Saturday, December 2, 2023

What Can I Use as a Coffee Filter? (10 Easy Substitutes)

by Mads

Running out of coffee filters is an experience you don’t want to have as a coffee lover. Nonetheless, the unfortunate do sometimes happen. A common question that people ask themselves when such happens, and they don’t feel like leaving their apartment to get something caffeinated, is, “what can I use as a coffee filter?.”

If you’re one of those that ask this simple question, you should know that you’re in the right place. This article will unveil different easy substitutes for your run-out coffee filter. Sit back to learn these coffee filter substitutes.

10 Different Coffee Filter Substitutes

What Can I use as a coffee filter? Relax! There is a solution if you realize that your coffee filters are all run out after you’ve prepared to have a cup of coffee. Do you know what the good news is? You have numerous alternatives around your house. Check out some of them below.

1. Cheesecloth

Don’t be astonished to hear that cheesecloth can be a great substitute for a coffee filter. Typically, it is a versatile fabric that can efficiently strain liquids during the making of cheese from milk. But another significant filtration use of cheesecloth is to brew morning coffee.

As a DIY coffee filter, you can comfortably use cheesecloth by folding it over (a couple of times will do) or cutting it to fit the coffee machine. Place it on a glass dispenser, and put your grounds in the cloth. Pour your hot water on the grounds slowly and watch as it seeps into the glass dispenser via the cheesecloth.

2. Paper Towels

Using a paper towel is an easily accessible coffee filtering method. This is because many people keep paper towels in their kitchens.

This coffee filter substitute is used by folding it twice into cone-shape before creating an opening. You will then place the makeshift filter into the pour-over dripper or the drip basket of the coffee maker.

Although it can break easily due to how thinner it is than the normal coffee filter, a paper towel can remarkably hold fine grounds. However, it is not recommended for frequent usage because it contains traces of chemicals, glue, or bleach. But for emergencies, paper towels are ideal for coffee filtration.

3. Coffee Sock

This coffee filter substitute is referred to as a coffee sock because it appears just like the normal socks you use. The coffee sock is remarkably more eco-friendly when compared to a paper coffee filter.

To use this sock, place your grounds in it and put the sock into a mug. Pour your hot water on the sock, wait patiently, and remove the sock to enjoy your coffee.

Moreover, it is essential to note that the coffee sock is reusable. All you need to do is wash it after use. Also, for the sock to keep the coffee together, you may need to use a coarse grind.

4. Reusable Metal Filter

The reusable metal filter is characteristically environmentally friendly, just like the coffee sock, and significantly hassle-free. It features a fine mesh screen to hold the grounds properly. To make your coffee through this metal filter, pour hot water over the filter and get the coffee freshly brewed.

5. French Press

As an earth-friendly coffee filter substitute, you will find it comfortable using the French press to make delicious coffee in the morning.

The French press comes with a cup and a plunger. Pour boiling water into the cup containing your coffee grounds, mix, and wait for a few minutes. The next step will be to move the plunger slowly down the cup and pour the coffee out into a mug when the plunger touches the bottom.

6. Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy coffee is a great substitute for a run-out coffee filter. Even though it is a traditional campfire classic, it is an excellent method in any modern kitchen. It involves a brewing process that requires no filter. All you do is put your grounds in boiled water, stir, wait for about 5 -10 minutes, pour the coffee slowly into a mug, and enjoy the coffee.

7. Mud Coffee

All required to make mud coffee are fine grounds and boiling water. You should add them together in a mug, allowing the grounds to sit at the bottom.

After the settling of the grounds, you are good to go. But ensure you do not drink the dregs. Are you asking if you can add milk, sugar, or cream? Yes, you can. But make it before the grounds settle.

8. Fine Mesh Sieves

Do you have a metal sieve in your kitchen? Although it’s designed specifically for straining flour, you can use it as a coffee strainer during an emergency. 

Put your grounds in hot water and wait for about 4 to 5 minutes. Place the fine-mesh sieve over the coffee pot and pour the coffee over it. Voilà! Your favorite is ready.

9. Shirt

Several people don’t know that their shirts can save them from having to go out and buy some coffee filters if you run out. Also, it’s a method you opt for when you’re out of cheesecloth or see that your socks are unclean. It is crucial that you know the shirt must be clean and will heavily get stained after coffee filtration.

10. Reusable Tea Bags

Although not so creative when compared to other coffee filters, reusable tea bags can be a saver during your time of emergency. To use it, place your grounds in the tea bag and dig it in a mug containing hot water. Wait for about 4 to 5 minutes to let the team bag soak. Then you can enjoy your drink.


We hope your question “what can I use as a coffee filter?” has been explicitly answered. The tips in the article are offered so that you know the immediate and most affordable steps to take when you run out of coffee filters. Don’t let the lack of an ordinary filter deny you the morning pleasure of gulping freshly brewed coffee.

Related Posts