Will coffee grounds keep lizards away: Debunking the Myth

Coffee grounds have long been rumored to repel lizards and other pests. Many people believe that the strong smell of coffee can deter these creatures from entering their homes or gardens. But is there any truth to this claim? In this article, I will delve into the myth surrounding coffee grounds as a lizard repellent and determine whether it is fact or fiction.

Myths and Legends

Throughout history, humans have relied on various plants and substances to repel pests. From using garlic to ward off vampires to hanging bags of mothballs to deter moths, our ancestors have come up with countless techniques to keep unwanted creatures at bay. Coffee grounds are no exception to this trend.

One of the most common myths surrounding coffee grounds is their ability to deter lizards. Some people swear by this method, claiming that the distinct odor of coffee is repulsive to these squamates. However, before we jump to conclusions, let’s take a closer look at the science behind the claim.

The Science Behind It

While coffee grounds may have a strong smell to our human noses, whether this scent is unappealing to lizards is another matter entirely. It is well-known that lizards rely heavily on their sense of smell to locate food and detect danger. However, the specific scents that repel or attract them vary from species to species, making it difficult to generalize their preferences.

Another factor to consider is the composition of coffee grounds. Coffee contains various chemicals, including caffeine and acids, which contribute to its distinct aroma. While these compounds might be off-putting to some animals, such as insects, rodents, or even cats, it remains unclear whether lizards in particular are affected by them.

Debunking the Myth

To put the myth to the test, several experiments have been conducted to determine whether coffee grounds truly repel lizards. Unfortunately, the results of these studies have been inconclusive. In some cases, lizards showed a slight aversion to coffee grounds, while in others, they were unaffected.

One possible explanation for this inconsistency is that lizards may become habituated to the smell of coffee over time. If they encounter coffee grounds repeatedly without any harm or negative consequences, they may learn to ignore the scent altogether.

Alternative Methods

If you are faced with a lizard problem and coffee grounds prove to be an ineffective solution, there are alternative methods you can try. One common tactic is to use natural repellents that have been proven to deter lizards. For example, lizards are known to dislike the smell of certain essential oils, such as peppermint or citrus. Spraying these oils around your home or garden may discourage lizards from entering the area.

Another option is to make your environment less hospitable to lizards. This can be achieved by removing any potential hiding spots, such as piles of debris or excess vegetation. Additionally, keeping your home clean and free of insects will help reduce the lizard’s food source and make your property less attractive to them.


While the idea of repelling lizards with coffee grounds may sound appealing, the scientific evidence to support this claim is lacking. While it is true that lizards rely on their sense of smell, there is no definitive proof that the scent of coffee grounds repels them. With that said, if you are determined to keep lizards away, it may be more effective to explore alternative methods, such as using natural repellents or making your environment less inviting to these creatures.

At the end of the day, it’s essential to approach these myths with a skeptical mindset and rely on scientific evidence rather than anecdotal claims. While coffee grounds may have their uses in gardening or composting, repelling lizards might not be one of them. So, don’t rush to empty your coffee filter onto your doorstep just yet.

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