Do Coffee Grounds Keep Deer Away


Perhaps you’ve determined that you have a deer problem. Deer are beautiful creatures to watch, but when it comes to your vegetable gardens or beautiful garden flowers, deer can do so much destruction in just a short amount of time. And perhaps it’s time to find the best solution to keep deer away. That’s why we’ve created this guide called, do coffee grounds keep deer away.

Roasted coffee beans
Roasted coffee beans

We’ve also included a list of other repellents that we’ve used firsthand that help keep the deer from devouring various types of plants.  

Does the Bitter Smell of Coffee Grounds Keep Deer Away?

Yes, coffee grounds work to deter deer from chowing down on your beautiful garden plants and ruining them over night.

Because deer have a strong sense of smell, the bitter odor of spent coffee grounds works to keep pesky critters from eating your plants.

Should I Use Fresh Coffee Grounds?

As one of the most effective deer repellents, you don’t need to use hot coffee and you don’t need to purchase new coffee beans for the occasion.

The best option is to use ground coffee that’s already been brewed. So rather than throwing your used coffee grounds out with the trash, instead save them in a sealed airtight container or plastic bag and repurpose them for a great use on your garden.

white tailed deer
white tailed deer

If you collect your spent grounds in an airtight container, be careful not to save them for too long before putting them to use because they will grow mold.

If you’d rather, you can compost the coffee grounds with dirt immediately, then save the composted mixture for use on your garden. Using it is quite simple.

What’s The Best Way to Use Coffee Grounds for Deer?

Using the coffee grounds on your garden will provide a bitter scent that will deter the deer from eating your hard work and minimize deer damage.

green pepper in garden
green pepper in garden

The use of coffee grounds is really quite simple. If you’re planning to spread them directly on your garden, just remove the coffee filter and sprinkle the used grounds around the perimeter of your garden or at the base of the plants.

That’s all you need to do.  The bitter odor will naturally do its job and will help keep hungry deer away, among other critters.

What Plants Do Deer Bother?

Regardless of the season, when hungry deer search for food there are times they resort to flower beds, garden beds, and fruit trees as food sources. And any plant that’s not deer resistant is generally fair game.

Deer-resistant plants can help to keep deer away, but that’s not always the case. When a deer’s sense targets beautiful gardens, the destruction can become widespread quite quickly.

But there are some steps you can take to be proactive to keep deer away from your gardens and plants.

Roasted coffee beans
Roasted coffee beans

Other Methods to Deter Deer

Along with the use of coffee grounds, there are different methods you’ll want to know about that will help to keep deer away from your beautiful gardens and fruit trees, as coffee grounds might or might not be the most effective deer repellent for your deer.

We’ve outlined these ideas for your reference below.

How to Repel Deer with Soap

Irish Spring Soap. Scientific evidence has determined that a strong scent is what’s needed to keep deer away. Using bars of soap such as Irish Spring soap has proven to be effective.

But for the best results, you’ll want to grate bars of soap using a tool like a box grater or knife to hand grate the soap into small bits as one of the most effective ways to use soap to keep the deer away.

After you’ve prepared it, you can use it by sprinkling soap around the perimeter of the garden and at the base of the plants. The soap’s strong odor should help repel the deer.

deer eating grass
deer eating grass

Original Bar Soap. You can also use the original soap as a bar if preferred. To do this, just unwrap the soap and put it in a mesh bag. Tie the bag shut and hang it near your garden to deter deer.  

Dawn Dish Soap. Mix one cup of milk, one egg, and one tablespoon of Dawn dish soap. Mix it in a gallon jug and fill the remainder with water.

Sit the mixture in the sun for a few days, then spray preferred locations with mixture to keep the deer away.

The use of the raw eggs and milk will create a pungent solution that works well to deter deer.

How to Deter Deer with Spicy Things

As we mentioned, things that have a strong smell work well to deter deer. We recommend using ingredients such as cayenne pepper, hot sauce, hot pepper sprays, chili peppers, or hot red pepper flakes to create a mixture that can be sprayed around the perimeter of your garden.

Using a pungent smell is a good idea and has shown to be quite effective compared to other methods that might have little evidence to support their effectiveness.

dahlia in garden
dahlia in garden

The Best Deer Repellent Sprays

Along with using natural products that work well as a deer repellent, there are also man-made and commercial chemical solutions that can be used.

Here are some possible options.

Liquid Fence. The product referred to as liquid fence is thought to be a most effective deer repellent on the market. It’s commercially made and can be purchase in many home and garden stores as a concentrate.

It comes as a concentrate, so it should be mixed with water in a spray bottle and applied on the plant leaves or around the perimeter of your garden after a rain.

Though Liquid Fence is not a natural deer repellent, it’s considered to be a chemical deer repellent, it can be a great option and effective solution when you’re looking for a way to repel deer.

Other Deer Deterrents

There are a few other methods of deer deterrents that are worth mentioning because what works for one person, might not be the best deer repellent for another. It just depends on if there are other food sources in the vicinity for the deer.

Coffee bean on heap of grinded coffee
Coffee bean on heap of ground coffee

Human Hair. In cases where human hair is readily accessible, you can place cut hair around the perimeter of your garden to help deter deer. It can also be hung in a nylon or in a mesh bag near the garden so the deer can readily smell the human scent, which will deter them.

Electric Fence. The use of an electric fence might become necessary in some circumstances, though depending on whether it’s a high fence, some deer will be able to jump over it.

Fishing Line. Stringing a fishing line from post to post around the perimeter of the garden area or fruit trees can help to keep deer out. If the deer walk through that area, they will bump into it, and it will prompt them to simply turn around and leave.

Blood Meal. Because deer don’t like the smell of it, sprinkling dried blood meal can be an effective defense against deer and send a stay out message to them.

Motion-Activated Sprinkler System. Using motion detectors or motion sensors can work well as a scare tactic for deer. When the sensor is activated a sprinkler system can turn on to scare deer away.

Predator Urine. Purchasing concentrated predator urine such as coyote urine or wolf urine and spraying the area will provide a pungent aroma and natural repellent to keep the deer out.

And likely, you’ll want to avoid inhaling the smell too. This method isn’t usually a long-term solution but will need to be reapplied after a heavy rain.

pink rose
pink rose

Tall Fence. If you’re someone who knows the basics of fencing, in some cases it might be necessary to go so far as to use the construction of a barrier, namely a tall fence.

Keep in mind when building a fence, that deer can jump high, so you’ll want to build your fence high enough to keep the deer out.

Bright Lights. The use of bright lights is also known to keep deer away. They work as a scare tactic.

Whether you use bright flashlights and shine them in the direction of the deer or set up something more permanent such as outdoor lights activated by motion detection, these are possibilities to help keeping deer from destroying your garden.

Wind Chimes. Wind chimes hung near your garden area can help to create a noise factor that will keep deer away when the wind is blowing.

Aluminum Pie Pans. Consider hanging old aluminum pie pans on a post near your garden. The combination of the clanking sound they make when the wind is blowing, along with reflected light from the sun can be a deterrent.

ground coffee and scoop
ground coffee and scoop

Dryer Sheets. Items such as dryer sheets can have a pungent smell that helps keep deer out of outdoor spaces. Just place them in the appropriate location.

Cinnamon Oil. Cinnamon oil as a strong smell that deer don’t like. You can try putting some in a spray bottle and misting it in the surrounding areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions that relate to do coffee grounds keep deer away. If you have a question that’s not answered here, please drop it to us in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.

What smell do deer hate the most?

The first thing you should know is there are many smells that deer will avoid, especially those with a pungent smell.

Things that have a strong aroma such as garlic, rotten eggs, lavender, mint, oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, chili peppers, and others keep deer away.

See our full list above for sustainable deer repellents.

What is a good homemade deer repellent?

Along with the use of coffee grounds, garlic blended with eggs, added to water makes a good homemade deer repellent along with the repellents listed above.

ground coffee and scoop
ground coffee and scoop

What animals do coffee grounds keep away?

The smell of coffee grounds has proven to keep a variety of animals away such as, chipmunks, moles, ants, slugs, snails, and rabbits that might enjoy eating edible plants.

Does Irish Spring soap keep deer away?

Irish Springs bar soap is known to keep deer away from garden plants in some circumstances.

The best way to use it as a deterrent is to grate it or shred it and then sprinkle it around the base of the plants.

What is the most effective deer deterrent?

The most effective deer deterrent is one that works. Use our list above and try a variety of deer repellents that are both natural and chemical if desired. The use of electronic repellents is also a possibility.

Effective deterrents will vary based on the deer at your location and how hungry they are.

Other Ideas:

Easy Guacamole Seasoning
Dairy Free Brownies
Orange Whip Drink
Cast Iron Mac and Cheese

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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