Monday, May 6, 2013

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.

 

coffee filters 4

  • 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.

 

coffee filters 7

  • 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.

 

coffee filters 8

  • 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.

 

coffee filters 11

  • 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.

 

coffee filters 12

  • 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.

 

coffee filters 13

  • 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

 

coffee filters 16

  • 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.

 

coffee filters 14

  • 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

 

coffee filters 15

  • 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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65 thoughts on “66 Creative Uses For Coffee Filters…Even If You Don’t Drink Coffee!

  1. MARY

    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.

    Reply
  2. Hilda

    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.

    Reply
  3. Sharon

    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.

    Reply
  4. Sharon

    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.

    Reply
      1. margaret

        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—

        Reply
  5. Kimberly

    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.

    Reply
  6. Sharon H

    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.

    Reply
    1. Heidi

      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.

      Reply
    2. Anne H

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

      Reply
    3. CTY

      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.

      Reply
  7. Chris

    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!

    Reply
  8. Tracy

    We put coffee filters with the used coffee grounds still in them in our fireplace to get rid of the stale smoke smell after we’ve had a fire.

    Reply
  9. Reagan

    Have your kids draw dots, lines etc… with markers on the coffee filter then sprinkle water on them. When they’re dry form into a flower and use pipe cleaners as stems. We made a bouquet for a friend who could not have plants in her hospital room to brighten her day!

    Reply
  10. Sharon R

    I love idea for the kids to hold a pickle! The paper towel would stick.
    I’ve been on a roll lately with coffee filter flowers and alcohol inks. The filter industry owes many thanks to blogs like yours for their boost in sales! lol! TY for all the tips!

    Reply
  11. Stacy

    FABULOUS IDEAS!!!!!!!!!

    Butterfly Craft
    1. Have children decorate the paper using markers or paint.
    2. Fold accordian style.
    3. Pinch together in the center.
    4. Clip with clothesline pin and fan out coffee filter to look like wings.
    5. Paint clothesline pin like the body of the butterfly.
    6. Glue pipe cleaners onto the pin as antennae.

    Reply
      1. Jill Stevens

        Just a FYI, but since we are preppers I was wondering if I should think out of the box and maybe keep packages of coffee filters of future toilet paper that wouldn’t take up much room. I wss just wondering about your thoughts on that ?

        Reply
  12. Amy H.

    Love the tip about using them as disposable liners for cloth diapers! I shell out a pretty decent chunk of change for rolls of flushable liners to have for travel and for if I ever need to use rash creams on my boys- and since we switched to a Keurig (loove!) I, too, have what seems to be an infinite amount of coffee filters laying around! :)

    Reply
  13. chris

    Im thinking that if these are made of paper, then they are probably not flushable, right? Some of these tips maybe lead you to believe you can flush them, I would be careful with that one, but I love all the other great tips. I’m so glad I stumbled across this site, Bless you Jillee!

    Reply
    1. Sherry

      I had the same thought. Neighbors of ours had to replace their sewer line because of flushed baby wipes. I’m thinking that coffee filters may cause a problem, as well. If the “product” is firm, just flush it and put the filter in a baggie in the trash. I save baggies that are still useful (but not to store food) for messy things that may start to stink before trash day.

      Reply
  14. Debbi

    I put a few in my purse when going to the movies and use them as snack bowls when sharing popcorn. That way everybody can reach.

    Reply
  15. Melissa H

    My kids and I use them around the holidays to make snowflakes for the windows! Because they are already round, they make a really nice shape for snowflakes with cuts only necessary for the designs.

    Reply
  16. CTY

    Oh what fun!
    They make easy paper snowflakes too–especially if you are snowflake cutting impaired like me.
    They are also good for lining those hot dog or fry baskets at backyard BBQs (less waste & cheaper than paper plates).
    Mini DIY patriotic bunting: make a center dot & color red, color rim blue, fold in half & glue over yarn. Make the bunting even faster by outlining with the colors and spritzing gently with water for a tie dye effect.
    Fishin’ for Nemo: color filter with horizontal orange stripes, fill with goodies, twist tie end (shape like a fish and fan the tail), draw fins, eyes, etc. Place a paper clip to magnetize and use a magnet on the end of a fishing pole.
    Finally–What started out as a test to see if Jillee’s powdered laundry detergent would dissolve in a cold water wash, led to DIY laundry pods. I place a 1 TB ( 2 TB of Jillee’s Purex Crystal recipe) of detergent in the center of a filter, gather it up & tie tightly. I gave them to my college son. They don’t break apart in the wash and if they run through the dryer it is ok too. His lack of measuring and store bought detergent was making him broke. He no longer has to eat Ramen Noodles 7xwk.
    BTW Jillee’s powdered detergent dissolved completely in cold water.

    Reply
    1. Susan

      That’s a great idea. I plan to go visit my mom and sister this summer and want to make a big batch for them and I can make the ‘pods’ while watching a movie with them.

      Reply
  17. Alyssa

    These are some great ideas! I’ve always suspected there are a bunch of uses for them, but I always pass on the giant packs of coffee filters at the dollar store because I couldn’t think of any. Next time I’m there, I’ll snag a pack and try some of these out!

    Reply
  18. Recca (like Costa Rica)

    Hi Jilee,

    Thank you so much for your phenomenal AND money-saving ideas!

    I stumbled across your site when looking for things that can do “double-duty” in our emergency kits, i.e., all of your health/cleansing peroxide, witch-hazel and essential oil mixtures (some of which we put to use last weekend when we went camping…THANKS!).

    Needless to say, they’ve carried over into my home. Just this weekend we made the “Shout,” softener crystals, and have some lemon rinds soaking in vinegar for various DIY vinegar cleaning solutions.

    Returning to our emergency kit…At work I found that the filters served as great “towels” when washing my lunch dishes (I could not bring myself to use that sponge). I surprisingly found that they held up well and never tore. Not being coffee drinkers, I had no idea how durable they were! As such, I figured they’d make great disposable “towels” in our emergency kits. I tested the theory first by seeing if I could use it as a wash cloth when showering, and it worked! With their light weight and double-duty use as a towel, I added them to our kits.

    Thanks to this post of yours, I’m glad to know I was on the right track and now have many more uses for them in our kit and home…

    Thanks Jillee!

    Reply
  19. Janet

    Thanks so much as always for all the great tips. I intend to use the pin back to protect clothing. I’ve been trying to think of something to use as I wear a lot of pins. Thanks again!

    Reply
  20. Cynthia Rindone

    They make great snowflakes for Christmas . I decorated an area above the check stands in the grocery store where I work. Iron flat fold and cut and then suspend them with fishing line from the ceiling or a tree (outside) and they will flutter in the breeze.

    Reply
  21. Amie

    Great ideas! I have 2 full packs of filters that have been just sitting in a drawer, waiting for me to get inspired. I bought the wrong size, then after I got the correct size, I received a Keurig. Now I am inspired to use the filters.

    Reply
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  23. Joann

    I spent two full months making coffee filter roses(Martha Stewart’s)and peonies and roses from other sites, for my daughter’s wedding. She was married in our back yard and we had twelve large round tables that seat 10 to 12 people. Each table had a centerpiece of paper flowers in mason jars. I used babies breath and greenery for filler. the guest only realized they weren’t real when they smelled them. I even made the bridal bouquet. The only down side was that everyone took the flowers home and I had none left. I had promised a couple of dozen to a friend of mine, so I had to start making flowers all over again. Check out the paper flower sites on Pinterest and Martha Stewart.

    Reply
    1. Becky

      I’ve made the beautiful flowers from coffee filters, too, and have thought about using them to supplement flower arrangements in my daughter’s upcoming wedding as well. I applaud your tenacity, they take some time, but the result is very realistic. Sounds like your guests appreciated their beauty as well!!.

      Reply
  24. Shama D

    In the fall I used them to make the cutest Thanksgiving turkeys with my nephews. Press the filter out and color the edges with water-based markers. When the boys finished coloring, I barely got them damp under the faucet because the water runs through it like crazy. This causes the colors to blend. Once it dries then they can glue one the turkey body they’ve cut out and decorated! It was a lot of fun!!
    Here are links to the pictures of their turkeys.
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4999340583959&set=a.2993190231454.152735.1313119647&type=3&theater

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4999341463981&set=a.2993190231454.152735.1313119647&type=3&theater

    Reply
  25. lisacb12

    I’m all for saving money, however there is something called the “time value of money”. I can’t imagine ever having the time to shred these for an animal cage that would then be cleaned out on a regular basis and need more. Most rodent cages are not just a couple of inches wide. Also, shredding or cutting for shipping. Who has the time? In most cases, your already read newspaper is appropriate for balling up and cushioning items to be shipped. That method is also recycling. It would take lots of time to use filters for these suggestions, and I wager they would use so many filters that it would not be nearly as cheap as it looks.

    Reply
  26. ex army girl

    I don’t recommend using the coffee filters to clean glasses or sunglasses as they are a paper product, therefore by nature, made from wood. Wood scratches plastic lenses. In a pinch to clean your lenses? Use the inside of your cotton shirt {it’s against your skin so it doesn’t pick up environmental contaminates to scratch your lenses}. Also, remember to at the least, breath on your lenses before rubbing the cloth over them. Better yet, run water over them–it rinses the particles that might be there off, which makes it less likely that you are further scratching them.

    Reply
  27. Pingback: Dozens of Uses for Coffee Filters

  28. Deb

    I like the ideas but am quite curious about the one lining cloth diapers. Why wouldn’t you line the disposable ones as well? Don’t tell me you are putting crap in the landfills with the disposable diapers but not with cloth. Something seems not right.

    Reply
  29. Pingback: 66 Creative Uses For Coffee Filters - Plant Care Today

  30. patricia wylie

    your intuision about uses for coffee filters is right on the dot ,im proud to say ive used them for years.there great for paper mulch just tear up a pack of 50 add flour white glue a mix of water ,just enough to mold into earrings let dry an paint with acrilic paint press in earring ballasts an you have dozens of earrings ,you cam mash with a fork for texture an press into a spoon for tear dropped shapes easier to paint spray with clear acrylic spray for high gloss or matte /its non toxic an waterproof. build up a inventory an display them on a tree branch in a coffee can filled with plasterparis you can take coffee filters an put a wash of glue on with a paint brush an decorate the coffee can. it makes a quick easy medium to paint on. this makes a decorative display for a gift or selling at craft fairs,thank you for acknoledging the art of coffee filters,this brings to mind the religion of cardboard called baul,many things of unreckonized mediums are soley discarded ,after their conventional use is gone,in this technological age people over look the simpler uses that may transform into purpose, and of course in this fast pace world people may have other interest.coffee filters are used for filtering coffee,an soon discarded ,but a creative mind can soon find a use for them.thanks alot jillee.

    Reply
  31. Jake A

    One commonly overlooked use for coffee filters is as a substitute for toilet paper. Sometimes, if I have guests over, I’ll replace the toilet paper roll with a stack of filters. It’s a fun, decorative alternative thats sure to impress…

    Reply
  32. Eva

    Jake, coffee filters clog toilet. If you continue to do this dasdardly thing to your guests because you think it is fun, it will backfire…and you will end up with a huge plumbing bill. Of course, you can save money by snaking the toilet yourself.

    Reply
  33. IRENE

    i use coffee filters when making corn tortillas. spritz with water. one on top an one on bottom. press open an remove top filter. use the bottom filter to pick up pressed tortilla and apply it to your griddle. remove that filter an go about using a 2nd time 2filters will often make 4 or more tortillas. this same idea works well for making white castles. making very thin hambers as they start to cook on gridle use your forefinger to make about 5 holes in the meat. meat has been placed over minced onions put bun on an the onion flavor comes up thru the holes to flavor the bun

    Reply
  34. Pingback: Coffee filters uses | Abuse Survivor Thoughts

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