Can You Really Use Coffee Grounds To Get Rid Of Cockroaches?

If you've recently noticed cockroaches in your home, it's time to take immediate action. Seeing as one set of roaches can create a family of 400,000 annually — an infestation can occur with rapid speed. Should the thought of thousands of cockroaches be more than a little offputting, there's a simple ingredient that could potentially deter these pests from invading in the first place: coffee grounds. The goal is to provide an inexpensive, chemical-free way of preventing these insects from contaminating your space. This hack is said to be one of several genius uses for coffee grounds around your home, but does it actually eliminate cockroaches, or is it just a deterrent? 

According to the International Journal of Science and Healthcare Research, a study published in 2020 explains that "The use of coffee grounds as a cockroach (Periplaneta americana) repellent showed that there was no effect on cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) rejection due to ineffective dose used." Does this mean that coffee grounds don't work at all? Not necessarily. The issue seems to be with the "dose" of coffee grounds administered. The study also didn't exceed 20 grams of this alleged secret ingredient. So, if you've read anecdotal evidence to support the use of coffee grounds in deterring cockroaches, you could always try sprinkling a significant amount of coffee grounds, exceeding the amount used in the study.

Sprinkle some coffee grounds

You can begin by sprinkling coffee grounds around your home, targeting potential entry points for cockroaches. This might be windows, doors, pantries, or anywhere else you spot their activity. Just keep in mind that this hack might not be the solution you're hoping for. Some websites claim caffeine is toxic to roaches, as there are certain cases where it's worked as a natural, organic pesticide, paralyzing and eventually killing vulnerable bugs. However, roaches aren't one of the affected insects, so caffeine is ineffective in this instance.

Conversely, some sources say coffee grounds attract roaches. Since these pests are scavengers and eat almost everything, any exposed food invites them in. Although coffee grounds may repel roaches when used in excess, you may find that this hack only attracts more. If you have a scheduled call to a pest control company and are desperate for a quick — and temporary — fix, you can try coffee grounds, but clean them up immediately if you notice more roaches making their way indoors. 

If you want to try an organic solution to your pest control issue, lemon juice might be a better option. The scent is said to repel roaches, so just mix some lemon juice with water and spray it around your home while you wait for professionals to address the infestation itself.

Use coffee grounds with other cockroach deterrents

Although coffee grounds might not be the secret weapon for a completely cockroach-free house, you might be able to mitigate the problem when using this ingredient in tandem with other preventative measures. This includes organizing and decluttering your home. A messy space welcomes cockroaches, who look for hiding spots until they seek out their food sources. Begin by organizing your items, keeping clothes off the floor, vacuuming regularly, and sanitizing countertops, especially before and after you prepare food.

You should always store food in airtight containers — dog and cat kibble included. Roaches love pet food, and leaving food down all day invites them in. Try to get your pets on a schedule to avoid these pests from feasting on — and contaminating — your pet's food. If your beloved furbaby eats a roach that's been exposed to rodenticide, your pet could experience secondary poisoning. 

There are some safety precautions to consider before using this hack. Coffee grounds — caffeine in particular — pose a danger to children and can be toxic if ingested in high doses. This means exposed grounds are less than ideal for homes with young kids. But they're not the only ones at risk. Caffeine is toxic to both dogs and cats. Even a small amount of coffee could lead to death in these animals, so always place coffee grounds well out of your pet's reach. Since cats can jump onto counters, you may need to skip this hack altogether.