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25 Clever Uses for Coffee Filters That Have Nothing to Do with Coffee

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Coffee filters (without the coffee!)

There are a lot of trendy ways to make coffee these days, from French presses to pour over stainless steel filters. Or maybe you’re old school and use a percolator. But if you’re like most people, you’ve got a whole lot of coffee filters on hand to make sure you’re never without that morning cup. But did you know that coffee filters can be used for a lot more than just making your daily caffeine fix? These are our favorite uses (besides making coffee, of course!) for our extra coffee filters. Of course, it’s not just the filters that are extra handy—here are the incredible uses for coffee you’ve never heard of.

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Dry glassware

Water spots can be a real annoyance. You clean your glassware and think it’s been dried properly only to pull out a foggy, spotted glass that no one wants to drink out of. Enter the coffee filter. Because of the quality of paper used to make coffee filters (after all, who wants paper bits in their morning joe?), coffee filters don’t leave any lint or smears behind. This makes them perfect to fully dry off your glassware without a trace. This is why we call coffee “joe.”

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Control odor

A few teaspoons of baking soda and a coffee filter is all you need for a perfect deodorizing sachet! Put the baking soda in the coffee filter and twist it closed using rubber bands or a tight string. You can put your sachet in smelly shoes, odorous drawers, or a stinking refrigerator. Add a few drops of essential oils and it will emit your favorite scent for a long time.

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Makeshift dryer sheets

Ran out of your favorite dryer sheets? Some essential oil drops on a coffee filter will do the same trick. Here are the pros and cons of using dryer sheets vs. dryer balls.

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Clean stainless steel

Because coffee filters won’t leave any lint or residue behind, they’re a great cleaning tool. One of our favorite uses for coffee sheets in our cleaning repertoire is to use them to clean or polish our stainless steel for a perfect streak-free finish.

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Dust off your electronic screens

Whether for your television screen or your phone, coffee filters work better than almost any special screen-cleaning cloth out there.

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Clean your glasses

Next time you clean your glasses, try using a coffee filter instead of a tissue. Good quality coffee filters are made from 100 percent virgin paper, so you can use them to clean your glasses without leaving lint. You can also use them to safely polish mirrors and TV and monitor screens.

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Cover food in the microwave

Coffee filters are microwave-safe. Use them to cover bowls or dishes to prevent splatter when cooking or baking in your microwave oven. On the other hand, here are some ways you’re using your microwave wrong.

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Filter cork crumbs from wine

Don’t let cork droppings ruin your enjoyment of a good glass of wine. If your attempt at opening the bottle results in floating cork crumbs, just decant the wine through a coffee filter.

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Catch ice-cream drips

Next time the kids scream for ice cream bars or ice pops (or you want one!), serve it with a drip catcher made from basket-style coffee filters. Just poke the stick through the center of two filters and the drips will fall into the paper, not on the child or your carpet.

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Prevent soil leakage

When you’re repotting a plant, line the pot with a coffee filter to keep the soil from leaking out through the drain hole. Here are more expert gardening tips for beginners.

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Make an instant funnel

Cut the end off a cone-style coffee filter to make an instant funnel. Keep a few in your car and use them to avoid spillage when you add a quart of oil or two. Plus, check out these uses for toothpicks that don’t involve your teeth.

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Treat a fever

Soak a few filters in brewed tea or cold water and chill in your freezer. Fold the filter up to make a cold compress to tame a headache or puffy eyes.

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Spread oil or butter

Sturdy coffee filters won’t leave fibers behind on your baking pan; use one to evenly spread oil or butter over a flat surface when cooking. Here are some more kitchen hacks you’ll wish you knew sooner.

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Corral small objects

Building an IKEA cabinet or complicated Lego set? Set out a few coffee filters to hold all the small, easily lost pieces in one place. Here are some more ways to never lose anything again.

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Protect stacked plates

Whether storing your fine china on the shelf or packing your everyday dishes for transport, layer some coffee filters between each plate to prevent nicks and scrapes.

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Line a cookie tin or Tupperware

A coffee filter laid on the bottom of a food container will absorb excess oils and catch crumbs, leaving you an easy cleanup. Here are some more house cleaning tips from professional house cleaners.

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Make your own tea

Sprinkle your favorite mix of herbs into a coffee filter and tie up the top with a string. Steep in hot water and you’ve got some custom-made tea.

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Carry messy food

A cone filter is the perfect size for holding a pita, quesadilla, or other hot pocket on the go.

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Serve snacks, dish-free

A basket filter becomes a perfect makeshift bowl for popcorn, candy, chips, and other movie night favorites. Check out these handy uses for Q-tips you never knew about either.

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Take the perfect low-light photo

Soften the flash on your camera by holding a coffee filter over it when you shoot.

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Make a colorful goodie bag

Use some washable markers to draw a pattern on a coffee filter, then lightly mist it with water from a spray bottle. Fill the filter with candy or coins, fold into a pouch, and tie up the top with a ribbon.

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Rest a dirty spoon

Leave a basket filter open on your counter and rest your dirty spoon or spatula on it while cooking your favorite meal.

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Polish without a mess

Absorbent and durable, coffee filters are perfect for removing nail polish from your fingernails, or spreading shoe polish on your boots. Speaking of nail polish, check out these handy uses for cotton balls that don’t involve your nails.

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Keep skillets rust-free

Prolong the life of your good cast-iron cookware. Put a coffee filter in the skillet when it’s not in use. The filter will absorb moisture and prevent rusting.

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Line a sieve

If you save your cooking oil for reuse after deep-fat frying, line your sieve with a basket-style coffee filter to remove smaller food remnants and impurities.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest