Does Coffee Deter Mice? Fact or Myth Explained

Coffee grounds on spoon

For many people, coffee is the lifeline that jump-starts their mornings and keeps them going throughout the day. Surprisingly, the robust aroma we have grown to love may also be helpful in repelling mice. But why do mice hate the scent of coffee, and can it really be an effective way to keep these unwanted guests at bay?

Research has shown that mice have a strong aversion to certain smells, including the smell of coffee. Different types of coffee can have varying scents, but it seems that most are potent enough to deter mice. By strategically placing used coffee grounds or fresh beans in problem areas, you may be able to harness their power as a natural repellant.

Remember, the key is in the aroma, so feel free to experiment with different coffee varieties to find the most effective scent for your situation.

Key Takeaways:

  • Coffee aroma can be an effective deterrent for mice in certain situations
  • Different types of coffee offer varying scents, so experimentation might be required to find the most effective option
  • Place coffee grounds or beans strategically in problem areas to maximize their repellent potential

* This post contains affiliate links.

So, Why Do Mice Hate Coffee?

mouse in small blue ceramic coffee mug

So, you’ve got a mouse problem? No worries, coffee to the rescue! It turns out, mice aren’t big fans of coffee scent. Let’s dive into the scientific reasoning behind this peculiar aversion.

Coffee Overpowers Mice Senses

Surprisingly, mice have robust olfactory senses, and the overpowering smell of coffee can easily repulse them. An article from the Journal of Molecules tells us that coffee contains chemicals such as alkaloids, phenolic acids, flavonoids, and terpenoids.

These chemicals may sound scary, but they’re completely natural and give coffee its wonderful flavor and appeal. However, the scent of them, although appealing to us, is repugnant to mice.

Terpenoids, specifically, have been studied for their pest-repellent effects, including their ability to repel mice!

Dark Roasts Affect Mice More

Different types of coffee beans and roasts might be more effective in repelling mice! The darker the coffee roast, the more powerful its odor, and thus, the more likely it is to keep mice at bay. Kicking Horse Coffee is a great example of a dark roast that may repel mice.

If you’ve ever had a light roast and a dark roast, you can tell them apart immediately. Dark roasts are more robust and occasionally have a bitter bite to them that affect mice far more than light roast coffees.

Mice Despise Caffeine

Caffeine is the main reason why so many drink coffee. We need that extra boost in the morning to get our day going. We may love caffeine, but mice aren’t familiar with it like humans are. Caffeine isn’t found in such a high concentration in the natural environment, so mice are naturally wary of it.

Effectiveness of Coffee as A Mice Repellent

Used Coffee Grounds To Repel Mice

Coffee Vs. Other Natural Repellents

Coffee grounds, a common household waste, might help in repelling those pesky mice from your home! But how does it compare to other natural repellents?

  • Peppermint oil: A popular option is peppermint oil, known for its strong scent. Mice hate the smell, making it an effective deterrent.
  • Cayenne pepper: Another common choice, it irritates their nostrils, forcing them to stay away from areas treated with it.
  • Coffee grounds: Mice seem to dislike the scent of coffee as well. This not only is a possible repellent, but also helps you make use of something you would have thrown away otherwise!

It’s up to you to decide which one suits your needs best. Always remember to replace or refresh your chosen repellent periodically for maximum effectiveness. And if you’d rather use whole beans as opposed to grounds, we have a fantastic guide on how to use unground coffee beans to keep mice away.

Toxicity Of Coffee To Mice

While the exact scientific reasoning behind coffee repelling mice remains unclear, it does seem that coffee grounds have a particular scent that mice generally dislike. But, are they toxic to the little creatures?

Contrary to popular belief, coffee is not inherently toxic to mice. In fact, caffeine is primarily toxic to insects and has little effect on mammals such as mice and humans. So, using coffee grounds as a repellent won’t harm the mice, but rather encourage them to look for a more pleasant-smelling environment.

Different Types Of Coffee Have Differing Effects On Mice

Now, let’s talk about different coffee types and scents!

Coffee TypeDescription
ArabicaArabica coffee is known for its smooth, mild flavor with a slightly sweet taste. It often has a pleasant aroma with fruity or floral notes. Arabica beans are typically lighter in color and have a higher acidity compared to other coffee varieties.
RobustaRobusta coffee has a stronger, more bitter flavor with a nutty or woody undertone. It has a higher caffeine content and a darker, richer crema when brewed. Robusta beans are often used in espresso blends for their bold and full-bodied characteristics.
LibericaLiberica coffee is characterized by its unique, irregularly shaped beans and a distinct, floral aroma. It has a full-bodied flavor with a somewhat woody or smoky taste. Liberica beans are less common than Arabica and Robusta but offer a different and interesting coffee experience.
ExcelsaExcelsa coffee is known for its complex and intriguing flavor profile, often featuring fruity and spicy notes. It has a tart and fruity aroma with a medium body and a slightly tart or smoky taste. Excelsa beans are often used to add a unique twist to coffee blends.

To increase the efficiency of your coffee grounds repellent, consider combining them with other methods such as peppermint oil or cayenne pepper.

While coffee grounds might not be as potent as some other natural repellents, they are still worth trying. Test their effectiveness in your home and see if you can use it to your advantage!

How To Use Coffee As A Mouse Repellent In 5 Steps

Vintage coffee grounder with coffee grounds and coffee beans that can repel mice

Step 1: Choose The Right Coffee

Let’s brew up a plan to use coffee as a mouse repellent. First, we need to choose the right coffee. You’d think all coffee is equal, but not in this case. Robustas and Arabicas are popular choices, but experiment to find the brew that’ll make mice shout “No beans, please!”

No two coffee brands are the same, so it’s important to compare different scents to determine which will deter mice best. You might want to try Dark Roasts for a pungent aroma, or Organic Coffee like Mayorga Coffee Roaster Organic Mayan Blend for a more eco-friendly option.

The table below should help you decide:

Coffee TypeAroma StrengthPriceEco-Friendliness
Dark RoastsStrong$$
Organic CoffeeMedium$$$
Light RoastsMild$

Step 2: Collect Your Coffee Grinds

Here’s the grind: collect used coffee grounds from your daily caffeine fix or purchase some from a local café. Ensure that the grounds are dry, as damp coffee may lead to mold, which isn’t something you’d want.

To dry your used coffee grinds, place some paper on a pan and sprinkle the grounds on the paper (newspaper works the best!). Then, cut strips of newspaper and place them throughout the grounds. Finally, place the pan in a sunny spot and replace the newspaper as it gets wet.

Step 3: Identify Potential Entry Points

Once your grinds are dry, it’s time to start repelling those pesky mice. Take a look around your house, yard, shed, and anywhere else you want to repel mice from.

Placement is key. When using coffee grounds as a mouse repellent, focus on areas that provide food and shelter for mice, such as kitchens, garages, basements, and pantries.

Closely inspect these areas for entry points, such as holes, gaps, and cracks where mice can sneak through. Anything larger than a pencil hole can fit a mouse!

Step 4: Sprinkle Away!

Take your dry coffee grounds and sprinkle them around the entry points you identified in the previous step. Think about areas that are dark, undisturbed, and warm – that’s where the mice will be!

If you are sprinkling grounds outside, try to concentrate them more heavily than you would in indoor spaces. Aromas are dispersed far more easily outside than inside, and we want the scent strong to repel those whiskered rascals.

Pro Tip: To avoid a big mess in your home, place coffee grounds in a small dish or on a paper plate instead of directly on the floor or area you want to protect.

Step 5: Monitor Your Progress

Replace your coffee grounds at least once a week to keep the scent strong. Try placing baking soda or powder around entry points to monitor if there are mouse tracks. This way, you can tell if your coffee repellent is working.

Coffee is not only a tasty energy booster for you but also a potent repellent for mice. So, enjoy your daily cuppa, knowing that you’re one step closer to a rodent-free home! For more information on using coffee grounds as a mouse deterrent, take a look at our article on how to use coffee grounds to keep mice away.

Exploring Alternative Solutions To Repel Mice

cinnamon essential oil to repel mice

To further enhance your rodent-repelling strategy, consider incorporating other scents that mice find offensive. Below, we’ve compiled a list of products that can be surprisingly effective.


This spice isn’t just for making delicious treats; it can help keep mice at bay too! Sprinkle cinnamon in the same way you would coffee grounds. You can read about why cinnamon works to keep mice away here.


Its pungent smell is known to repel rodents – just dab some near their entry points. You can also soak cotton balls in vinegar and place them in dishes or on paper plates to repel pesky mice.

The acidity of vinegar is an added layer of deterrent for mice, who can’t stand the smell or taste of vinegar.

Predator Scents

Products containing traces of predator urine can scare mice away; nature at its finest! Fox urine such as PredatorPee Original Fox Urine is especially effective at deterring mice. However, make sure to only use this deterrent outside, as it has an extremely strong odor.

For a list of other predator scents, check out our article on the different types of predator scents that will keep mice away.

Dryer Sheets

Freshening up your laundry and discouraging mice, talk about multitasking! Dryer sheets can be effective at deterring mice and they’re easy to stuff into small gaps and holes. Look for dryer sheets that have strong scents, such as Downy Infusions Mega Dryer Sheets, which use the scent of lavender and vanilla to repel those whiskered rebels.

Mint Toothpaste

Brush your teeth and place the used tube in areas where mice have been spotted. Alternatively, dab some mint toothpaste on a paper plate or cotton balls and place them strategically around your home or yard.

It may sound like a strange mouse deterrent, right? But it works! You can read our article on how mint toothpaste can repel mice here.

Hot Sauce

You wouldn’t want this on your paws, and neither do mice! A small dab goes a long way. Most hot sauces contain chili peppers, red peppers, or some form of hot pepper. The tingly sensation we get from these spicy peppers is multiplied tenfold for mice!

Clove Oil

A natural repellent that doesn’t only keep bugs away, don’t hold back on this one! Use clove essential oil like MAJESTIC PURE Clove Essential Oil and soak cotton balls to place around your home.

You can also create a DIY spray by adding 10-15 drops of clove essential oil to as pray bottle full of water. Spray this around mouse-prone areas to keep them away.

Tea Bags

Did you know some mice hate the smell of tea? Another reason to enjoy that afternoon cup! Place used tea bags on paper plates and put them near mouse entry points. Alternatively, you can place the tea bags in sachets and store these in mice-prone areas.


Another fantastic alternative solution to repel mice, ammonia mimics the scent of other animals’ urine, triggering a mouse’s fear instinct.

Cayenne & Black Pepper

Spicy spice and rodents don’t mix. The capsaicin in cayenne peppers and the piperine in black pepper are both effective mouse deterrents. Sprinkle the ground version of these in areas where you want to repel mice.

For more guidance, click over to our article on how to use black pepper to keep mice away.


Not just for a pleasant smell in your wardrobe, cedar repels mice quite effectively too. Homode Cedar Blocks come with cedar hangers, blocks, rings, balls, and sachets that make it easy to place them all over the home and yard!

Although we cannot guarantee the instant success of these methods, experimenting with coffee grounds and other repelling scents can provide a valuable, personalized defense against mice invasions. Just ensure that you remain consistent in your efforts and continue to explore alternative solutions.

Additional Benefits of Coffee In Mouse Control

On top of repelling mice, coffee grounds can offer some bonus benefits in pest control:

  • Fertilize your plants with a nitrogen-rich boost of nutrients
  • Wage a war on pesky worms by adding coffee grounds to your garden soil
  • Mix cloves, chili powder, or peppermint plants, which are additional natural repellents, to strengthen the barrier against rodents

It seems that a fresh cup of coffee not only gets you through the day but can also help you win the battle against critters! So, next time you’re brewing your cup o’ joe, appreciate the extra kick it adds to your pest control arsenal.

Remember to strategically place the used coffee grounds, mix in some additional repellents for extra protection, and explore other scents to keep those pesky rodents at bay.

And if all else fails, reach out to a professional pest control specialist using our nationwide pest control finder. Pest professionals use years of experience to identify and seal entry points, recommend repellent strategies, and remove existing infestations.

Wrapping Things Up

Mice are not fond of coffee! This is due to the strong aroma that coffee emits. Interestingly, the scent of coffee appears to repel mice effectively. There are various types of coffee, which come with their unique scents, and each seem to turn mice away.

When considering different types of coffee, it’s essential to compare their distinct aromas. Arabica coffee, for example, is notable for its fruity and sweet fragrance. On the other hand, Robusta coffee is known to have a bitter and earthy aroma. Both these scents appear to be quite effective at repelling mice.

So, where should you place coffee to keep those pesky rodents away? It’s simple! Just scatter some coffee grounds in areas where you’ve noticed mouse activity. These spots might include:

  • Corners of rooms
  • Cabinets
  • Pantries

Another option is to strategically place small bowls or containers filled with coffee grounds in the affected areas.

Given the scientific foundation that supports the repelling effect of coffee aroma on mice, it’s easy to understand why coffee can be a practical solution for deterring these pesky critters.

So, do not hesitate to spread your grounds and enjoy your cup of coffee, knowing that these little invaders are less likely to appear. Cheers to caffeine and a mice-free home!


de Melo Pereira, G. V., de Carvalho Neto, D. P., Júnior, A. I. M., do Prado, F. G., Pagnoncelli, M. G. B., Karp, S. G., & Soccol, C. R. (2020). Chemical composition and health properties of coffee and coffee by-products. Advances in food and nutrition research91, 65-96.

Hansen, S.C., Stolter, C., Imholt, C. et al. Plant Secondary Metabolites as Rodent Repellents: a Systematic Review. J Chem Ecol 42, 970–983 (2016).

Saud S, Salamatullah AM. Relationship between the Chemical Composition and the Biological Functions of Coffee. Molecules. 2021 Dec 16;26(24):7634. doi: 10.3390/molecules26247634. PMID: 34946716; PMCID: PMC8704863.

Zengin, G., Sinan, K. I., Mahomoodally, M. F., Angeloni, S., Mustafa, A. M., Vittori, S., … & Caprioli, G. (2020). Chemical composition, antioxidant and enzyme inhibitory properties of different extracts obtained from spent coffee ground and coffee silverskin. Foods9(6), 713.

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