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DIY Coffee Insect Repellent

When it comes to repelling insects, the first things that come to mind are chemical-laden sprays and lotions. However, there is a natural and eco-friendly alternative that might surprise you: coffee! Yes, that aromatic beverage we enjoy daily can double as an effective insect repellent. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using coffee as a repellent, how it works, and provide a simple DIY recipe to create your own coffee-based insect repellent.

coffee insect repellent

The Science behind Coffee’s Insect-Repelling Properties

Coffee contains several compounds, such as caffeine, diterpenes, and trigonelline, which possess natural insect-repellent properties. These compounds have been found to disrupt the sensory receptors and feeding behavior of various insects, including mosquitoes, ants, flies, and beetles.

Caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant, acts as a powerful deterrent for insects. It affects their nervous systems and interferes with their ability to locate and identify hosts. Diterpenes, such as cafestol and kahweol, have been shown to repel mosquitoes and other pests by altering their olfactory senses, making them less attractive to these creatures. Trigonelline, another compound found in coffee, acts as a natural insecticide by inhibiting the growth and development of insect larvae.

DIY Coffee-Based Insect Repellent Recipe

Creating your own coffee-based insect repellent is a simple and cost-effective process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making your homemade repellent:


  • 1 cup of brewed coffee (strong and preferably freshly brewed)
  • 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds
  • 1 tablespoon of almond oil or any carrier oil of your choice
  • 10-15 drops of essential oil (eucalyptus, lavender, or citronella are recommended for their additional insect-repelling properties)
  • Spray bottle


  1. Brew a cup of strong coffee and allow it to cool completely.
  2. In a bowl, combine the brewed coffee, coffee grounds, carrier oil, and essential oil.
  3. Stir the mixture thoroughly to ensure all ingredients are well blended.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a spray bottle.
  5. Shake the spray bottle well before each use to remix the ingredients.
  6. Apply the coffee-based repellent to exposed skin, clothing, and around areas prone to insect activity.
  7. Reapply every two to three hours, or as needed, especially after sweating or swimming.

Benefits of Coffee-Based Insect Repellent

Using coffee-based insect repellent offers numerous benefits. Firstly, it provides a natural and chemical-free alternative to conventional insect repellents, reducing exposure to potentially harmful substances. Coffee-based repellents are safe for both adults and children, making them an ideal choice for families.

Furthermore, coffee-based repellents are environmentally friendly. They do not contribute to water or air pollution, unlike commercial repellents containing synthetic chemicals. Coffee grounds used in the repellent recipe can be obtained from leftover coffee, reducing waste and promoting sustainability.

Coffee-based repellents also have a pleasant aroma, unlike the strong and often unpleasant scent of traditional repellents. The addition of essential oils further enhances the fragrance while providing extra insect-repelling properties.

Final Thoughts

Coffee, a beloved beverage, can serve a dual purpose as an effective insect repellent. Its natural compounds, such as caffeine, diterpenes, and trigonelline, work together to deter insects and protect us from their bites. By creating your own coffee-based insect repellent, you can enjoy the benefits of a chemical-free solution while reducing environmental impact.