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15 Clever Uses for Coffee Filters

There are a lot of uses for coffee filters around the house. Some of these uses are for new filters (buy them as cheap as you can) and others are for used coffee filters.

Coffee beans and coffee filters on table
The beauty with coffee filters is they can generally be reused more times than, say, a paper towel and they leave no lint at all. I try not to use paper when cloth will do, but there are some jobs where a cloth just won’t work.

Also, in office environments, companies rarely trust individuals to follow kitchen procedures, so rather than risk someone, say, blowing their nose into a dishrag and leaving it there (true story, y’all; some people, I really just don’t get), they provide all disposable stuff.

Related: How to Make a Homemade Mocha

So while you should always use non-disposable cloths when it makes sense, coffee filters can be a better disposable solution than others, when disposable is called for.

For all of the uses I list below, you can re-use coffee filters at least a few times – sometimes many times over. With many of these tasks, you can re-use a coffee filter you’ve actually used to make coffee.

For most of these uses, it doesn’t matter what shape coffee filter you use. There are a few where the basket-shaped filters are needed.

You may also want to check out some ways to use used coffee grounds for skin and hair.

Alternate uses (and re-uses) for coffee filters

Coffee filters on table

1. Microwaving

I put them over food when I’m heating stuff in the microwave. For me it comes out to be cheaper than napkins or paper towels, but do your own math – it all depends what’s available in your area. Just rinse and re-use them for the same purpose again.

2. Line cosmetic bags

Every once in a while, you can remove all the cosmetics, wad up the coffee filter with all the dirt and debris in it, use the flip side of it to wipe out the plastic bag, rinse it out and reuse it.

Coffee filters let go of dirt and debris better than paper towels, so you can reuse the same coffee filter as a liner quite a few times.

3. Line planters with them

Coffee filters keep the soil inside the pots while letting the water drain out like it’s supposed to.

4. Line candy dishes

Flatten them and line candy dishes with them. This can actually look very cute – sort of like a simple doily.

5. Storing fragile items

Put coffee filters between plates, cookware or old records – anything you want to stack without scratching.

6. Makeshift snack bowls

When you don’t have bowls or cups available (on the road or in an office), coffee filters may be your most eco-friendly choice for setting out candy or snacks. Unlike disposable paper cups, the coffee filters can always be rinsed thoroughly and used again.

7. Cleaning glass

They’re great for cleaning glass because they leave no lint behind. This includes TVs and monitors. Keep them handy so you can clean car windows from the inside as needed.

8. Make a sachet

Put some potpourri in a coffee filter, fit the edges with a ribbon, and you’ve got a sachet.

9. Greasy picnic/BBQ foods

Serve greasy, messy food items in coffee filters to keep the grease contained and hands a little bit cleaner.

10. Catch cork debris

If your wine cork breaks off in your wine, wrap a coffee filter over the neck of the bottle and tie it with ribbon. Now you can pour through the coffee filter, and it will catch any debris from the cork.

11. Strain frying oil or bacon drippings

The coffee filter will catch the crud and let the good stuff go through.

12. Muzz photography

Put a coffee filter over a flash to soften the light or over the lens to muzz the whole photograph.

13. Use (and re-use) them as mixing bowls

Put your pre-measured dry ingredients into coffee filters, which are really easy to pour from.

14. Make dryer sheets out of them

Put a couple of drops of fabric softener on the coffee filter, rub it around to spread the softener, and use it as a dryer sheet. If you use eco-friendly filters (and re-use them as many times as you possibly can, which is quite a few), this method is cheaper than any eco-friendly dryer sheets – and just as eco-friendly.

Related: Check out over 20 uses for used dryer sheets

15. Remove nail polish

Coffee filters are perfect for removing nail polish. You can use them many more times than a cotton ball or pad.