It was a dumb mistake. I grabbed the biggest package of coffee filters—a pack of 1,000—only to discover much later that I’d picked up the wrong size for my coffeemaker.
Coffee filters are not expensive, which is probably the reason I didn’t bother returning them to the store. I suppose I should have tried, but I’m glad didn’t. I began finding all kinds of ways to use those filters for other things than making coffee.
What I discovered is that the basket-style filters are super useful around the house and the garage.
It took a few years, but I managed to use up the wrong-size stack of filters and not to filter coffee. They became such a handy item, I bought the same size again, but this time from the dollar store.
Most recently, I found basket-style coffee filters—300 filters $1.
Here are some of the things I do with a coffee filter:
1. Prevent splatters
Don’t you hate that mess inside the microwave? Prevent it by covering the bowl, plate, or food item with a coffee filter turned upside down to create a little canopy. Works really well because the filter is highly absorbent, but doesn’t fly off when the food pops and splatters.
2. Quick sparkle
Use a coffee filter instead of paper towels to clean and polish a mirror, window, glass table top, or chrome. No lint and super absorbent.
3. China protectant
Be kind to your fine dinnerware or other types of dishes by placing a filter between each plate and bowl to prevent the pieces from sliding around and causing damage.
4. Protect cast iron
Once I clean, dry and re-oil my cast iron skillet, I put a flattened out filter in the bottom to prevent rust by absorbing any moisture that might remain.
5. Absorb grease
When frying bacon, French fries, or any other thing that gets fried in oil, I place a couple of filters on a plate to drain said items, instead of paper towels.
6. Food wrappers
Coffee filters are convenient to use as wraps for messy foods like tacos, burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches. I love that they’re the right size and catch stuff that might fall out when the kids, especially, dig in.
A coffee filter like a dryer sheet makes a great tear-away backing for embroidery and appliqué.
RELATED: Other Uses for Ordinary Dryer Sheets
8. Bouquet garni
I learned this by watching the Food Channel: Place herbs and spices in the center of a coffee filter then close it up like a little pouch and tie with a piece of string. Now drop this in the soup, stew or what have you, allow it to simmer for hours as needed. Remove little tied-up pouch before serving—leaving behind the essence and goodness without the twigs, ugly spent leaves, seeds, etc.
9. Spoon rest
Lay the spoon, spatula, or another implement you’re cooking with on a coffee filter. It will soak up the drips, but not leave bits of paper on the item when you pick it up later, as paper towels often do.
10. Cradle ornaments
Use a coffee filter to individually wrap special Christmas ornaments or other precious decor items. This prevents ornaments from rubbing against each other and also makes it easier to pack them for compact storage.
11. Blotting paper
Whether it’s ink, paint, or pressed flowers—when you need to blot, grab a coffee filter. Works perfectly well.
A coffee filter, made to strain coffee grounds from coffee, will do the same job with soup, wine which has bits of cork in it, tea or any other liquid you wish to become clear. Place the filter over a receptacle and secure it with a rubber band. Now pour item to be strained through the filter.
13. Disposable snack bowl
One or two basket-style filters make an easy-to-hold snack dish to hold popcorn, chips, or nuts.
14. Sprout seeds
Want to get seedlings started in time for Spring? Grab a coffee filter and dampen with water. Lay seeds to be sprouted on the filter and fold it over so seeds are covered. Place inside a small zip-type baggie and leave it be until seeds sprout and are ready for planting.
15. Weighing messy stuff
Before weighing chopped vegetables or other sticky or messy items, place a coffee filter on the kitchen scale. Once weighed, toss the filter and enjoy a clean scale.
16. Line a pot
Before adding the soil to a plant pot, drop one or two coffee filters in the bottom. Now the soil is trapped inside, but the drain remains functional to allow excess water to escape and oxygen to nourish the plant’s roots.
17. Get crafty
Oh, the things you can make with coffee filters. This wreath, these flower balls, and roses are just the tip of the iceberg. As craft supplies go, coffee filters are dirt cheap. No one will ever guess what you used to make these gorgeous items.
QUESTION: What alternative uses have you discovered for coffee filters? Please share in the comments below.