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10 Clever Ways To Use Coffee Filters

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10 Clever Ways To Use Coffee Filters

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. Skin care. Coffee filters absorb sweat and skin oils well and can be used 
to de-shine simply by blotting the face. Or to remove make-up, simply apply makeup remover or cold cream and use a filter to gently wipe it off.
  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!

87 comments

1 Susan Higgins { 02.06.19 at 4:30 pm }

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

2 Marie { 02.06.19 at 7:49 am }

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.

3 Curt Singer { 09.29.18 at 5:26 pm }

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!!!

4 Susan Higgins { 01.26.18 at 9:28 am }

Great idea, Angie, thanks for sharing!

5 Angie { 01.19.18 at 11:30 pm }

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

6 Elizabeth Rector { 01.19.18 at 6:37 pm }

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

7 Linda { 01.19.18 at 6:11 pm }

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!

8 Daisyhead { 01.22.17 at 8:20 pm }

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

9 Sandra { 01.21.17 at 5:00 am }

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

10 Felicia R { 01.19.17 at 12:33 pm }

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!!

11 James { 09.10.16 at 6:37 pm }

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.

12 Judi Branno { 09.10.16 at 5:04 pm }

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!

13 Diana Noll { 09.10.16 at 4:05 pm }

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

14 Alice Holeman { 04.27.16 at 8:04 am }

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.

15 Corky { 04.16.16 at 7:16 pm }

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

16 Jo Lee { 04.16.16 at 12:16 am }

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

17 Rich Rinchich { 04.15.16 at 10:01 pm }

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.

18 Sheila Gavron { 09.11.16 at 4:20 am }

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

19 Jay Stemple { 04.15.16 at 11:40 am }

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.

20 Lisa Steele { 04.15.16 at 7:09 am }

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

21 Michelle Cuccaglione { 04.15.16 at 5:18 am }

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

22 Laura T { 04.14.16 at 10:29 pm }

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

23 Vickie Jordan-fidler { 01.21.16 at 10:35 am }

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

24 Martha Burrell { 01.20.16 at 5:09 pm }

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.

25 Mama Brigs { 01.20.16 at 3:14 pm }

Use to cover foods that may splatter while in microwave

26 Alexandra { 01.20.16 at 8:51 am }

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

27 Jonna { 01.20.16 at 3:34 am }

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!

28 Michelle K { 01.20.16 at 3:20 am }

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

29 jackie { 01.19.16 at 7:16 pm }

Works as toilet paper in a pinch

30 Corey { 01.19.16 at 7:09 pm }

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

31 Rick Peterson { 01.19.16 at 6:11 pm }

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.

32 dot sikorski { 01.19.16 at 6:07 pm }

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

33 jenny { 01.19.16 at 5:48 pm }

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

34 Joyce Metzger { 01.19.16 at 3:56 pm }

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.

35 Laura Hawkins { 06.26.15 at 1:39 pm }

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!

36 eileen { 06.12.15 at 3:11 pm }

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

37 VickM { 06.12.15 at 7:46 am }

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.

38 Laura Trimble { 06.12.15 at 12:10 am }

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.

39 phyllis carr { 06.10.15 at 10:40 pm }

straining milk .after milking

40 phyllis carr { 06.10.15 at 10:39 pm }

use to strain milk after milking

41 andrea { 06.10.15 at 7:50 pm }

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

42 Dawn { 06.10.15 at 5:49 pm }

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

43 Sharri Lee { 06.10.15 at 3:40 pm }

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

44 Becky Holm { 06.10.15 at 1:45 pm }

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!

45 Lynn { 06.10.15 at 12:55 pm }

They are great to use when making ricotta cheese.

46 Treasa Smith { 06.10.15 at 12:52 pm }

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

47 ed cook { 06.10.15 at 11:48 am }

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.

48 Ann Hooker { 06.10.15 at 10:38 am }

Hate to admit, but in an emergency, have used them for bathroom usage.

49 Elaine Lee { 06.10.15 at 10:29 am }

Thank you for all suggestions, interesting!……tho’ must say I can’t imagine using as toilet tissue LOL!

50 Barbara { 06.10.15 at 6:00 am }

I use them to clean my flat screen TV a lil dab of dawn in warm water and dab filter.. Cleans the screen perfectly..

51 Dhemys D. { 06.10.15 at 4:08 am }

I wear one as a hat.

52 Deena { 06.10.15 at 1:22 am }

Coffee filter art work, you can make flowers, lamps, butterflies, etc… just google, “coffee filter crafts” and you will get a ton of pretty cool options…

53 Debbie Jackson { 06.10.15 at 12:18 am }

They are great for cleaning/drying glasses, don’t leave spots or streaks. Put into stinky shoes with aromatic oils added to the filter to remove odors. Put over small bowls or top of glasses with a rubber band to keep bugs away and out of food/drink when outside. Lid for canned drink.

54 Judymae { 06.09.15 at 11:37 pm }

I tied rice up in one and put in my sugar bag so it don’t clump up. I also dampen one put in bottom of a large container and put my open bag brown sugar inside of container on top of it put the lid on and it keeps it soft and moist.

55 Dane { 06.09.15 at 11:35 pm }

I’m a cosmotalgist and I cut them up for waxing faces and other delicate areas

56 Diane Hicks { 06.09.15 at 10:51 pm }

We call them disposa”bowls” . Great for chips, popcorn, cookies, any dry snack!

57 Lillie { 06.09.15 at 10:23 pm }

Rinse them, let them dry & put them in an empty kleenex box. Good for emergency toilet paper.

58 Kacky { 06.09.15 at 8:11 pm }

Oops, I just noticed someone already posted about the compost. Great ideas everyone! I will be using many of your tips!

59 Kacky { 06.09.15 at 8:09 pm }

I use one in the bottom of my food scraps crock so it dumps out cleanly into the compost bin.

60 Susan { 06.09.15 at 6:04 pm }

I use coffee filters to cover small bowls or cups when heating anything inclined to splatter. They’re also great to pinch around a small bowl to set on the counter and steam.

61 Dianne Calderwood { 06.09.15 at 5:40 pm }

Coffee filters can be used in small embroidery hoops as stabilizer.

62 Kim { 06.09.15 at 5:39 pm }

When I bring cookies to work, I put them individually in the smaller filters to keep hands off!

63 Betty Martin { 06.09.15 at 5:28 pm }

I place scented ones in suitcases they are always fresh this way

64 Margaret Annis { 06.09.15 at 4:40 pm }

I take 2 filters and sew together. Leaving an opening for 4-6 Scoops of coffee depending on size of pot. Sew up opening. Store in zip lock baggie. These store flat. Great to take camping. Add packet and water. Bring to a boil. Let sit. Enjoy. Can add more water if too strong

65 Bunny Blair { 06.09.15 at 4:33 pm }

I use them to clean jewelry and put them with alittle cooking spray between burgers and frozen foods when storing to keep them from sticking. They also work well to take the condensation from the top of rice when cooking. Just pop a couple on top of the rice after it has finished and you have perfect rice!

66 joy { 06.09.15 at 3:51 pm }

fold over and over and cut out with scissors to make snowflakes. Kids can mix glitter with different colors of food color and splatter on the snowflakes with a small paint brush…. when dry, hang from ceiling …lovely(and easy) Christmas or winter time decoration

67 Mary { 06.09.15 at 3:44 pm }

I put one in the bottom of my compost pan and it gets dumped into the compost pile. Helps to keep the pan cleaned and rots with the compost.

68 ignatz { 06.09.15 at 3:37 pm }

When you run out of toilet paper.

And vice versa, you can use toilet paper in the coffee maker.

They’re also good bowls for popcorn or chips.

69 S. Kane { 06.09.15 at 3:18 pm }

Great to clean eyeglasses—-

70 S. Kane { 06.09.15 at 3:17 pm }

Great to clean reading glasses. Any eye ware.—-

71 Lisa { 06.09.15 at 2:43 pm }

I use them with a tad bit of hand sanitizer to clean dvds and cds. Filters leave no residue on the discs.

72 Kate Latour { 06.09.15 at 2:15 pm }

I use coffee filters in the bottom of plant pots to prevent soil from leaching out of the holes.

73 Mimi { 06.09.15 at 2:05 pm }

In a pinch…works as toilet paper!

74 Theresa Burgess { 06.09.15 at 1:55 pm }

Cut them up, pour rice inside and tie shut to add to “food saver: foods to remove moisture.

75 AnnaAlicia { 06.09.15 at 1:38 pm }

I use them at work as disposable bowls for holding dry snacks like popcorn or Chef Mix.

76 LaVern { 06.09.15 at 1:31 pm }

With the exception of #2 & #6, I believe that paper towels do the job just as well, and I believe are more economical. (I’ll have to check that out to be sure) I can’t say about #1, as I don’t use dryer sheets.
I use only plain white paper towels so that dyes are not an issue.

77 Beth { 06.09.15 at 1:29 pm }

Fire starter, dampen with any food oil, used or other wise, placed at the bottom sticking out of pile of twigs or several within stack of briquettes and just light. No need for petroleum lighter fluid.

78 Sue { 06.09.15 at 1:27 pm }

Instead of expensive parchment paper for my round baking pans I use coffee filters. Just cut to fit.

79 Michelle { 06.09.15 at 1:12 pm }

I use them in the bottom of a collander to strain the grease from meats, fries and other greasy foods

80 Victoria Thomas { 06.09.15 at 1:12 pm }

I use them to drain bacon on – they are handy, absorbent, no dyes and work perfectly.

81 aisha moohan { 06.09.15 at 1:01 pm }

Great for wardrobe or scented drawers.. Just put a little perfumed oil and keep at the back of the wardrobe or in corner of a drawer (you’re smalls will smell fresh) alternatively put a little pot pouri & tie a little ribbon hang at top of curtain rail as a room freshener (curtain rail at an open window with air blows the fragrance into the room)..

82 Michelle { 06.09.15 at 12:45 pm }

Fold in half and use as a spoon rest while cooking.

83 John Strange { 06.09.15 at 12:32 pm }

Serving holders for chips/popcorn/pretzels/etc.

84 Cinnamon { 06.09.15 at 12:25 pm }

They make good disposable covers when heating food in the microwave.

85 Iris { 06.09.15 at 12:19 pm }

Ahem,cough,toilet paper,cough….

86 Alan Jamison { 06.09.15 at 12:11 pm }

I use the 4-cup filters in the bottom of my 3 and 4 inch pots when I am transplanting seedlings from my starting tray to pots.

87 Frances Markham { 06.09.15 at 12:10 pm }

Coffee filters are great to use in the bottom of planting containers over drainage holes .

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