Discover 6 Smells That Moles Hate to Keep Them Out of Your Yard

Written by Trinity Londos
Updated: November 24, 2023
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Moles are small mammals from the Talpidae family. There are currently 42 species of moles worldwide, found in parts of every continent except Antarctica. They are adapted to a subterranean lifestyle, which comes from the words “sub” and “terra” meaning “under” and “earth or soil,” respectively. Moreover, moles live underground, and they survive on diets of insects, earthworms, snails, slugs, ants, and other insects. They are unique due to their strong musky scent and small, poorly-developed eyes. Since they live underground, they instead rely on their strong sense of touch and short, powerful forelimbs to maneuver through the dirt. If you have been experiencing unsightly mounds and molehills in your backyard, this guide will show you how to get rid of them using smells that moles hate.

These 6 scents will send moles tunneling their way right out of your yard!

Moles are most known for their intricate tunnel systems, which can extend up to 3 acres in length. Nevertheless, they are widely considered to be garden pests due to these expansive underground tunnels, which uproot garden vegetables and flowers. If you have been experiencing moles in your backyard, this guide is perfect for you. Read on to learn how to prevent these small mammals from wreaking havoc in your garden by utilizing these six smells that moles hate.

Cayenne Pepper

cayenne peppers in a bowl, with ground cayenne in spoon nearby

Moles, like some people, cannot tolerate the strong and spicy smell of cayenne pepper.

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Red pepper and cayenne pepper are both smells that moles hate. Since they rely predominately on their sense of smell and touch, dousing your yard with spicy scents is a great all-natural, long-term deterrent for these yard pests. Simply pour a little cayenne pepper powder down the entrance of any mole hole that you find in your yard to implement this removal method. Plus, this poses no danger to any other animals, insects, or people that may be exposed to it.

Coffee Grounds

Throwing Away Used Coffee Ground

Ground coffee is one of the most popular home remedies used to get rid of moles.

©Larisa Stefanuyk/iStock via Getty Images

Just like cayenne pepper, coffee also gives off a strong smell that moles hate. This makes it a fantastic repellant for gophers, moles, and other underground animals that might be infesting your yard. So, if you are tired of moles destroying your garden, try out this hack to get rid of them for good! You can simply sprinkle fresh or brewed coffee grounds throughout your garden to instantly get rid of moles in your yard. Since many people brew a cup of joe every morning, this is an economical and effective option to try out. If you notice new mole activity after the first application, repeat this process daily until the moles are officially gone. Following that, sprinkle new coffee grounds throughout your yard once every two weeks to stop them from returning.

Besides getting rid of backyard pests, coffee grounds have loads of other benefits for your lawn. They are rich in nutrients, especially nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. This makes them a great fertilizer for your soil. Coffee grounds can also be used to minimize weeds, kill slugs, and repel cats. To maximize its benefits, it should be spread across planting beds and gardens in a thin layer — much like mulch.

Eucalyptus or Peppermint Oil

Peppermint essential oil in a small bottle. Selective focus. nature.

Many people love using essential oils for a variety of purposes, such as repelling pesky yard critters.

©Tatevosian Yana/

Moles are repulsed by the potent scents of peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils. Due to their intoxicating scent, moles and gophers get uncomfortable and are inclined to move to a different area. To implement this method of removal, douse some cotton balls in either eucalyptus or peppermint oil and stick them in all mole hole entrances across your lawn. Then, cover the holes entirely with dirt. This process needs to be repeated for a few days to ensure the utmost effectiveness. Eventually, the overwhelming smell will cause all the moles in your garden to move to a different location. Alternatively, you can mix some essential oil with water and spray it liberally across the lawn. Another bonus to this method is that this repellant is a natural, non-toxic solution to repel moles and keep them off your property for good!

Castor Oil

castor plant

Moles and gophers hate castor oil because it upsets their digestive tract, which makes your yard less appealing for them to call home.

©Alexander Ruiz Acevedo/

The castor bean plant is toxic to moles, making it a great all-natural mole repellant. Rincin communis, or castor seed oil, is so potent that it can potentially even kill moles if they continuously consume it. Therefore, planting this crop in your yard dissuades moles from making their tunnels in your yard. Furthermore, castor oil is another popular tool for getting rid of moles and gophers already in the yard. This versatile oil is used for two main reasons. First, castor oil makes the soil smell very bad to these underground mammals. This will automatically keep them out of your yard. Secondly, it upsets their digestive tract if it is consumed. Their bodies are not designed to digest this type of substance, which can result in diarrhea if consumed. Because of that, castor oil is a very effective deterrent for moles and gophers in your yard.


harvested hardneck and softneck garlic

Growing garlic is just one way some people use it to keep moles out of their yard.


Garlic is another smell that moles hate. To prevent them from taking over your backyard, try crushing fresh garlic bulbs and placing them inside the entrance of any mole holes you can find. Repeat this daily until the moles are gone, and then again every couple of weeks to stop them from coming back. Another way to use garlic to get rid of moles is by crushing several cloves and mixing them with water to spray throughout your yard. Since they do not like strong scents, this is the perfect method to get rid of these pests in your garden. Alternatively, garlic plants are said to repel moles as well, although this is not yet a guaranteed solution.


If all else fails, people use smoke to get moles to leave their intricate tunnel systems.

©victorass88/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Moles despise the smell of smoke from quite a few different items. Because they are highly sensitive to smells, using smoke is a fairly foolproof way to get rid of these garden pests. Some materials you can burn include thyme, rosemary, or even tobacco. The smoke is used to “smoke out” the moles from their tunnels by placing them into the hole to fumigate their tunnel systems. This smell encourages moles to move on to a new area.


Mole in garden

©Ondrej Prosicky/

Ground moles, gophers, chipmunks, and squirrels are all adorable critters, but many people do not want them in their yards! Because of this, getting rid of moles in your yard is crucial. First, moles can disturb the health and overall growth of plants in your garden. Moreover, their tunnels can create unstable soil in your yard, leading to potential tripping risks and soil collapse.

By incorporating these non-toxic, all-natural methods, you can successfully rid your yard of these underground pests. Furthermore, none of these techniques harms the beneficial plants and animals in your yard like harmful chemicals do, making them much safer to use. Plus, natural remedies are safe for nearby pets and children, ensuring the safety of everyone while still effectively repelling moles. Additionally, these methods utilize items that are readily available, cost-effective, and likely to be found in your home already! Since these are convenient and safe options, opt to use any of these six all-natural smells that moles hate to eliminate moles in your garden and keep them out for good!

Summary of the Top 6 Smells Moles Absolutely Hate

1.Cayenne Pepper
2.Coffee Grounds
3.Eucalyptus or Peppermint Essential Oil
4.Castor Oil
An overview of the six smells that moles hate.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Animals

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About the Author

Trinity Londos is a writer currently working out of the Sunshine State. She has a B.S. in Business Management and Marketing, but her true passion is - and always has been - writing. Interested in all things wild, Trinity loves reading, writing, and learning all about the Earth and its many marvelous creatures. Passionate about animals, nature, and sustainability, she strives to answer as many of life's great mysteries as possible. When she isn't nose-deep in a book or on a Google deep dive, Trinity enjoys hiking, kayaking, and spending quality time with her friends and family - including Sherlock, her canine best friend of 8 years.

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