How to Make Your Own Coffee Filter at Home

The pleasure of beginning your day with the rejuvenating aroma of coffee can be undeniably delightful. However, it can be immensely exasperating when you’re all set to brew your morning pot, only to discover that you’re out of coffee filter papers.

However, all is not lost, there are several alternatives that will allow you to enjoy the fresh taste of your preferred coffee in the morning, without having to rush to the supermarket to stock up on filters first thing. 

Here are some alternative DIY coffee filters which you can use to make do until you can stock up again: 

Paper Towels

This is one of the most obvious and simple alternatives to use, however, there are a number of cautions if you go down this route. Many paper towels will just fall apart when wet so only use a strong one, and always fold them several times to make the pouch shape and make it stronger. 

Some paper towels have chemicals within them so never use this type as a coffee filter as you will end up with the chemicals in your morning brew. 

Make Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy coffee doesn’t need any kind of filter so is a great way to make your fresh coffee without filters if you need to. Just stir your ground coffee directly into a coffee pot and allow it to settle. The coffee grounds that haven’t dissolved will simply sink to the bottom, so when pouring into your cup, don’t pour in the last few centimeters of liquid.

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Use a Cloth

If you have a thin cloth such as cheesecloth, you can use this, folded over several times, and tucked into your coffee filter machine, ready to filter your coffee through. It can also be washed and used again and again if needed. It’s also not likely to fall apart as a paper towel would.

Use an Old Sock

Rather than use a coffee filter machine, you can DIY your coffee using a sock. Simply put the coffee into the sock and hold it over a pot, then pour the hot water through the sock. Be careful as the sock will get hot as you add the water. You can wash and re-use this sock, or a muslin bag as an alternative, as many times as you wish, making it very green.

Make Mud Coffee

Make your coffee directly in your cup, stir and leave to settle. If you add milk, don’t stir it as you will stir up the grounds at the bottom. Drink your coffee leaving the last few depths of coffee at the bottom as this will contain the mud or grounds. 

Buy a Reusable Filter

Most coffee filter machines will work just as well with a reusable coffee filter, which can be washed and used multiple times. These filters are usually meshed or metal, allowing them to be used as many times as you like. 

Filter-Free Coffee Pot

If you are fed up with running out of filters all the time and always having to be creative with them, then why not invest in a filter-free coffee pot. Both a French press coffee pot and a stovetop style pot, work well and neither of them needs paper filters to make your morning coffee. 

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Use Instant Coffee

Have an emergency pack of instant coffee in the cupboard as this gives you an alternative option for your caffeine fix when you run out of filters. Quick and easy coffee with minimum fuss. 

A Hanky

If you wanted a use for those packs of handkerchiefs you got for Christmas, these can be used as great coffee filters as long as they can be cut to the right size to fit your machine. They can also be washed and used again if need be.

An Old T-Shirt

If you are desperate for your coffee and don’t have anything else suitable, then you could always cut up an old thin t-shirt and use it to filter your coffee. It won’t be wearable afterward so make sure it’s one that you don’t want anymore. 

A Re-Usable Tea Bag

If you also enjoy tea and you already have a re-usable tea bag then you can use this for coffee as well, removing the need for filters going forward. They are another environmentally friendly option as they can be used over and over again. 

Related read: Coffee vs. Tea – Which is Better?

A Used Coffee Filter

As a last resort, if you didn’t get rid of your last coffee filter paper, it is possible to clean it out, dry it and use it again. Most of these filters will be able to be used a couple of times without any problems, but it’s not recommended to use them more than three times really as they are likely to rip, and then you will have coffee grounds in your cup.

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As you can see, if you run out of coffee filter papers for your machine, there are still plenty of options to choose from to enable you to have your perfect brew first thing in the morning, so next time the box is empty, don’t panic. 

Simply try one of our DIY coffee filter options and always make sure you have a couple of filter-free choices in your cupboard, whether it’s keeping a small French press on hand for emergencies, or a jar of instant, running out of filters needn’t mean a disastrous morning. 

If you are looking for a greener option to paper coffee filters then our list can help as well, with several washable and reusable options included, which not only prevent you from ever finding yourself filter-less, but they are also less expensive and better for the environment as well. 

From the DIY sock or cloth option to investing in a permanent mesh or wire filter, either way, you will still get all the fresh taste from your ground coffee without going through hundreds of paper filters per year. 

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