coffee grounds about an inch thick around the base of your plants. You can also go around the perimeter of the garden plot, creating a scent barrier that voles will think twice about crossing.

See some holes? Don’t be afraid to toss some coffee onto them. We don’t recommend putting your hand in the hole and compacting it tight. You never know if the vole is waiting there to bite you. But you can pour the grounds onto the hole from a reasonable distance.

The coffee should prevent the voles from using that hole or tunnel again, which is always a plus.

Expert Tip: No matter where you put the coffee grounds, mist them with water. Misting should be a daily task. Coffee is most effective when it’s moist. That’s when all the intense smells come out, so repeatedly misting it should help maintain results.

Repeat the application every few days. The coffee will break down and wash away with the rain. Reapplication is necessary to create an ongoing scent barrier that teaches voles to stay out!

Consider A Mixture

If you don’t want to only use coffee grounds to repel voles, there is another alternative. 

Soak one part coffee grounds to two parts water and leave the mixture to sit overnight. The next day, you’ll have a diluted but still aromatic coffee-like mixture. Add a few drops of citrus oil and move the mix into a spray bottle for easy application.

Citrus is another smell that voles hate, so this solution becomes a one-two punch of repelling power. Spray the liquid solution in all those trouble spots; the smell should stick around to keep voles out.

Is This Method Safe?

If you’re worried about the safety of using coffee grounds to repel voles, we have some good news. This coffee ground method is entirely safe. Not only is it ethical and non-harmful to voles, but you don’t have to worry about any dangers to kids or animals.

Unlike chemical-based deterrents, this method doesn’t leave behind any harmful toxins that could cause irritation or discomfort.

But what about the plants? You’re applying the coffee grounds to the soil, ultimately affecting your plants. Luckily, the coffee grounds will only benefit your plants!

Coffee grounds are high in nitrogen, which is potent fertilizer. As the coffee breaks down, it seeps into the soil and enriches it with some beneficial nutrients that can help your plants reach their full potential!

While not every plant enjoys acidity, most will have no problem with it. Changing the pH balance of the soil is a long process, and an infusion of nitrogen-rich coffee grounds usually isn’t enough to disrupt the balance enough to cause harm even to plants that don’t like acidity.

Coffee grounds are a universally safe choice, and it’s considered to be a much less extreme alternative to other methods.


Coffee grounds repel voles, so don’t hesitate to give this method a try! It’s safe, cheap, and simple. What’s not to like?

As always, you can always reach out to us if you have any questions about this pest control method or any others you find on the site. We always enjoy hearing from our readers and giving them a hand.

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