5 Substitutes for Coffee Filters That You Probably Have Lying Around the House

Running out of coffee filters is like a bad day. You wake up groggy and make your way to the coffee pot only to find that you’re out of filters. You search frantically through the cupboards and rummage through the drawers, but alas, no coffee filters are found.

But don’t despair! There are plenty of substitutes for coffee filters that you probably have lying around the house. Here are 5 of the most common:

5 Substitutes For Coffee Filters

Paper Towels

Chances are you have a roll or two of paper towels lying around the house. And if you don’t, your neighbor definitely does. Paper towels make for an excellent coffee filter substitute in a pinch. Just cut off a sheet that’s big enough to cover the opening of your coffee pot, and voila! You’ve got yourself a makeshift coffee filter.


Cheesecloth is a little bit more difficult to come by than paper towels, but it’s still a common household item. If you happen to have some cheesecloth lying around, cut off a square and use it just like you would a paper towel. Bonus points if you’ve got some cute-shaped cookie cutters!

Reusable K-Cups

If you’ve got a Keurig or another single-cup coffee maker, chances are you’ve got some reusable K-Cups hanging around. While they’re not technically filters, they serve the same purpose and can be used over and over again. Just fill them up with your favorite coffee grounds and brew away! 

Tea Strainers

Tea strainers make for great coffee filters if you don’t mind a little bit of sediment in your cup. Just put your tea strainer over your mug and pour away! If you want to avoid sediment altogether, give your coffee a quick swirl after it’s finished brewing.

Dish Towels

Dish towels are another common household item that can double as a coffee filter in a pinch. Cut off a square (or use an existing dish towel), wet it slightly, and drape it over your mug before pouring in the hot water. Once again, if you want to avoid sediment altogether, just give your coffee cup a quick swirl after it’s finished brewing.


So there you have it! The next time you find yourself in need of a coffee filter substitute, look no further than your own kitchen pantry or grocery list items. With these 5 substitutes on hand, you’ll never go without delicious coffee again!

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