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17 Clever Uses for Coffee Filters That Don’t Involve Coffee

coffee filter near a potted plant

Life hacks make everyday hassles easy to overcome, and in most cases, they’re pretty neat to learn! It’s incredible how a mundane household item might have a thousand uses outside its prescribed function, like how vinegar can unclog a sink or toothpaste can buff out permanent marker stains.

Well, you have another super-versatile tool at your disposal if you’re one of the 41% of people who uses a drip coffee maker in the morning—coffee filters! Though they sit in the kitchen cabinet, the simple paper pouches have uses in every room of the house. Follow along as we show you 17 clever ways to use coffee filters that don’t involve coffee.

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The 17 Clever Uses for Coffee Filters

1. Scented Sachets

Sachet with beneficial predatory mites
Image By: Firn, Shutterstock

A sachet is a bagged freshener for deodorizing and adding scents to clothes, shoes, linens, storage containers, and more. In making DIY sachets, coffee filters act as ideal holders. They’re porous enough to let air through without leaving a mess, and their shape makes them naturally suitable for turning into pouches.

Using another DIYer household favorite, baking soda, these sachets can neutralize foul acidic odors while imparting a pleasant scent with various seasonings. Cloves, cinnamon, and allspice play together nicely, but you can also add herbs like lavender, rosemary, and mint. Experiment with different combinations to find a scent you like. Close them with a fun bit of ribbon, and they become perfect gifts!

2. Dryer Sheets

Coffee filters are a fantastic stand-in for scented dryer sheets if you want a chemical-free way to treat your clothes as they dry. Vinegar and some essential oils are all you need to freshen your laundry and are inexpensive to keep on hand. Make dryer sheets as you go, or put several coffee filters in a container to soak with vinegar and oils, so you always have one available.

3. Screen and Glass Cleaner

cleaning a glass shower door
Image Credit: FotoDuets, Shutterstock

Soft, absorbent, and lint-free coffee filters are perfect for collecting dust without damaging delicate materials. They are gentle enough for TV screens if you don’t have a microfiber cloth handy. You can also use them on bookshelves, windows, mirrors, and dozens of other surfaces. Store a few coffee filters in the living room, and put one or two in your purse for a handy phone or glasses refresher.

4. Polish Shoes

Coffee filters are durable yet gentle, making them ideal for polishing your dress shoes. From scuffs to lint, coffee filters leave nothing behind when you use them to buff in the shine.

5. Microwave Cover

woman putting glass bowl with vegetable in the microwave
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Coffee filters are okay to microwave, so feel free to use one for a splatter screen if you’re heating soups or sauces. Unfold it and cover the bowl. The filter should provide enough protection to prevent an unfortunate cleanup. Moisten the filter slightly to make it cling securely onto the bowl.

6. Food Holder

Whether it’s a grilled hot dog, an ice cream cone, a sandwich, or a quesadilla, a coffee filter makes a perfect holder for all kinds of foods. The container shape keeps food from falling, and the paper is absorbent enough to keep grease, ice cream, and other messy liquids from dripping everywhere.

7. Faux Nail Tips

Image Credit: JumpStory

Everyone knows coffee filters can save you from the high prices of Starbucks, but now, they can save you from even more expensive nail salon trips!

Coffee filter tips are a clever hack that allows cosmetically minded individuals to lengthen their nails at home. All you need are some filters and a nail dip kit, and you have everything you need to fix broken nails or freshen up before going out.

8. Potted Plant Soil Base

Coffee filters are compostable, and if you’re a gardener, you should never have any trouble disposing of them in an eco-friendly way after making your morning cup of French roast. But beyond adding helpful nutrients, filters can do even more to help your plants, especially your potted indoor beauties.

Repotting is an essential annual practice as plants grow up, but soil loss through the drain hole of new pots can be an inconvenient mess. Solve the problem by lining the bottom of your containers with coffee filters! Filters will let moisture through while holding back soil. They won’t cause any issues for your plants as they gradually break down harmlessly.

9. Organizers

Wicker basket with Clean fresh towels neatly folded and placed in closet organizer box
Image Credit: brizmaker, Shutterstock

Whether it’s colored beads, Legos, or another tiny material, coffee filters make the perfect disposable holders for all kinds of items. Break them out when the kids want to start building to make cleanup at least a little easier or use them when you’re doing your handyman projects to keep your screws and nails in order.

10. Bouquet Garni

A coffee filter can be a huge help in zesting up stews and sauces when filled with your favorite herbs and spices. A bouquet garni is a sort of tea bag to help infuse flavor without adding bits of herbs. Add fresh parsley sprigs, thyme, bay leaves, basil, or any herb you please. Tie it off with a bit of twine, and you have an easy-to-remove seasoning bomb to simplify cooking.

11. Separate Plates

stoneware plates
Image Credit: Tom Crew, Unsplash

Like stacked CDs, china can be its own worst enemy when plates sit on top of one another. Protect your valuable dinnerware by placing opened coffee filters between plates and bowls. You can also use them to line the inside of your cast iron pans after seasoning to absorb any remaining moisture and prevent damage.

12. Fridge Deodorizer

Everyone has forgotten leftovers or produce in the fridge at some point, only for it to remind them via a horrible smell. Nasty odors can kill your appetite and speed up food spoilage throughout the refrigerator, and it’s crucial to root them out as fast as possible.

An open box of baking soda doesn’t give you enough surface area to be truly effective at neutralizing odors, and a plate of it can make a mess in the fridge if someone tips it by accident. With a coffee filter, you can solve both problems. Fill it with baking soda and tie it off to make a deodorizing pouch. It’s breathable and mess-free. Make it even more effective by swapping the baking soda with activated charcoal.

13. Grease Pans

Stack of plates
Image Credit: Ulrike Mai, Pixabay

Coffee filters are an excellent replacement for paper towels in many places, but they may become your new favorite go-to when you have to grease a baking dish. Although they absorb oil and spread it around as efficiently as paper towels, you don’t have to worry about any leftover lint.

14. Filter Wine

There’s no shame in accidentally breaking a cork when you try to open a bottle of merlot, but it’s still frustrating. Nobody wants to be drinking bits of cork with their wine. Save the day by pulling out a coffee filter to separate those tiny scraps from the rest of the drink.

15. Germinate Seeds

jute seeds
Image Credit: CMYK MAKER, Shutterstock

Germinating seeds in paper towels or coffee filters is a perfect way to prep a bunch of plants for the season and sort out the viable starters. Moisten the filters, place your seeds, and put everything in a plastic bag to maintain the moisture. After several days, you’ll see your first sprouts and your germinated seeds will be ready for planting.

16. Disposable Wipes

Cleaning wipes are a massive convenience, but they can get expensive if you use them a lot, and there’s always the worry of unsafe ingredients. Spare yourself the expense and the stress by using this DIY kitchen cleaning wipe recipe instead!

Vinegar, water, liquid cleaner, and essential oils combine to make a non-toxic solution for the wipes. Pour it into a canister, and add coffee filters or paper napkins to absorb the liquid. Keep the wipes available in the kitchen or the car for efficient cleanups.

17. Coffee Filter Flowers

Flower Dust Plant
Image Credit: Tran Thu Hang, Shutterstock

When you’re all out of coffee and other practical uses for coffee filters, put your crafting hat on and make these beautiful fake flowers. Filters perfectly mimic delicate rose and carnation petals. With a few scallop cuts, hot glue, and stem wire, you can fashion a stunning and long-lasting display for a dining room or coffee table centerpiece.

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Final Thoughts

Who knew something so simple could be so handy? There are tons of uses for the humble coffee filter beyond this list. You may even find innovative solutions with them that nobody has ever considered. Whether you’re a coffee enthusiast or not, you have plenty of good reasons to pick up a pack of these inexpensive yet versatile household staples.

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Featured Image Credit: dan-gold, Unsplash


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