66 Creative Uses For Coffee Filters…Even If You Don’t Drink Coffee!

coffee filters

Saturday was flower-planting day at my house! I wanted to have all my flower beds and pots planted before my daughter’s graduation party on Sunday and it turned out to be the perfect weather for working in the garden! As I was putting potting soil into my flower pots I was dismayed over the fact that a good amount of dirt was falling through the holes in the bottom. I remembered reading something about using coffee filters to line the bottom of your pots to avoid this problem. I just happened to have a package of like a THOUSAND coffee filters that I had picked up recently to make THESE paper peonies! (Aren’t they pretty??!) I think the whole package cost me like a dollar!

Problem solved! I just love a simple idea that works! So I decided to see if there were MORE creative uses for this large number of coffee filters that I had on hand. Boy oh boy! I don’t know where I’VE been…but I couldn’t believe all the creative uses I came across! However, the more I searched, the more I seemed to come up with the same tired list of 25 creative uses for coffee filters. Not that the ideas weren’t good, but I was looking for ideas that weren’t so readily available. Some “off the beaten path” stuff, if you will.

So here is my list of (curated from across the world wide web) 66 creative uses for coffee filters…some more common than others…..that have nothing to do with drinking coffee.

coffee filters

  • Put a filter on the bottom of your flower pot containers, over the drainage holes. This keeps the soil from leaving the container while still allowing water to run through it.
  • Soak filters in brewed tea or even just plain water and chill. Fold them and use as cold compress for puffy eyes.
  • Accordion fold a few coffee filters, cut into strips, and use as shipping material for fragile items. The unbleached kind make for fun shredding material for hamsters.
  • A coffee filter is perfect for spreading oil or butter on a cooking pan since a coffee filter’s fibers won’t break off in your oils like a napkin’s would.
coffee filters

Antonis Achilleos

  • Shield stacked china from scratches and nicks by layering a filter between each delicate piece.
  • Use a coffee filter to prevent splatter when heating something in the microwave, simply place over the top of your food and carry on like normal.
  • Poke a hole in a filter and insert the stick of your popsicle. You now have a DIY popsicle drip collector!
  • Put the end of an ice cream cone in the center of a filter and wrap the filter around it for a drip-free ice cream cone wrapper.
  • Use a coffee filter as a makeshift rag. Unlike paper towels, coffee filters are lint free and take up very little space.
  • Put under bacon, fries, fried chicken etc. to soak up excess grease.
  • Use to line bamboo steamers.

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  • Cut up a stack of filters, place them in a small tin and you’ve got a set of face blotters perfect for your purse and last-minute shine control.
  • Make skirts for Barbies.
  • Good-quality coffee filters are made from 100 percent virgin paper, so you can use them to clean your glasses without leaving lint.
  • You can also use them safely to clean computer monitors, television screens, and windows. They clean without leaving residue.
  • Line the bottom of cookie tins.

coffee filters

  • Strain bacon drippings by pouring them through a coffee filter into a ceramic bowl or mug. The brown bits, grains, etc will stay in the filter. Also works well for recycling frying oil.
  • This is one of my favorites! Dampen a coffee filter with some white vinegar and a few drops of my favorite essential oil (I like to use Lavender). Your clothes will come out smelling fresh and the coffee filter reduces static.
  • Kids food holders for Tacos, Hot Dogs, Pita Sandwiches, etc.

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  • A disposable “snack bowl” for popcorn, chips, etc.
  • Make homemade tea bags by filling coffee filters with a selection of loose tea leaves and dried fruit peels. Tie together with string and use just like normal tea bags.
  • Wrap jumbo dill pickles in coffee filters to prevent dripping when eating.

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  • Use as a sandwich wrap (inside the baggy or plastic container) so your sandwich doesn’t get soggy in your lunchbox.
  • If you use cloth diapers you can line your diaper with a couple of these and toss the solids rather than not having anywhere to rinse them.
  • Changing diapers was bad enough, but toilet training kids on a potty is equally messy. Line the potty with a coffee filter so you can just lift out the number two and deposit in the toilet.
  • A coffee filter can hold small parts when working on vehicles, cleaning guns, or most any other project!
  • Put flavorings (bay leaves, woody herb stems, etc.) in a coffee filter, tie with string, and stick in soup while cooking for quick and easy removal later.

coffee filters

  • Coffee filters are fantastic for polishing leather shoes. Simply apply a dab of your favorite shoe polish and use the filter as an applicator.
  • You can also use a coffee filter to help ward off unwanted odors from your shoe by applying a little bit of baking soda and wrapping it up in the filter to create a little sachet, simply insert into your shoes after a long day and wake up to them smelling fresh and odor free.
  • A coffee filter will work well to desilk an ear of corn. Dampen a filter and wipe it in one stroke from the top to the bottom of the shucked ear of corn.
  • Use as a mini cutting board for chopping (not slicing) one tomato, onion, etc.

coffee filters

  • After you are done washing your cast-iron cookware, place a coffee filter in the bottom of the pan and it will absorb moisture and prevent rust.
  • Put a couple of coffee filters in your pocket when you are working outdoors or going on a hike. They work great to wipe sweat, dirt and oils off your face.
  • Use filters to bake jumbo muffins or mini cakes in the oven. Fill the filter 1/3 full with batter and place in a shallow circular pan to bake.
  • Wrap cut celery stalks in a coffee filter before putting them in a plastic bag to store in the refrigerator. The coffee filter will help absorb any moisture, and keeps the celery crisp longer.

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  • Kids Place Setting…turn plain coffee filters into adorable painted place settings at your next get together.
  • If you have a small cut or even a razor nick, grab a piece off of a coffee filter and put it on with pressure to stop the bleeding. Your coffee filter will work similar to a styptic pencil but without the stinging.
  • DIY Action Figure Parachute
  • Place a few tablespoons of baking powder in a filter and twist the top together with a rubber band. Place in shoes, gym bag, closet, refrigerator, or anywhere else that may have developed some less-than-pleasant odors.
  • To sprout seeds, dampen a coffee filter, place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a zip-lock plastic bag.

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  • Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.
  • Use to hold your turtles while cleaning the tank!
  • Keep in your car glove box for window cleaning, to use as napkins and for quick cleanups.
  • Since you have a package in the glove box anyway…..the next time you need to check the oil level in the car, use a filter to wipe the dipstick.
  • Use as a portable doggy food bowl.

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  • Use coffee filters in the bottom of the kitchen compost pot. It keeps messiness from sticking to the bottom of the pot, and goes right into the compost pile outside along with the pot of compost when emptied.
  • Can’t find corn husks? Use coffee filters as a replacement in Mexican tamales. Add filling and steam as usual.
  • If you have to strain your urine to capture a kidney stone so you can take it to your doctor for analysis, you can strain it through a white coffee filter. It is easy to see the sediment against the white background.
  • Make hats for dolls

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  • Line a colander or strainer with a coffee filter, place the strainer in a bowl, fill with regular yogurt, and let sit in the fridge overnight. Fresh Greek yogurt for breakfast!
  • Use a coffee filter to spot clean your clothing. Use white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide and the spot will be greatly reduced if not disappear completely.
  • Separate tortillas for freezing.
  • To prevent holes in your clothes when wearing a pin, try putting a piece of coffee filter inside your clothing as a “stabilizer”. It makes the cloth sturdier and the pin is less likely to snag.
  • Use a filter as an easy-to-tear backing for embroidering or appliquéing soft fabrics.

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  • Add some fragrant flowers to the middle of a coffee filter and tie with a pretty ribbon to make a DIY sachet to scent your delicates.
  • Make a flavor packet to add to your sun tea. Take a filter and center the contents in the middle. Gather the edges, twist and tie with string. Drop into your jar along with tea bags and let it brew as usual.
  • Get spills out of carpets, before they stain. While the spill is still wet, cover it with a coffee filter. They will wick up the spill.
  • For perfectly heated tortillas, spritz a coffee filter with water and lay a tortilla on top of it. Spritz a second coffee filter and put it on top. Heat the stack in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, and your tortilla will be warm and still pliable. You can use the same ones over and over.
  • Filter wine when you break the cork
  • Wrap Christmas ornaments for storage

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  • Coffee filters make great blotting paper for pressed flowers. Simply place the flower between two filters and put them inside of a phone book or any other object with weight.
  • Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls.
  • Diffuse the flash on a camera.
  • Great in the tool room when separating nails and screws then use in to bottom of containers to remove moisture and prevent rust.
  • Use as a “pre-filter” for your water purification system to help extend the life of you water filter.
  • Put a filter in the bottom of a metal fruit bowl to prevent brown spots on your fruits or vegetables.
  • Use to dry wine glasses and prevent water marks.

Just to name a few……………………… :-)

Keep in mind that for some of these uses, the filter can be re-used again and again! Coffee filters are more durable than most people think and (as I hope I’ve demonstrated today) can be used in a mind-boggling number of ways!


How do YOU re-purpose coffee filters?

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  1. MARY says

    I filter my used cooking oils, and picked up a few new ideas reading the above. I also re-use my filters for coffee (even though they are cheap already) by shaking out grounds in my compost and allowing the filter to dry out.

  2. says

    Wow, so many uses for coffee filters! Three different people at work accidentally bought new coffee filters so we have an excess here…maybe I should grab a few :) I especially like the tip about using them as blotting papers! I’ve used cigarette papers before but I’m not sure how pure they are …
    I haven’t tried this though so the filter might break, but reading this article made me think it that maybe you could try taking the used coffee + filter and use it as a scrub bag in the shower. I’ve only used just the coffee grounds but they do leave a horrible mess.

  3. says

    Haven’t tried it but some of your suggestions made me think… Maybe a little girl’s purse and another thought…maybe wrap up/or tie with a string crayons for the kids and either fold up a page from a coloring book or just use the coffee filter to color on.
    If you are using plastic bottles to make diy self-watering plant starting ‘pots’, then instead of using paper towel in the neck of the bottle, you could just drop in a coffee filter and put the potting soil in the coffee filter.
    Might even try using one or two at a time as a makeshift face mask for when mowing the grass or working with or around bark dust.

  4. says

    Another idea your suggestions caused… could carry when walking a dog so that if they leave any deposits, said deposits could be easily picked up and put in a bag for disposal.

    • Rebecca Ednie says

      Dog ‘deposits’ are wet and coffee filters allow water to pass through. That wetness carries bacteria! No thanks!

      • margaret says

        if your doggie poo is to wet to just pick it up—when you are out walking the dog—-talk to the vet—with good quality food–the poop should be like little finger logs and should pick up easily—

  5. Victoria says

    I use them to clean mirrors. Just like the wine glasses in your tips, they leave a great shine with no spots.

  6. Sandi says

    Wow….these are great ideas!!!!!!!! I love these household hints…..thanks

  7. Kimberly says

    The use that is “one of your favorites” and uses lavender: isn’t complete. I am guessing this is used in a clothes dryer, but you don’t say where to use the filter to make your clothes static free and smelling fresh.

  8. Sharon H says

    love all these ideas, Jillee, except for the one about using as a stabilizer for embroidery.
    I do A LOT of machine embroidery and that hint has been around for a long time, however while you might get lucky and your results be “okay” if you tried it, coffee filters are NOT an appropriate substitute for stabilizer. For someone curious about it, they’d need to play with it to test the number of stitches, fabric, etc. It just isn’t worth ruining a project, because the stabilizer is a very important part of the process in a successful embroidery design.

    • Heidi says

      I read that hint to mean just tear a small piece of filter off and the pin would keep it in place inside the garment, not to use it as sew-in stabilizer.

    • Anne H says

      Sharon, thanks for putting that in. My embroidery machine and the thread involved cost me too much to use an untried “new” stabilizer!

    • CTY says

      Another reason not to use it when doing machine embroidery is that the tiniest pieces can break off and find their way into vital mechanical areas of the machine.

      • Dory says

        I didn’t see where it said “machine embroidery”. I believe it was meant for those people who still do embroidery by hand, not machine.

  9. Chris says

    Here in Louisville, KY there is an art teacher who uses the XXXL Commercial size coffee filters to make Derby Haets for children. The frame is a strip of poster board stapled to the size of the child’s head. The coffee filter is arranged over it and molded to desired shape. Water color paints by the children create the masterpiece. Afterward it’s a lampshade!