6 DIY Coffee Filter Substitutes You Can Find At Your Home

Written by | Updated On January 2, 2021

Last week before I was going out to work, I needed a good cup of coffee to energize my brain. Sadly, I had no filters left in my coffee maker, and I don’t think anyone would just go to a shop and buy some right away. I believe I’m not the only one who faced the situation. You might have been there too!

And sometimes you may see no coffee filter in the kitchen even though you bought some before. We all forget things! And then ask- “what can I use as a coffee filter?”

However, I had some tricks up my sleeve that saved my day. And I believe that’s something I should share with you guys. Otherwise, what’s the point in knowing something that can’t help you out at the time of need!

Without further ado, let’s jump into the details of coffee filter substitutes you can make from stuff around you.

1. The Mesh Sieves:

We all have a sieve in our kitchen, right? Well, if you have that, then it’s going to save you this time. It can be used as an emergency coffee filter. So, how will you do it?

First of all, pour the coffee that you want to make in a cup or mug. Get a little boiled water and make a mix with the coffee. This gives a pleasing aroma, I think. Add sugar if needed. After that, fill the cup or mug with warm water. Stir the water for 1-2 minutes. Let it remain there for 2-5 mins (the more time it remains stronger, the coffee becomes.

After that, get your mesh sieve and pour your coffee through it in another cup. You may have some coffee grounds on your sieve and throw it away. Voila! You have your coffee for the morning or evening, whenever you like it!

The drawback is that you need to do it manually and spend a bit of time making it. You will have to deal with the coffee grounds too! However, this is easy, and the coffee tastes good.

2. Napkins or Paper towel as coffee filter:

This is one of the most common objects to use as a coffee filter substitutes. We all have paper towels or napkins in our house, and it’s not costly at all.

We can use these things when we ran out of coffee filters. To use this method, follow the instructions-

Take a paper towel or napkin and put it inside a cup. Try to give it a cone shape. Place two spoons (if you want it dark, then use as you please) of coffee in the napkin and slowly start to add warm water or a bit hotter than warm water in it. Keep stirring.

When the cup is almost full, stop and removes the napkin from it, throw it in the dustbin with the remaining coffee grounds on it.

The downside of this method is a lot of coffee ground remains sometimes. The taste may seem a bit weird because of the napkin or paper towel. There is also a chance of the napkin chemical mixing with the coffee. Well, that being said, it’s not the end of the world if a little bit of chemicals is there!

3. Coffee Bag:

Like the tea bag, you can buy some coffee bags for coffee filter substitutes! That sounds interesting. You may find some in the nearest coffee shop or grocery store. You don’t need a filter to make a cup of coffee.

The bag holds somewhere around two teaspoons of coffee. All you have to do is boil some water and let it cool down a bit. Pour the water in a cup and drop the bag in it. Let it steep there for 2-5 mins depending on how strong you want it. 2-3 mins will give a typical taste while 5-6 mins may provide a strong flavor. After using a bag, always remember to put it in the dustbin. The negative side of this method is, you won’t have those packs in your house all the time. You have to go out to buy some! That seems tiring already! Or not!

4. Reusable tea bags:

You will find the tea bags in a super shop or a grocery store. Buy some and keep them for later use. When you find no filters for the coffee maker, use them as replacements for coffee filters.

Put two spoons of coffee in a bag and seal it. Fill a cup with hot water and place the teabag inside. Let it steep for some minutes and remove the bag. Add sugar if needed. You can also use milk if you want. That’s easy and very time efficient.

Diy coffee filter with tea bags from your kitchen by removing the tea from it.

However, you will not always have tea bags in your house. It is more expensive than other substitutes.

5. Using a clean cloth:

Do you have a clean cloth that is not thick and that you can clean easily or throw it away? If yes, you can use that as a substitute for a coffee filter.

Get a nice and clean cloth and place it on the top of your cup. Make sure to leave some of it outside. It would be best if you bound it with a rubber band or a ribbon. Now, put two spoons of coffee on it.

If you have coffee beans, then grind them and place them on the cloth. Start to add hot water slowly and stir it as you do. After it’s done, add anything that you use with coffee like sugar or anything. And if you like it raw, then you have made a nice cup of coffee there.

This substitution will give you a hard time cleaning it. And if you throw a cloth piece, then that will cost you a lot every time. Sometimes if the colored cloth is used, the color may leach into the coffee as well. But this is handy when you have to make coffee in an emergency.

6. No filter way:

Sometimes when you have nothing to filter with, just don’t filter it! There is always a way, and it’s not that bad without filtering with a paper or cloth, etc. This is a method that I use most of the time. Well, I am a little forgetful and often forget to buy coffee filters. And I use this one because I don’t have to bring anything else too!

So, here is what you will do. First, place two spoons of coffee inside the cup. Add a little hot water and mix it thoroughly. Start to add more water to it. Keep stirring while you add water. If you haven’t shredded the bean, do it first.

After the mixing is complete, pour the coffee from one cup to another and leave the coffee ground in the first cup. See, that’s a straightforward and time-saving method.

I don’t think I have any cons for my favorite way! Joking. Well, you may find some unmixed coffee shreds. But that’s not a big deal.

Reusing coffee filters:

Coffee Filter Substitutes

You may ask- can you reuse coffee filters?

Well, coffee filters can be used several times. Don’t just throw away each filter just after using one time. Use it four to five times because, after that, it will stop working efficiently. By doing so, you are saving money and getting the most out of your filters.

You have to clean the coffee grounds and rinse it. Place it in the coffee maker, and it should be good enough to have one more cup of coffee.

There are some coffee makers with permanent filter build inside. You can buy one of them as coffee filter alternatives or getting rid of the tension of buying new filters or changing one.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


After reading the article, I hope you will find a coffee filter substitute when you run out of one. We may likely find ourselves in that situation, and you now know how to get out of it. I’m not saying that you have to use these methods right away.

I prefer a good coffee filter for better filtering. There is no perfect coffee filter replacement, I think. I’m saying that you should know the other ways because you never know what you will face and when.

So, did you use any of the methods before reading this? Or will you try one now? Or do you know a better substitute that you want to share? Don’t hesitate to write that down.

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