13 Clever Alternative Ways to Use Coffee Filters

Think a coffee filter is only good for brewing your morning cup of joe? Think again! Disposable paper coffee filters are great multitaskers around the house, used for everything from cleaning and polishing to storage and craft projects. Plus coffee filters are inexpensive and readily available. Here are just a few reasons to stock up on these handy helpers.

By Donna Boyle Schwartz | Updated Jan 18, 2016 06:16 PM

Strain Without Pain

Coffee Filter Strainer

Coffee filters make great strainers. Use one over a bowl to catch the seeds when squeezing lemons, limes, or oranges. Similarly, you can strain out bits of broken cork from a bottle of wine by placing a coffee filter over the top of the wine bottle and securing it with a rubber band. Similarly, consider using coffee filters as a substitute for cheesecloth when straining stocks or broths.

Related: 9 Time-Savers You Need for a Hassle-Free Holiday Season


Anti-Moisture Measure

Coffee Filters for Rust

Place a layer of coffee filters in the bottom of a cast-iron pan to absorb excess moisture and prevent rust. Similarly, the super-absorbent paper cones can be used in the workshop to help sort stray screws, nails, nuts, and bolts. You can keep these small parts organized and rust-free by wrapping them in the filters and storing in a box or plastic container.

Related: Small Miracles—9 Amazing Home Repair Products


Stack Safely

DIY Kitchen Storage

Who knew that coffee filters could safeguard your heirlooms? Place coffee filters in between stacked china plates and bowls to add a protective layer and to avoid scratches or nicks. You also can use crumpled coffee filters as a packing material when boxing up dishes for storage or shipment.

Related: 11 Big Ideas for a Small Dining Room


Enjoy Sweet Treats

Coffee Filters for Popsicles

Love popsicles and ice cream cones, but hate the drippy mess? Poke a hole in a coffee filter and push the popsicle stick through it. This way you can enjoy a frozen treat without worrying about any dribbles.

Related: 13 Lazy Cleaning Tricks for a Spotless Home


The (Shoe) Shining

How to Shine Shoes

Use coffee filters as a disposable applicator to shine leather shoes, pocketbooks, or even furniture. Simply dab a bit of the correct color of polish on the filter, and polish with a circular motion until all of the material is absorbed.You also can ward off unpleasant foot odor by placing a few tablespoons of baking soda in the center of a filter, tying with a string or rubber band, and leaving the sachet in your shoes overnight. 

Related: 7 Super Simple Ways to Make Your House Smell Fresh


Caffeine Rush

Homemade Tea Bags

Even tea drinkers can make good use of coffee filters as DIY tea bags. Put loose leaf tea, herbs, or dried fruit into a coffee filter, fold and staple it closed, then steep in hot water. Or, place the wrapped items in a large jar, cover, and let it sit in the sun for a few hours to brew homemade sun tea.

Related: Power Up Your Cleaning Routine with... Caffeine?

instructables.com via audreyobscura

Add Some Bam!

Seasoning Bag

Create your own powerful punch of flavor for soups, stews or sauces by using a coffee filter to construct a “bouquet garni” of aromatic herbs. Combine whatever spices you like in a coffee filter, secure with some baker’s twine, and let the mixture simmer along with the dish. When it comes time to serve, simply throw the whole thing away—no fuss, no muss.

Related: 14 Instant Fixed for a Total Pantry Makeover


Perfect Press

How to Press Flowers

Use coffee filters to preserve and press special flowers or lovely leaves. Place the cut foliage in between two layers of filters and put inside the pages of a dictionary or similarly weighty tome for a week or until completely dry. The filters will absorb the moisture from the flowers, leaving you with a perfectly pressed memento.

Related: 10 Things to Do Now for a Better Garden Next Year

Flickr via brenandjess

Planting Pal

Coffee Filter for Potted Plants

Most plant pots have a drainage hole or two in the bottom to prevent root rot—but this also lets soil escape, often making a mess of your patio or windowsill. Place a coffee filter or two in the bottom of the pot to keep the soil in, and still let the water out. You also can use a coffee filter in the bottom of your kitchen compost pail to prevent a gooey mess. When you’re ready to dump the pot, the filter can go right into the compost pile with the rest of the kitchen scraps.

Related: 10 Forgiving Houseplants You Can Grow Anywhere


Streak-Free Shine

Coffee Filter Glass Cleaner

Coffee filters are constructed of lint-free paper, which makes them a great cleaning cloth for windows, mirrors, eyeglasses, and car windows. Simply use them in place of paper towels and you'll leave behind nothing but the shine.

Related: 9 Brilliant Cleaning Hacks Everyone Should Know


Mess Manager

Kitchen Cleaning Tips

Coffee filters attract grease and oil, so they are great for preventing grimy kitchen messes. Use coffee filters on a plate or baking sheet to soak up oil from fried foods. Similarly, cover food in the microwave with a coffee filter to prevent splattering. 

Related: 10 Unusual Tips for Your Cleanest Kitchen Ever

instructables.com via Celine1107


Cooking Hacks

Corn on the cob is tasty—but not if you wind up with a mouthful of silk. Use a clean coffee filter to de-silk the ear of corn before cooking. First dampen the filter and then wipe the shucked ear of corn in one long stroke from top to bottom.

Related: Holiday Hotlines to Have on Speed Dial


It's All Greek

Homemade Greek Yogurt

Make your own Greek-style yogurt by lining a colander with a coffee filter, placing the colander over a bowl and filling it with regular yogurt. Let stand in the fridge overnight, and in the morning, all the excess liquid will have drained into the bowl. 

Related: Your Guide to Solving 8 Notorious Holiday Stains


Don't Miss!


Get the help you need for the home you want—sign up for the Bob Vila newslettertoday!