10 Clever Ways To Use Coffee Filters

Coffee filters can tackle many household tasks in a pinch. Try one or all of these clever ideas!

Even if you aren’t a coffee drinker, you might want to pick up a pack of “basket-style” paper coffee filters on your next trip to the grocery store.  Not only are they inexpensive (a standard pack of 100 basket filters is about $2.00, and even more economical in larger quantities; unbleached can cost a little more), but they can tackle many household tasks and perform double duty in a pinch. Try any or all of these clever ideas:

10 Clever Ways To Use Coffee Filters

  1. Make your own dryer sheets. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender, to a coffee filter to make an economical dryer sheet. Your clothes will smell great, and your homemade dryer sheets will even reduce static.
  2. Spice bundle for soups or stews. Placing whole spices and/or herbs in a coffee filter, then tie into a little pouch with a piece of kitchen string and you have an easy way to flavor soups or stews without having to fish out bay leaves, cloves, stems, etc.
  3. Polish shoes. Coffee filters are great for applying shoe polish, or leather conditioners, as well as buffing shoes to a high shine.
  4. Odor-fighting sachet. Tie 1/3 cup baking soda in a coffee filter and secure with a piece of string or a twist tie, and you have a deodorizing sachet to place in your fridge or freezer. It works better than leaving the whole box in there because the air circulates all around the filter.
  5. Wrap delicate items. Filters are an inexpensive way to protect fine china (place one between each plate before stacking), glassware, and fragile items like Christmas ornaments.
  6. Filter cooking oil. Remove impurities from used cooking oil after deep frying by straining the oil through a coffee filter.
  7. Instant drink coaster. Protect your furniture from rings by using coffee filters as coasters. Condensation wicks rapidly into the filter paper and away from your table tops.
  8. Wipes to clean mirrors, car windshields, etc. The absorbent paper of coffee filters is great for lint-free windows, windshields, and mirrors. Use with or after your favorite glass cleaner. Can be cheaper than paper towels.
  9. Cast Iron Care. Use a couple of coffee filters as padding between cast iron skillets, delicate plates, or anything you don’t want to be scratched.
  10. Whiteboard or blackboard erasers. Coffee filters are great at cleaning dry marker ink off of whiteboards, or when dampened, chalk from chalkboards.

Do you have a clever way to use paper coffee filters? Tell us in the comments below!

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Edward Higgins

Edward Higgins is a freelance writer, artist, home chef, and avid fly fisherman who lives outside of Portland, Maine. He studied at Skidmore College and Harvard University. His article 10 Best Edible Insects appears in the 2020 Farmers' Almanac.

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millard thornton

You can use them in the car. Easier to store. use them for cleaning dash, windows and you can use them for checking oil or as a way to handle the gas pump handle.


These are great tips! Thank you for sharing!

Michelle M Carnevale

I use them to cover foods I’m heating in the microwave.

Sandi Duncan

That is a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing!


I use them for snacks.

Miss Diane Schultz

Great ideas!…One question? I use the natural ones(brown). Are they okay too?

David A

I use them to cover food in the microwave, so it doesn’t splatter all over.

Marty S.

You can place a coffee filter in the bottom of your flower pot to keep soil from falling through the holes!


My husband keeps a few with him for his chewing tobacco. Small piece torn off to wrap the chew and he rarely ever spits. Love that. Cheaper and he can let it dry and pot back in his cheek for later use.

Susan Higgins

Thanks, Marie, they’re very versatile, aren’t they!

Curt Singer

I use coffee filters in bottom of flower pots!!! That way I don’t lose lot dirt, end of season just dump dirt out n bottom comes out clean!!!


I use them to cover foods in the microwave to prevent splatter.

Susan Higgins

Great idea, Angie, thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth Rector

I use them in my son’s “potty” that way #2 clean ups are quick and easy.


We use them in place of serving snack bowls. Each one is the right amount of a serving and it made everyone so aware of what we were really eating in a sitting for snacks. It cuts WAY down on dishes to was also. I love all those other ideas too. TYSM!


I use a coffee filter in the bathroom to place my face powder in. It real catches the loose dust.


I’ve used them for packing. Placing one between each dish, cup and etc.

Felicia R

We use them instead of paper towels for resting/draining bacon or other fried goodies like potatoes.
So many great ideas you’ve shared here! Thanks!!


Make a sachet of tea leaves or raw ginger, boil, allow to cool for delicious drinks.
I especially like drinking ginger tea with a tad of organic raw honey.

Judi Branno

I use them when I run vinegar water thru the coffee makers to clean it, they catch all the calcium and gunk in the basket! I also use them in my jewelry cleaning machine for the same reason!

Diana Noll

Growing up my Aunt and Uncle never had toilet paper in the house so we always had to use coffee filters.

Alice Holeman

We have 4 cats who eat dry food. I use coffee filters to line their bowls. After a few feedings the filter is changed out for a fresh clean bowl with no cleanup required.


I use them to cover my soup mug when I stick it in the microwave?

Jo Lee

I use the unbleached filters to strain my calendula, comfrey and plantain oils that I have infused in EVOO

Rich Rinchich

Put one in the bottom of flower pot instead of stone to filter for drainage. No stone equals more root growth area for vegetable plants started indoor from seed.

Jay Stemple

We use them as cheaper alternatives to paper towels.
If the kids want a snack of, say, crackers, or grapes, there is no sense in dirtying up a perfectly good (and expensive) paper towel for one use that isn’t all that messy.

Sheila Gavron

Used them in many ways as mentioned, also keep a pack in the car for clean ups, kids messes, checkling oil, windows,etc.

Lisa Steele

I love the dryer sheet idea! Thanks for writing this article!

Michelle Cuccaglione

Use to cover your drink, outdoor party, stick a straw through the filter keeps the bugs out

Laura T

When our son was young I would send a package of these along with him to elementary school when it was his turn to take a class snack. These worked great for the teacher & students with the big bin of cheese balls. Snack done. Toss em out

Vickie Jordan-fidler

When I make hot dogs they make a great holder to eat it from and a saucer.

Martha Burrell

I use them for sandwich holders. They work really great for kids. They can hold on to the sandwich better, fillings don’t fall out as bad, etc. You can cut them in half and make two holders out of one filter for kids 1/2 sandwiches. Also great for hot dogs and hamburgers when you are cooking out. Much studier than a napkin.

Mama Brigs

Use to cover foods that may splatter while in microwave


I use them when I need a stabilizer while sewing. Very easy to remove afterward.


Perfect for toddlers instead of bowls. Just put their snacks such as pretzels, goldfish, etc., in them. No worry of it breaking, easy clean up & perfect for a car!

Michelle K

Grease the bottom of a pan. Also good to draw on or write notes.


Works as toilet paper in a pinch


I use them to make coffee. They work great for that!

Rick Peterson

I use them to line my beer can cooler. When you have a wet cold can in your cooler. Its almost impossible to slide your can out. With a coffee filter. They slide right out.

dot sikorski

Used with a water spray bottle they work great for baby wipes.


we use them to put dip in when having crab boil or crawfish boil

Joyce Metzger

Have used coffee filters in the bottom of my planting pots. Also to strain used cooking oil after frying fish. These are excellent to make small tea bags from your special blends of loose tea.

Laura Hawkins

I use them to make yogurt cheese. Line a strainer with a coffee filter and put over a bowl. Fill the coffee filter with plain yogurt, cover loosely and put in the fridge overnight, the whey will drain out leaving a product like sour cream. Use like this or add garlic, herbs etc. Great on baked potatoes!


for individual popcorn hlders-absorb the butter well and hold perfect amount of hot popcorn


I use them to clean grease on cast iron pans and to season them because they don’t leave lint like paper towels do and then use them for fire starters.

Laura Trimble

I save my coffee filters, after making coffee, and place them around my plants. It works great in my outside planters and gardens as a weed barrier and as a deterrent for those curious digging chipmunks and ground squirrels.

phyllis carr

straining milk .after milking

phyllis carr

use to strain milk after milking


perfect for draining bacon grease, strains the bits that turns rancid, makes clean grease, stores in fridge…


I use them as snack holders for popcorn, potato chips, pretzels etc. they absorb the oils. No more greasy hands!

Sharri Lee

Place over drain holes in fire pit, keeps sand and ashes inside.

Becky Holm

When making tea with loose leaf herbs, Put the herbs in the middle of the filter and using the “butcher wrap” wrap up, fold in half and staple. Then put in your cup, add water and put in the microwave (it’s ok, there’s water around it so the metal doesn’t matter). I microwave for 3 minutes and let sit for 2(ish). Works great!


They are great to use when making ricotta cheese.

Treasa Smith

Put a small hole in the center slide on popcycle stick no more drips

ed cook

they make good face cradles for my massage clients. I put lavender drops on the filter and cut a hole for the face to fit through. My clients can breath better that way.

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