Do Coffee Grounds Kill Ants?

Humans and ants, for the most part, coexist with one another. However, ants get too comfortable and build their nest a little bit too close to our house in some cases. One of the best ways to keep ants out of your household is by using coffee grounds. But, do coffee grounds kill ants?

Now, coffee grounds are not capable of killing ants. At best, coffee grounds keep ants away, and you can do this by simply putting coffee grounds near the areas where ants are around the most.

Aside from coffee grounds, there are other ways to deter ants. If you want to eliminate ants entirely, other simple household ingredients can do that too. Take a look below!

How Do Coffee Grounds Keep Ants Away?

Ants navigate by following scent trails left by the rest of the ants when they scout for resources. If you mask the ant’s scent trails, then they’ll get lost. If you cover its trail with something of a more pungent scent, then they’ll avoid it.

Even for human beings, coffee grounds have a powerful scent. Therefore, coffee grounds are commonly used to keep ants away by smothering the grounds on the ants’ trail. Furthermore, the physical mound of the coffee grounds themselves acts as a barrier. Think of it as a second layer of protection where ants can’t get past them.

However, it is essential to keep in mind that the coffee grounds do not work for all species of ants. Some ant species seem to be unfazed by the presence of coffee grounds. Others are only deterred for a short time until they are able to overcome the scent as well as the physical barrier of coffee grounds.

Other Ways to Deter Ants

You can use super simple household ingredients to deter ants. Below are three popular ingredients you can use.


Mint, specifically peppermint, is a natural repellant not just for ants but for insects in general. 

One way to naturally keep ants away is to just plant mint around the garden, even inside your home. Another method is to use essential peppermint oils. Ants, as well as other insects, stay away from the smell of mint. 

You can place several drops of peppermint oil on a tissue, cloth, or cotton ball and wipe it on areas where ants patrol the most. Or you can have small mint plants around the house as well. Not only will this keep ants away, but it will keep your surrounding area smell fresh.


Another home-remedy deterrent to use is chalk. Chalk is another popular way to eliminate ants, especially for white-colored houses, which blend in well. Chalk contains calcium carbonate, a content that will deter ants from the places you want them away from. 

When using chalk, just sprinkle some of it in powdered form, specifically ants’ entry points. You can also use the chalk to draw the line at the entrance or near their nest. When you draw chalk lines, ants will not cross them, and it is known to be an effective method.

Citrus Fruit

Two particular citrus fruits are known to be great ant deterrents. These are lemon and oranges. Reportedly, ants avoid lemons and oranges due to the scent of the juice, which is sour and bitter.

You can squeeze both lemon and oranges and use the juice from them. You can also place lemon or orange peels in spots where ants usually patrol or enter as they keep ants away as well. 

Another easy way of using the juices of orange or lemon is to mix them with water. You can later use the mix to wipe it around the house, including the floor, tables, cabinets, or even just dump them outside your patio where the ants like to crawl around. 

Natural Ways to Kill Ants

If you are just tired of having ants around the house and want them away permanently, then these are the two most common ingredients to do so.


Although cinnamon is known to be an effective deterrent, reportedly, cinnamon is also a household ingredient effective for killing ants. Cinnamon contains substances that, when an ant inhales, suffocates and kills them. 

These substances are volatile for ants upon ingestion, including ether, aldehydes, alkenes, ketone, and ester are just some of the natural alcohols that are part of the cinnamon compound.

There are several ways you can use cinnamon effectively:

  • Ground cinnamon: Spread ground cinnamon around areas where ants are around, such as on the ant trails or directly on an anthill. 
  • Cinnamon essential oils: Mix a few drops of cinnamon oil with water, and you can directly spray it on ants or where their trails are

Now that you know how to kill ants using cinnamon, let’s move on to using vinegar.


Vinegar is another household ingredient that can be very effective in deterring and killing ants. 

The easiest way to kill ants with vinegar is to mix it with water in a spray bottle. The measurement should be 50/50. Once you have already mixed the two ingredients, spray it directly on the ants to kill them. 

Instead, when using them as a deterrent, simply spray them on areas where you want to keep ants away. However, it is recommended to spray it on areas outside of the house, as vinegar isn’t the most pleasant-scented ingredient.


Coffee grounds work wonders in keeping ants away, but they won’t kill them. Cinnamon and vinegar are the two most popular ingredients for actually killing ants, as they are easily accessible. If you are looking to deter ants, either use mint, chalk, or citrus fruits, as well as ingredients easily found in the household.

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