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Can Coffee Grounds Kill Ants? (Your Burning Question Answered)

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For obvious reasons, most people do not want ants in their homes. So, when they have an ant infestation, they typically seek ways to get rid of the pesky insects.

While searching for ways to control ant infestations, people have tried using coffee grounds to kill ants. Anything to rid your home of those little pests.

Can coffee grounds kill ants?

Coffee grounds themselves cannot kill ants. While they might fend ants off, coffee grounds show no signs of being lethal to ants.

Possibly, if you were to dump hot coffee grounds on ants, the insects may die. But ordinarily, coffee grounds only keep ants away.

pure ground coffee

Coffee grounds are not the only natural means of repelling ants. Many other natural ant repellents are available, and in this article, we talk about some of them, among other things.

Does It Kill Them?

Alone, coffee grounds do not kill ants; they ward ants off instead. However, when you combine coffee grounds with other compounds like borax, or hot water, it is possible to kill ants.

Will It Repel Them?

Coffee grounds are, without a doubt, one of the best methods of repelling ants. Since it is a plant-based material, it is environmentally friendly and has no harmful chemicals.

Naturally, ants move from one place to another by using scent trails.

Coffee grounds have a strong aroma, which cloaks the scent trails ants navigate with.

And since ants find their way with scent trails, they get confused around coffee grounds.

Once you find where the ants are coming from, place coffee grounds in that area to block any routes ants use to invade your home.

The particle size of the coffee grounds can also act as a barrier to hamper the activities of ants and get them to abandon their homes. However, ants can move the coffee grounds to create a path. So, you will need to check regularly and reapply if necessary.

ant life

Will It Attract Them?

Coffee grounds do not attract ants.

Ants dislike the aroma and toxicity of coffee grounds which is why they avoid them. However, not all ant species have the same reaction to coffee grounds.

While some species are repelled temporarily, others are not affected in the slightest. 

Used vs. Fresh

Used coffee grounds are better at repelling ants since they smell stronger and create an olfactory barrier. On the other hand, fresh coffee grounds do not smell as strong as used coffee grounds. So, they do not repel ants as strongly as used coffee grounds.

Besides this, ants like and will eat fresh coffee grounds, so you may actually be attracting them.

9 Natural Ant Repellents


Peppermint is a natural insect repellent, and planting it around your home is an effective way to get rid of ants. Besides keeping ants away, peppermint will keep your home smelling minty fresh.

You can also use the essential oils obtained from peppermint as a natural ant repellent. Mix the peppermint essential oils with water in a spray bottle and spray it on suspected areas.


Straight vinegar or a mixture of 50/50 vinegar and water sprayed directly on ants will kill them. However, if you want to repel the ants instead, use diluted vinegar.

You can clean your floors, countertops, and other surfaces with diluted vinegar or spray it around your home.

squeezing lemon

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice works just like vinegar and destroys the scent trails ants use.

To use lemon juice as an ant repellent, mix 1 part lemon juice with 3 parts water in a spray bottle. Spray the lemon juice mixture around the perimeter of your home or in any area through which you suspect the ants invade your home.


Cinnamon is another excellent option for repelling ants. When an ant comes in contact with cinnamon and inhales it, it will suffocate and die. You can sprinkle ground cinnamon around an anthill opening or on ant trails in your home.

Cinnamon essential oil is also perfect for repelling ants. You can mix a few drops of cinnamon oil with water and use it as a spray. Spray the mixture on windows, ant trails, cracks, and around doors.

Cayenne Pepper or Black Pepper

Ants tend to get irritated by the smell of pepper. As a result, both cayenne pepper and black pepper are perfect for repelling ants.

To remedy an ant infestation, find the source of the infestation and sprinkle pepper around that area. You can also create a wall using pepper to keep the ants at bay.

You can also mix pepper with water and spray the resulting mixture on the ants. Although it won’t kill the ants, it will discourage them from returning.

Repelling ants with pepper is safe and natural.



Borax is another natural and effective way to repellant ants. However, borax is toxic so remember to keep it where pets and children cannot find it.

To use borax, prepare a solution with either jelly, sugar, or syrup and warm water. Once the mixture is ready, place it where the ants frequent.

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a compound that can break down the exoskeleton of insects. It is also an effective ant repellent. 

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a powder made from the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. It has microscopic sharp edges that can cut through the exoskeleton of ants, causing their body to dry out.

Sprinkle the powder underneath the fridge, on windowsills, or any other area around the home where you have seen ants. Repeat this process once a day until you no longer see any ants.

Glass Cleaner and Liquid Detergent

A combination of liquid detergent and spray-on glass cleaner is an effective way to repel ants from your home. This mixture repels ants by removing the pheromone trail ants leave behind.

Spray the mixture on areas you suspect the ants originate. After spraying, wipe that area down to leave a light residue.



Table salt is one of the cheapest ways to repel ants naturally. Spreading salt in areas where ants tend to frequent will help deter them from coming into your home.

You can draw a line of salt on the ground to create a barrier. You can also dissolve salt in water to make a spray that will help repel ants.

Final Thoughts

Coffee grounds cannot kill ants. However, they are effective at repelling them.

Coffee grounds are safe, environmentally friendly, and can be used around the home or garden. However, used coffee grounds work better at repelling ants than fresh coffee grounds.