11 Creative Ways to Use Coffee Filters Beyond Brewing Coffee

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Home Improvement

Coffee filters are not just for filtering coffee anymore. They are made of tightly woven paper circles, which make them useful for many household activities. Ian Dikhtiar/Shutterstock

Coffee is the most popular drink in the United States, with 66% of Americans drinking it daily. Although single-cup coffee makers like Keurig are common, many still use drip coffee makers, which means there are plenty of paper coffee filters available.

These filters are known for their absorbency and tight weave, which make them excellent for filtering coffee grounds and oils. However, they are also ideal for other household tasks.

Here are 11 innovative ways to use coffee filters:

1. Line Food Containers

Place open coffee filters at the bottom of plastic food containers or cookie tins to prevent crumbs and absorb excess oils, making cleaning easier.

2. Use as a Spoon Rest

After stirring a pot of spaghetti sauce or chili, place your spoon on a coffee filter instead of your counter or stovetop to prevent mess and dirt.

3. Pre-Filter Water While Hiking or Backpacking

Bring coffee filters for hiking trips to filter murky water before using a professional filter. This will prevent larger debris from clogging the filter and improve effectiveness.

4. Filter Cork Bits

If a cork breaks while opening a bottle of wine, pour the wine through a coffee filter to remove fine cork bits that can ruin the taste and texture.

5. Use for Children’s Crafts

Use white coffee filters to create a “bouncing” basketball for a fun and easy preschool craft project.

  • Flatten coffee filters with your hands.
  • Let children color them orange.
  • Assist children in drawing black basketball lines on the “ball” (a cross and two semicircles).
  • Have the children glue the ball on a piece of construction paper with a glue stick on either side of the paper.
  • Help the children draw a black check mark on the other side of the ball to show its bounce.

6. Cleaning Your Vehicle’s Dashboard

Many people use coffee filters to clean certain surfaces and this includes your vehicle’s dashboard. Dusty dashboards can be easily cleaned using a coffee filter spritzed with olive oil. The oil helps to capture the dust, reduces static and leaves the dashboard with a nice shine.

7. Substitute for Regular Paper

If you need to scribble a note or an idea but don’t have any scrap paper, use a coffee filter instead.

8. Absorb Excess Oil

Instead of using paper towels or other materials, use a coffee filter to drain bacon grease. Coffee filters are designed to absorb oils and will leave you with a tidier kitchen. You can even use coffee filters to blot oil from your face.

9. Substitute for Toilet Paper

If you run out of toilet paper and have coffee filters on hand, you can use them as a substitute. However, it’s important to remember not to flush anything except for toilet paper.

10. Starting a Fire

If you need tinder to start a campfire, coffee filters are a great option. Add some oil or grease to the filter for even better results.

11. Covering Dishes in the Microwave

Instead of using plastic wrap or wax paper to cover microwaved foods, use a coffee filter. Plastic wrap contains chemicals that can leach into foods during the microwaving process and wax paper can melt in higher heat. Coffee filters are microwave safe and a healthier option.

Now That’s Interesting

Melitta Bentz patented the first paper coffee filter in Berlin, Germany, in 1908 after being frustrated by grounds in her coffee. Today, the Melitta Group continues to produce coffee filters and employs approximately 4,000 people globally.


1. Can coffee filters be used for anything besides coffee?

Yes, coffee filters have a variety of uses beyond brewing coffee. They are great for cleaning glass surfaces without leaving streaks, straining soups and broths, and even as a makeshift bowl or plate for snacks on the go.

2. Can coffee filters be used in place of paper towels?

Yes, coffee filters make a great substitute for paper towels. They are absorbent, lint-free, and can be used for cleaning up spills, wiping down surfaces, and even as a disposable placemat.

3. Can coffee filters be used for DIY face masks?

Yes, coffee filters can be used as a filter layer for DIY face masks. They are breathable and provide an extra layer of protection against particles in the air. Just make sure to use a coffee filter that is unbleached and free of chemicals.

4. Can coffee filters be used for gardening?

Yes, coffee filters are great for gardening. They can be used as a biodegradable alternative to plastic planters, as a liner for pots to prevent soil from escaping, and even as a makeshift seedling pot for starting small plants.

5. Can coffee filters be used for arts and crafts?

Yes, coffee filters are a popular material for arts and crafts projects. They can be used to make paper flowers, as a painting surface, and even as a Halloween costume accessory (such as a tutu or wings).

6. Can coffee filters be used for cleaning?

Yes, coffee filters are great for cleaning. They can be used to clean computer screens, camera lenses, and even as a lint-free wipe for cleaning eyeglasses.

7. Can coffee filters be used for cooking?

Yes, coffee filters can be used for cooking. They can be used as a cheesecloth substitute for straining liquids, to make tea bags, and even as a makeshift steamer basket for cooking vegetables.

8. Can coffee filters be used for pet care?

Yes, coffee filters are great for pet care. They can be used as a makeshift litter box liner, to filter aquarium water, and even as a homemade doggy diaper (just wrap around your dog’s waist and secure with tape or a rubber band).

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