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18 Brilliant Ways To Use Coffee Filters Around The House

Coffee filters can be used to add scent to laundry, add flavor to soups, and to keep veggies fresh.

I’ve written dozens of posts sharing creative ways to use everyday household items, and it’s a topic I’m really passionate about! More often than not, those “single-use” items you have around the house can be used in many different ways.

And every once in a while, I learn about so many useful things I can do with an item that I end up keeping it on hand even when I don’t use the item for its intended purpose! That was certainly the case with used coffee grounds, so it makes sense that it also ended up being the case for coffee filters too.

Even though we don’t drink coffee, I keep a package of coffee filters in the cupboard because there are so many brilliant ways to use them! I normally avoid buying things I don’t really need, but I’m happy to make an exception in this case (and it doesn’t hurt that coffee filters are quite inexpensive!)

White Filters vs. Brown Filters: Does Color Make A Difference?

When shopping for paper coffee filters, the two types you’ll see are white bleached filters and brown unbleached filters. While the bleaching process that white filters undergo can help prevent your coffee from taking on a papery taste, it also produces chemical waste. (Plus, you can eliminate the paper taste of unbleached coffee filters by giving them a quick rinse before using them!)

For the coffee filter uses listed below, feel free to use whatever kind you have (or whatever’s cheapest), whether bleached or unbleached!

So exactly what can you do with coffee filters? You’re not the only one curious, seeing as this is one of my most popular pins on Pinterest! Read on to find out!

18 Brilliant Uses For Coffee Filters

Treat puffy eyes by soaking a coffee filter in chamomile tea then using it as a compress.
No tea bags? A coffee filter is the perfect stand-in.

1. Soothe Puffy Eyes

Use a couple of coffee filters to help soothe puffy, itchy eyes. Just soak them in brewed tea (chamomile works well) or plain water, then chill them in the fridge. Then fold the filters and place them over your eyes as a soothing cold compress — ahh!

Related: 15 Quick & Easy Home Remedies For Red, Itchy Eyes

Use a coffee filter to grease a baking pan.
No more paper bits left behind after buttering a pan.

2. Grease Bakeware

Coffee filters are great for greasing baking dishes and pans with oil or butter because they don’t leave behind any fibers or residue. Just dip the filter into a bit of oil or softened butter and rub it around the inside of your pan!

3. Prevent Popsicle Messes

Prevent sticky fingers and stained clothes by putting a coffee filter on your ice pop stick. Just snip a small slit in the center and push the stick through it. The filter will absorb any drips so you can enjoy a refreshing frozen treat without the mess!

Put a coffee filter between plates to keep them from scratching each other.
It’s almost as if they were made for this purpose!

4. Protect Dishes

You can protect your nice dishes from scratches and nicks by layering coffee filters between each dish as you stack them. Coffee filters are strong enough to stand up to the movement of the dishes, but soft enough to prevent additional damage.

Make a sachet from a coffee filter and baking soda and put it in stinky shoes to absorb the odor.
Perfect for homemade “stinky pinkies”, the ultimate shoe odor eliminator!

5. Eliminate Odors

Scoop a few tablespoons of baking soda into a coffee filter, twist it closed, and secure it with a rubber band. Place your baking soda sachet inside your shoes, gym bags, closets, your fridge, or anywhere else that needs a little deodorizing. You can also add a few drops of essential oils to the sachet to leave behind a favorite scent!

Related: Surprising Uses For Baking Soda (That Have Nothing To Do With Baking!)

6. Keep Soil In Pots

Drainage is essential for a potted plant, but you don’t want the soil coming out with the water. To prevent that from happening, just place a coffee filter in the bottom of a pot before adding soil. Excess water will have no trouble running through the filter, but the dirt will stay in the pot where it belongs.

Using a coffee filter to dust a tv screen works because coffee filters don't leave lint.
The fact that coffee filters don’t leave lint behind makes them great for cleaning!

7. Clean Up

Coffee filters make great cleaning rags for all kinds of cleaning jobs! They’re lint-free, which makes them great for cleaning computer monitors, televisions, and windows. Even the most reflective surfaces will turn out squeaky clean and free of streaks!

Related: Grimy Screen? This Is The Super Simple Cleaner You Need

8. Prevent Microwave Messes

Don’t you hate it when food pops and splatters all over the inside of your microwave? Luckily, you can prevent microwave messes by placing a coffee filter over the dish or container. It’s a simple and affordable solution to a common problem!

Put lavender essential oil and vinegar on a coffee filter to soften clothes in the dryer.
Perfect for those times when you really want to your laundry to shine!

9. Soften Clothes

This is one of my favorite coffee filter uses—use one as a makeshift dryer sheet! Dampen a coffee filter with a bit of white vinegar and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Toss the “dryer sheet” into the dryer with your clothes, and they’ll come out free of static and smelling fresh and clean!

Related: 5 Excellent DIY Fabric Softeners With Something For Everyone

10. Dry Glassware

If your glasses and stemware come out of the dishwasher and they’re still a bit damp, grab a coffee filter. Use the filter to dry your glassware for a spotless, sparkling finish.

You can serve the perfect individual serving of snacks in a coffee filter.

11. Use For Snacking

A coffee filter can be used as a disposable bowl when you’re feeling snacky. Use one to divvy up popcorn, chips, pretzels, and more!

12. Wrap Messy Foods

In addition to being handy as disposable bowls, coffee filters are also useful for keeping messy foods like tacos, burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches contained. They’re a great size for catching all the fillings and toppings that like to fall out while you’re eating certain foods.

Make a bouquet garni with a coffee filter to flavor your soups and sauces.
A savory sachet for your soup!

13. Add Flavor To Soups

Some soups call for ingredients that need to be “fished” out before serving, like bay leaves, herbs with tough stems, or whole spices. You can make this process super easy with the help of a coffee filter!

Just place those ingredients in the center of a coffee filter, then twist it up and tie it off with a piece of twine. Drop the sachet into your simmering soup, and you can easily pluck it out when your soup is ready to serve!

Related: These 11 Soup Hacks Are Good To The Last Drop

14. Corral Small Parts

Putting together a dresser? Use a coffee filter to corral the screws, nails, dowels, and other easy-to-lose parts. Take this tip a step further by using a pen to write the corresponding part number on each filter to make the assembly process quick and easy.

Storing celery between coffee filters helps keep it fresh.

15. Keep Celery Crisp

Wrap celery stalks in a coffee filter, then place the wrapped stalks in a plastic storage bag. Store the celery in your fridge, and the coffee filter will help absorb excess moisture and keep your celery crisp.

Related: 37 Tips For Keeping Food Fresh Longer

Sprout seeds in a damp coffee filter to get a jump start on your gardening.

16. Sprout Seeds

Use a coffee filter to sprout seeds and get a jump start on your spring planting! Dampen a coffee filter with water, then place a few seeds inside. Fold the filter up and place it into a ziplock bag. Place the bag somewhere warm, and in a few days your little seeds will be sprouting like crazy!

Related: Make Your Own Seed Tape To Make Spring Planting Easy

17. Absorb Oil

Whether it’s excess grease on food or excess oil on your face, you can quickly and easily absorb it using a coffee filter! Use coffee filters to absorb excess oil from freshly cooked french fries or bacon, or cut them into smaller pieces to use as face blotters. It works like a charm!

Use coffee filters in the car for napkins, wiping up spills, dusting the dash, and even wiping the dip stick.

18. Keep Your Car Clean

Keep a stack of coffee filters in your car’s glove box and use them to dust your console and dashboard. You can also use them as napkins or to sop up spills in a pinch. And the next time you check your oil, you can wipe off the dipstick on a coffee filter.

Keep in mind that for some of these uses, the filter can be re-used again and again! They’re a lot tougher and more versatile than you might think!

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • This is inspired information. So many very useable suggestions! I also throw one of these in the sink while peeling shrimp. Catches all the shells in one place for easy disposal and the stinky drips rinse down the drain.

  • Need to sort through a storage jar of tiny items? Dump them into a coffee filter. Sort then fold the filter to return the items to the jar. Works great for small to medium hardware like nails, nuts and screws, fishing items, craft items like beads, sequins, glitter and embossing powder, and even jewelry that’s gotten tangled. Best part is you can save the filter to use the next time.

  • I use coffee filters in the bottom of flower pots to prevent soil from washing out the drain hole and to allow excess water to flow through.

  • We have a handheld Shark vacuum that the filter had developed holes in. To make matters worse, that filter assembly was no longer available, so I carefully cut the remaining filter material out of the filter frame, wrapped a coffee filter around it, pushed it back into the filter housing, and it was good as new. Quick and easy to replace as needed also.

  • Whenever I peel garlic, I pull out my coffee filter and place it on the cutting board and chop/peel on top of the coffee filter. That way all the skin from the garlic is contained in the filter, I close it up and throw it away.

    • Daily shoe liners :-) Used (or new) dryer sheets keep the inside of your shoes clean. They smell nice too. Use them in any shoe from pumps to sandals to tennis shoes, any shoe you can hide them in. Your shoes will last much longer with no smell. HTH

  • You can cut a fragrant bar of soap in half or in thirds. Wrap with a coffee filter and string/twine/rubber bands and place in dresser drawers for clothes with a wonderful smell.

  • We have a hand held Shark vacuum that the dust filter simply desintegrated in from age. Finding a replacement was impossible as the vac is simply so old that they are no longer even made. The rubber framework that the filter material was molded into was still useable however, so I simply removed all of the old material, wrapped a coffee filter around it, and just like thatI had a new (and now disposeable) filter, and the vac lives on.

  • “Long ago in a far away place and time”; oh no that’s a different story. When my grown up boys were in grade school I was a room mother for both of their classes. (Fortunately most of us 6 or so Room Mothers had a child in both classrooms; the boys were 3 grades apart). One of a really cool things I learned was to use coffee filters; for just about everything. Cheaper than paper plates, napkins, painting papers, decorating into Suns, Noons, flowers etc.. Cut and paste add beads or strings etc.. Every year we did different types of crafts using coffee filters.
    The use for plates, napkins & watercolors are my favorites.

  • Hi! I use coffee filters in my car also. On a long trip I put a snack in a filter (…must confess usually M&M’s) then put it in a round drink holder or other console space. It keeps the console clean & the snack more accessible rather than a ziplock bag.

  • I use them as face blotters for oil!! They are amazing for that! I cut them I half and put some in my purse as well :-) I’m pretty sure I got that idea from another post of Jillees.

  • Great post, Jillee! I LOVE coffee filters. I even used them to make peonies for my son’s wedding rehearsal dinner. Thank you for sharing. :-)

  • I started reading this article on coffee filters and thought I would see the use I’ve had for them…and it wasn’t there! Use a filter as a splatter guard for the microwave. I’ve used them as a flavor tea bag for spices in stews, but I made some ginger tea the same way! I used a wire tie to gather the opening! I will be keeping them in the car for wiping the inside of the windows etc. I like to dust the surfaces near me when stopped in traffic! Great article!

  • Adding to #4. Control Odors: instead of buying the expensive box of baking soda designed to absorb refrigerator odors, fill a jar with bulk baking soda, top with a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band. Replace the baking soda and filter every 1-3 months. So inexpensive – put one to your freezer too.

  • My granddaughter makes paper flowers with them. Stack several together, poke a wooden skewer (she dips them in a green food coloring/water mixture first, then allows them to dry) through the middle, twist the bottoms around the stick tightly, secure with cellophane tape, then separate the layers into a pretty white carnation. Most times, she colors the filters first by soaking them slightly in a dye mixture, as with the skewers. Sometimes she just takes a colored water color marker & touches the edges, letting the filter absorb the tint.

  • I use them in the bottom of my plant pots, too. I would add that the unbleached coffee filters are much better for the environment, because of the process used to bleach them, though. Just a thought.

  • Coffee filters make a great pre-filter to remove larger particles from the water before using your Lifestraw (or other brands of filters), cutting down the wear and tear on their filtering system, and preventing or slowing the filter’s clogging rate. They are an absolute must for you Bug Out Bag for this and many other functions!

  • I use them to make a single cup of coffee. Wrap some grounds in a filter and steep similar to a teabag, it works. I use a clean rubber and or even a few staples to hold my “ coffee grounds pouch” together

  • I agree with Susan. I always put one or two coffee filters in the bottom of my plant pots. Then I add a few pebbles for drainage. Thank you Jillee for a great blog.

  • Use one in the bottom of a plant pot. It stops the soil from spilling out when planting but allows water to drain easily. And for crystal clear broth pour it through a sieve lined with a coffee filter!

    • I swear by the foil method to store celery. Cut the stalk in half – it fits the foil size better – and work off one package at a time. You’ll be amazed at how long it keeps.

    • As well as celery, heavy duty aluminum foil (not the regular) is also great for storing carrots, lettuce & just about any produce. I live 70 miles round trip from my supermarket & my produce stays crisp & lasts for weeks in foil. I’m sure someone will chime in about the possible health issues & foil, but heck a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do when you live in the middleofnowhere & don’t have the privilege of going to the market every week.

      • You go, Amy! I live in Maine, but in a populated area. I keep a Styrofoam (Yes, I know, but at least it’s not in the landfill and I AM reusing!) cooler (free from a mailing) in the back of my car for cold items in the summer. I’ve been known to use it for one of those rotisserie chickens in the winter to keep it warm!

      • What other kinds of produce? Cabbage, tomatoes, green onions, summer squash, leafy greens? Please elaborate on your post!

      • Cabbage, yes – green onions, yes – summer squash, yes – leafy greens, yes. Never tried to protect tomatoes as all the others I keep in the fridge & was always told never, ever, EVER put tomatoes in the fridge. Just about any produce you put in the fridge. You know how carrots & celery can get limpy-ish after being in the fridge for a week? Not when you wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil. Those puppies stay crispy/crunchy for weeks; really weeks!! Test it out Dorothy & let us know if it works for you!!

      • Thanks for your reply. My doc has put on a fruit/vegetable diet for 7-10 days to reduce inflammation, so I’m glad to know how to store. Produce can be expensive!

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