We all know the versatility of great coffee: pumpkin spice lattes, double cappuccinos, nitro cold brews, a simple drip of fresh Kona coffee. And that’s not even the tip of the bean. Coffee has the uncommon ability to transform itself into a plethora of tastes, moods, and emotions.
It’s not just the coffee beans themselves that boast versatility. Other coffee creating essentials also offer an innovative array of multi-purpose abilities—especially the humble coffee filter.
It’s easy to pass off those white papery bowls as nothing more than single-use receptacles meant for keeping grinds out of your drink. In actuality though, coffee filters might be the most overlooked item in the kitchen.
Let’s take another look at the coffee filter and discover 7 fantastic uses that have nothing to do with your daily brew.
1. Non-Coffee Drink Creations
Who says coffee filters can only be used to filter out coffee grinds? They’re just as great for straining out seeds, pulp, leaves, or other things from any kind of drink. Our favorite uses for them in non-coffee drinks include:
Slice up citrus fruit and wrap it up with a coffee filter. Squeeze the juice up over a cup or pitcher and enjoy a seedless and pulp-free drink. This is a wonderful method for everything from full carafes of fresh lemonade to a little squirt of lime over freshly mixed margaritas.
They also work great as makeshift teabags. Just place your loose leaf tea in a coffee filter, tie the end up with a string and—voila! A perfect vessel for seeping. Depending on the tea, it could take a couple of minutes longer than usual to seep, but it’s always better than picking twigs out of your teeth.
It’s another rainy day and cabin fever is starting to sink in. Rather than cave in and binge another season of The Office, why not get crafty? Whether you have kids—or are just a kid at heart—coffee filters make marvelous art project materials. Affordable, pliable and easy to draw, dye or paint on, it’s basically a sheet of paper with added flair.
First, find a foam wreath base or cut out a cardboard ring. Then take a coffee filter, fold it in half, pinch the bottom and twist until it resembles a little flower. Stick it onto the base and continue until you’ve covered it entirely.
To spice it up, add a ribbon or color the coffee filters before adding them onto the wreath base. You can use dyes, markers, paints, or watercolor to create a beautiful twist on a traditional wreath.
If creating an entire wreath sounds too intense, why not begin with a few simple flowers? Simply fold the coffee filter in half four times, then cut off the top off in a half circle motion so your filter now looks more like an ice cream cone. Do this with 5–10 filters, depending how many petals you’d like your flower to have. Also, cut a little more off the top of each additional layer, making them slightly smaller than the previous ones.
For a brighter flower, dye the petals and let them dry. Once they’re ready, open up your layers. Take a pipe cleaner and stack each layer beginning with the largest on the bottom. Soon you’ll have a beautiful flower that’ll never need watering.
For a ridiculously easy and adorable DIY project, you’ll love making this coffee filter jellyfish. All it takes are a few coffee filters, dyes or watercolors, some ribbons or streamers, and tape.
The coffee filters act as the jellyfish’s body. Get creative and decorate away! Stack and scrunch a few different filter layers to add extra depth and flair to the jellyfish. When you’re happy with the body, tape the ribbons or streamers to the bottom. Use a string to hang it up and start creating a whole school of jellyfish.
3. In the Kitchen
Coffee filters make for some of the best cooking hacks out there. After using them for the following tips and tricks, you won’t believe you’ve overlooked this kitchen MVP.
Skip the sagging saran wrap and don’t even think of reheating your food uncovered. Instead, pop a coffee filter on top of whatever you’re warming to eliminate that pesky splatter. This also works great for smaller stovetop pots of soup, stews, or sauces.
Instead of dirty dishcloths or paper towels that quickly fall apart, use a coffee filter to grease your pan. Butter, olive oil and similar products stick well to the filter’s paper and it won’t leave behind any residue or fibers.
Similar to drinks, use coffee filters to strain out food. This can work for pasta, rice, spices, soups, sauces, stews, clarifying butter, and much more.
4. Cleaning Tools
Forget Kleenex. Coffee filters are one of the best ways to clean countless household items without leaving behind residue or torn paper no matter how damp it gets. Since they’re built to handle the heat and moisture of coffee, they can hold up to nearly anything in the household.
Eyeglasses, Binoculars & Camera Lenses
Coffee filters work amazingly well on cleaning anything with a lens. Just cut up a filter into strips or squares and use them whenever things are getting a little dusty, blurry or foggy.
Computer, TV Screens & Smartphones
The same goes for anything with a screen. Coffee filters are strong yet still soft enough to wipe dirt, smears, smudges, or other particles off your flatscreen, computer, iPads, smartphones, etc.
5. First Aid
Made of sturdy, flexible and comfortable materials, coffee filters are supurb first aid back-ups. Do use legitimate, doctor-recommended resources if available, but in a bind, filters make for a reliable substitute.
Cleaning Up Cuts or Wounds
Unlike toilet paper, coffee filters won’t pill up or fall apart when moist. They’re also surprisingly absorbent making them a fantastic alternative to other disposable options if a minor injury occurs.
Once the wound is adequately cleaned, fold up a coffee filter and secure it with a strong—preferably medical—tape. Filters are very breathable and though it should be upgraded to a medical grade bandage when possible, it’ll work surprisingly well until the real deal arrives.
For those bumps and black eyes, grab a handful of ice, place it in a plastic bag, and wrap it up in a coffee filter. Plastic bags can do the job, but the softness of the filter and the extra layer between the ice and skin allows for less intense cold shock.
Reduce Red, Puffy Eyes
Skimp on your beauty sleep? Use the same cold compress technique above, apply it to those irritated or puffy eyes. Cold temperatures reduce swelling and will minimize the appearance of sagging, tired eyes.
Soaking Up Sweat & Oils
Coffee filters are stellar sponges for greasy, oily faces. Instead of paying for oil absorbing sheet packs, cut filters into little squares, throw them in your purse, and when sweat or oil builds up, pat your face dry in seconds.
Nail Polish Removal
Sturdy even when wet, coffee filters will help wipe away old nail polish in no time. Unlike flimsy cotton balls or other paper products, one filter is likely all you’ll need. Just cut it into strips, dip into your nail polish remover solution, and goodbye polish!
Got stinky workout sneakers or stuffy closets? Simply wrap some baking powder with essential oils or potpourri in a coffee filter, tie the top closed, and throw it wherever the smell lives. Talk about an easy, affordable odor solution that you can create entirely from household items.
Get a jump start on growing this season. Just dampen a coffee filter, then wring it out so it’s not soaking wet. Place 2–3 seeds inside each filter and fold so the seeds are sandwiched inside the filter. Carefully place them inside a plastic Ziploc bag with a straw placed inside the opening allowing the seeds to breathe.
Within about a week of rest in a warm place, expect your seeds to sprout. Soon after that, it’ll be time to transplant your brand new seedlings into some soil.
Homemade Scented Dryer Sheets
If you ever run out of dryer sheets—or love to go DIY whenever possible—take a coffee filter and sprinkle it with fabric softener and/or a few drops of essential oils. Throw them in the dryer with your damp clothes and when the timer beeps, pull out freshly scented, astonishingly soft clothes.
These are just a few of the many reasons we love the modest coffee filter. Still, we prefer to use them the old-fashioned way. If you’re ready filter the most exceptional coffee on Earth, try Carta Coffee Merchants. Hand-roasted and harvested on the Big Island of Hawaii, we deliver only the best 100% Kona coffee straight to your door.