14 Ways to Reuse Coffee Filters

Do you have a bit of a coffee habit? Don’t toss out those paper filters! Check out these cool ways to reuse them instead.

Motherhood doesn’t come with a lot of sleep, and lately I’ve gone from my old half a cup in the afternoon habit to drinking 2-3 cups of coffee per day. Life doesn’t stop just because your baby wakes you up in the middle of the night, I’m discovering. All of that coffee-drinking has me looking for ways to reuse my coffee filters.

Related Reading: 15 Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds

One option, of course, is to replace the paper filter with a reusable one. When we were using a conventional drip machine, we had a gold filter, and I loved it! Nothing to buy, nothing to store, nothing to dispose of. Now that we are making Chemex coffee in the mornings, though, we are back on the paper.

We’ve tried reusable Chemex filters, and they all kind of suck. The coffee always turns out too weak or way, way too strong. If anyone knows of a good reusable Chemex filter, I would love to hear about it. Reusable is always the best option!

If you’re also using paper coffee filters, check out these ways that you can reuse them!

ways to reuse coffee filters

Many of these ideas call for used, dried coffee filters, and it’s easy as pie to dry them out! Just hang them from a string with a clothespin. Since coffee can stain, make sure that you have a rag underneath the filters that you’re drying or that you hang them over the sink or outside.

1. Compost them. Just like coffee grounds, you can add unbleached coffee filters right to the bin.

2. Make coffee filter flowers. Rinse and dry your old filters and turn them into pretty flowers! This tutorial calls for new filters, but used ones will work just as well.

3. Polish your shoes. Rub dark brown shoes with damp, used coffee filters to make them shine.

4. Assemble a mini notebook. Hang the pages to dry, then cut them up to make a miniature notebook. Follow these instructions on how to make a notepad. It calls for junk mail, but your old coffee filters will work just as well and give your book’s pages a tea-stained look.

5. Sew up some tea bags. Dry the filters, then cut into 3″ squares. Use your sewing machine to sew or hand-stitch three sides all the way around, fill with loose tea, then sew the open side closed.

Related Reading: Are tea bags really compostable?

6. Use as emergency cupcake pan liners. Were you mid-batter when you realized that you were out of cupcake pan liners? Cut up and cram pieces of a used coffee filter into your cupcake pan. For this tip, I’d choose a recipe that would go well with a little coffee flavor, just in case. Chocolate, vanilla, or orange would be great. Lime or lemon, maybe not.

7. Whip up an easy sachet – Dry out your coffee filter, fill it up with nice-smelling herbs, and seal with a rubber band for an instant sachet that will make your room smell great!

coffee filters

8. Create paper bunting – Cut your dried filters into triangles and string them up to make pretty party bunting. You can paint, dye, or color on them to make the used filters bright and festive.

9. Eat a popsicle with less mess. Poke a hole in a used, dried coffee filter and stick the popsicle stick through. It will absorb any drips.

Related Reading: 11 Unique Summer Popsicle Ideas

10. Protect those breakables. Are you packing to move or packing away dishes that you don’t use so frequently? Instead of newspaper, use coffee filters to keep them snug and safe.

11. Make a spice bouquet. Cooking up a soup or stew that calls for herbs that you’ll need to pull out? Instead of cheesecloth, use an old coffee filter to wrap them up.

12. Use for straining. Did you accidentally break the cork, and now your wine is full of floaters? Filter it through a coffee filter into a jug to save the day!

13. Dust your glass. Rinse and dry old coffee filters, and you can reuse them to gently dust things like windows or TV screens without scratching or leaving streaks.

14. Keep your face looking great. Dry out old coffee filters and cut them into 2″x3″ squares to make DIY oil blotters.

What creative ways have you used reclaimed coffee filters? Share your ideas in the comments!

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Jim T.
Jim Thompson10 months ago

Nice ideas, a festive idea for next years holidays would be to turn your reusable filters into Christmas trees. Stack them on top of one another and add some decorations. They look pretty cool. I posted the image of our coffee filter tree on our Facebook. My page is Crucial Coffee Supply.

Also, if you're feeling guilty about the amount of waste you get when brewing constantly with paper filters you could go the stainless steel route even for your Chemex. No waste at the end of your brew and you get a real good cup of coffee from it.

Feel free to check us out at www.CrucialCoffeeSupply.com. We're offering ten percent off orders when you use the code 'COFFEELOVER'

Thanks for the handy tips and ideas.

Janet B.
Janet B.about a year ago


Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapaabout a year ago

Thank you

Lynn C.
Lynn c.1 years ago

Love the comments this one generated. Thanks one and all for your great suggestions too.

Loesje vB
Loesje vB2 years ago

Interesting! I will try to polish my shoes and compost it. Thank you for sharing.

Lindsay Kemp
Lindsay Kemp2 years ago

I think life's too short for many of these - I just compost them.

Janice P.
Janice P.2 years ago

I have a reusable filter, and a french press coffee maker. Both are great for not having a filter to throw away. However, the grounds are still there and can be composted or used to spread around the garden plants for various reasons. I hate having to put them down the garbage disposal, but sometimes that's the only thing left to do with them, having gone through all other uses.

Angela Malafouris

Priceless! Love these ideas! I really love paper crafts so there is an endless pool of ideas for re-using used paper coffee filters really. The only one that pops to mind though is ... used filter heart cut-out bookmarks! ^_^ After all coffee and books have a long love life together!

Sheila Stevens
Sheila S.2 years ago

I place the used grounds right onto my flower garden instead of fertilizer. My flowers are thriving!
But I have to confess, that hanging used filters up to dry, is just a bit much for me.

Lady Kaira
Lady Kaira2 years ago