Updated on 3/2/16 from an article originally published on 5/13/15.
Coffee filters aren’t only for those looking for an early morning pick-me-up. In fact, you can find dozens of uses for coffee filters even if you’re not a coffee drinker. They’re stronger than paper towels, they’re lint-free, and you can purchase a large quantity of them for next to nothing.
Coffee filters will replace some of your favorite cleaning and organizing staples in the kitchen, but they might also become part of your regular beauty routine or your go-to material for crafts.
Cleaning and Organizing
Paper Towel Replacement
“Since coffee filters are lint-free, you can swap them out for paper towels to give windows a no-streak shine,” suggests Lauren Piro from Good Housekeeping magazine. They’re also very absorbent and can be used anywhere paper towels would typically be used.
The lint-free factor makes coffee filters an excellent choice for cleaning eyeglasses or wine glasses without worrying about dust or water spots. Use them to also clean TV screens and computer monitors to keep them dust and lint-free.
If you’re moving, coffee filters can help save your dishes. Leah Baking from Networx suggests, “Instead of newspaper, which can get cumbersome and bulky, use coffee filters in between dishes when packing them in a box. They are more or less the same size as a salad plate and are equally as thick as a page of newspaper.” This will help absorb shock between each item and keep your kitchenware from clinking together and chipping or breaking.
To keep food from splattering in the microwave, put a coffee filter over the top of the bowl. Coffee filters are safe to use in the microwave. When placed over the top of a bowl or a dish, it catches any splatters so your microwave doesn’t become a mess.
Small objects such as nails, bolts, beads, pins, and paper clips can be stored in coffee filters. “Pile nails, screws, and fasteners into separate coffee filters while you’re working to keep them from rolling off the table,” suggests Jennifer Stimpson from This Old House magazine. This is a super cheap way of casually organizing your work area.
In the Kitchen
You can use coffee filters as napkins in a pinch, or at a party as convenient hot dog or taco wrappers. For lightweight snacks – like popcorn – coffee filters can be used as snack bowls that don’t require washing afterwards. Another great trick: wrap a sandwich in a coffee filter before putting it in a plastic lunch bag to avoid soggy bread.
To avoid getting lint in your food, when baking or making a casserole, use a coffee filter to spread oil onto a baking sheet or pan instead of a paper towel.
You love to use your cast-iron skillet, but hate the rust that sometimes comes with it? Coffee filters are a great solution. According to Reader’s Digest, you can put a coffee filter inside your skillet when it’s stored in your kitchen cabinet. The filter will prevent rust by absorbing moisture.
When making soup, put some herbs into a coffee filter, tie it up, and let it float around in your soup to add flavor. When you’re ready to serve the soup, just pull out the filter and throw it away. Another unique coffee filter option is using one for tea.
For a colander that has holes that are larger than you need, just line the bottom with coffee filters so smaller bits don’t fall through.
Ice Cream Catcher
Kids love ice cream, but moms dread the mess. Coffee filters to the rescue! Poke the ice cream stick through the center of two coffee filters, and the drops will fall onto the filters instead of onto your carpet (or your kid’s clothes).
Beauty & Fragrance
Coffee filters make great and cheap oil blotters for your face. Cut them up into little squares and keep some in your purse or bag for those sweaty days when you’re running around town and need a quick refresh.
Wax On, Hair Off
Cut a plain coffee filter into strips and you have your very own waxing strips. Use the wax as you normally would; the only difference is you’re using coffee filters instead of high-priced waxing strips.
It’s a regular occurrence; you nick yourself shaving and now there’s a little bit of blood. Using toilet paper on the small cut doesn’t work well because the toilet paper falls apart and leaves lint behind. Instead, PopSugar recommends you use a small piece of a coffee filter. It’s an affordable, durable, lint-free solution.
Make sachets to keep your bathroom and closets smelling fresh. Take some baking soda or dried herbs like lavender, and put a few tablespoons into a coffee filter. Tie it up, and stash it wherever you need some freshening, such as a medicine cabinet or linen closet.
DIY Air Freshener
It’s common knowledge that a box of baking soda can help absorb odors, but that box can be bulky and inconvenient. Instead, put baking soda inside a coffee filter and use a twist-tie or a piece of twine to secure it closed. Store these air freshener packets in your shoes, in your refrigerator, or even in your closet.
Coffee grounds combined with your favorite conditioner are a great way to condition and exfoliate your hair and scalp. “Not only will it feel great, but the caffeine can help stimulate new hair growth!” Libby Baker exclaims. “Try this treatment once a week for best results.” She recommends placing a used coffee filter over your drain to catch the coffee grounds, but this tip works well even if you’re not treating your scalp with coffee grounds. A coffee filter will let the water drain, but it will catch excess hair that can often clog your shower drain.
Garden Pot Liner
Line your flower pots with coffee filters to prevent dirt from falling through the holes at the bottom. Air will still be able to circulate, and water will still be able to drain, keeping your plants healthy, yet less messy.
Gift Basket Liner
Make your own tissue paper or gift basket paper shreds. Change the filters to a pretty color by dying them in a shallow bowl of water with some food coloring added. After the newly colored filters dry, connect them together with a little clear tape, or cut them up into shredded paper to add to gift bags or baskets.
Paper Flower Decor
Turn your coffee filters into paper flowers. This is a fantastic activity to do with children, or as a way to make inexpensive and unique summertime party decorations for a tabletop. Add a few paper flowers to the top of a gift box instead of your typical ribbons or bows. Dye the filters first for a colorful bouquet. Check out instructions here for making flowers, wreaths, and more.
With a little creativity and a few coffee filters, the possibilities of uses are endless. Whether you’re looking to makeover your cleaning and organizing routine, you need some efficient kitchen hacks, or you need some beauty or craft ideas, coffee filters are a great option to consider.