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17 Productive Ways to Use Old Coffee Filters

Coffee filters are one of those items that can sometimes just linger lazily in our cabinets, as if there is no place to go or nothing to do. Perhaps we’ve switched coffee makers and needed to change the size of filter we use. Perhaps we’ve given up caffeine and stopped drinking coffee. Maybe we bought them for a guest who breezed through on four pots of coffee and left them steadily working their way to the back of the cabinet, the cupboard, or wherever we put them. That is what happens in millions, well maybe thousands, or even just hundreds of American households each day. It’s time we do something about it.

Have you got a bunch of old coffee filters loafing around, collecting dust? Well, here are some creative, productive, sometimes entertaining ways to put them to good use.

old coffee filter
1. Disposable, Biodegradable Snack Bowls

Whether it’s sending the kids away with a handful of dehydrated fruit, kale chips maybe, or putting out nuts and such for a party, old coffee filters make great disposable snack bowls and function as a napkin afterwards.

2. Upcycled Pocket Notebook

For those who have a good wad of coffee filters sitting around, especially in a box, they can be stacked, bound and covered with the cardboard from the box to make a handy little pocket notebook for to-do lists.

3. Laptop/Screen Cleaning & Dusting Rag

Coffee filters are lint-free, so they make great cloths for cleaning smudgy computer or phone screens, either simply dusting them or dabbing the filter in a bit of diluted vinegar for a more intense clean.

4. Teabags for Loose-leaf Tea

Well, they were meant to keep coffee grounds out of one hot beverage, but with a bit of string, old coffee filters can be used to create tea bags for loose-leaf tea, keeping leaves out of another hot beverage. Afterwards, it can all be composted.

5. Scented Sachets for Drawers and Cabinets

Sometimes drawers or cabinets develop a musty scent, or the laundry basket even might send off an unwanted smell, so just wrap up a bit of lavender or what aromatic plants are around to create a scented sachet to put in those areas.

6. Moisture Absorber for Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron cookware is a fantastic, healthy addition to the kitchen, but they do require a little maintenance when it comes to keeping them seasoned and rust-free. Sticking a coffee filter inside that skillet or Dutch oven will help absorb moisture and keep the iron dry.

7. Splatter Guard for the Microwave

Hey, why not? Paper towels are probably the norm for covering a bowl or plate when microwaving food, but filters are shaped in such a way that they might be able to be used a few times before getting dirty and needing to be replaced. If they are there anyway…

8. Classy Wine Moments

A good glass of wine can sure finish a day off right, but sometimes there is a bit of sediment floating around in the bottle or popping the cork just doesn’t go well. Coffee filters are great for removing this kind of stuff from the vino.

9. Creating a Bouquet Garni for Soups

Certain things make a world of difference when flavoring soups or stocks, but we don’t always want said items in our finished meal. Toss those bay leaves, springs of rosemary, and whatever else into a coffee filter and use it as bouquet garni.

10. Lining Potted Plants

Plant pots need to have holes in the bottom in case the plant is over-watered; however, the result is often that particles of soil make it through the holes, unless, that is, a coffee filter or two goes into the bottom of the pot first.

11. Scratch-Free China Stacking

Married? Got fine China? Well, odds are stacking it can be a bit tedious, a little worrisome regarding scratches and so on. Coffee filters work great as a buffer between dishes, protecting the tops from the bottoms.

12. Diaper Liners and Potty Trainers

For those folks out there doing the green version of diapers, those reusable cloth jobbies, kudos to you all. Here’s a thoughtful idea: Line the diapers with an old coffee filter, and it might be a bit easier to handle the, ahem, solids.

13. Odor Eaters for Your Sneakers

Shoes get stinky. It is just a fact of life, and we needn’t feel ashamed about it. However, we also don’t need to sit around smelling it. Instead, fill an old coffee filter with some baking soda and put in sneakers or shoes to absorb odors.

14. Sprouting Seeds

Sprouting is a great DIY project, and they make healthy additions to salads and sandwiches. The old coffee filter can be dampened, the seeds spread over half, and then the filter can be folded in half to keep them in place until they spout.

15. Glove Box Emergency Kit

People will likely think those of us who do this are crazy, but that’s sort of half the point. Put old coffee filters in the glove box, and they work well for emergency clean-ups, sneezes, oil checks, and fogged-up windows.

16. Perfectly Microwave Tortillas

Microwaving tortillas, most of us have learned by now, can be a pretty finicky operation. If they start getting too dry, forget it. Coffee filters can help. Moisten one and put it atop the tortillas, and they’ll come out steamy rather than stiff.

17. Drying Wine Glasses and Other Glassware

Much the same as with touchscreens, because coffee filters don’t cause lint problems, they work really well for drying wine glasses or other fancy glassware/crystal, which otherwise ends up dotted with specks of white.

Oh, there are more, but this certainly will have those with old coffee filters lurking around well on their way to making good use of them.