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Life Hacks

19 Brilliant Uses for Coffee Filters

From perfecting a manicure to eliminating odor and more!

Coffee filters are one of those kitchen items we always have on hand — and usually in high quantities — like napkins, paper plates and zip-top bags. And the inexpensive little papers come in handy to help solve a host of household hassles, from ensuring household plants thrive to cleaning up messes and making food-prep easier. Read on for 19 brilliant uses for coffee filters!

1. Prolong the life of celery

Celery is a go-to snack topped with peanut butter or dipped in hummus. The only problem? It often wilts before you get the chance to finish it all. The simple way to keep celery fresh: Wrap washed stalks in coffee filters, place them in a sealed zip-top bag and store them in the fridge. “The tight weave of the filter wicks water away from the stalks,”  explains First for Woman Food Director Julie Miltenberger. The result? Crisp, crunchy celery!

2. Uses for coffee filters: get beautifully smooth legs

You already heated the wax from your at-home spa kit when you realize you’re out of strips. Reach for coffee filters instead! Cut each filter into a few strips and press over the warm wax. The filters’ fibers are woven together so tightly that they can withstand being yanked just as much as professional strips.

3. Rust-proof a cast-iron skillet

You recently splurged on a new cast-iron skillet and don’t want it to rust when it’s stashed away. To keep it in good condition, clean the pan after each use and place a flattened fresh coffee filter on its inside surface. Then, store in a cool, dry place.

“Coffee filters will absorb moisture and excess oil, so your pans are ready to use when you are ready to cook,” explains Noell Jett, mom of 5, author of Create Your Dream Home on a Budget, and the force behind @jettsetfarmhouse. “You can also use them to apply your oil as it won’t leave behind fuzzies like paper towels do on the rough cast-iron surface.” 

4. Uses for coffee filters: leave windows crystal-clear

Uses for coffee filters: Young woman washing window

The simple secret to getting spotless and streak-free windows: coffee filters! Simply spray the window with glass cleaner, then use a filter or two to wipe the glass clean and dry. The texture and close-knit fibers of coffee filters will lift grime and absorb the cleaning liquid to reduce streaking. Bonus: Unlike paper towels, coffee filters won’t leave lint behind.

“Filters are designed to withstand water so they won’t fall apart in your hand and are very inexpensive compared to paper towels!” Jett says. 

5. Keep a kitty entertained

Uses for coffee filters: A homeless cute cat, similar to a tiger cub in a shelter, looking for a home, helping animals
Mariia Zotova/Getty

Bust Whiskers’ boredom with a catnip-infused coffee filter. Crumple up coffee filters and shake them in a catnip-filled baggie. Remove and toss to him. The filter’s strong woven fibers retain the catnip scent for hours, so your kitty will have a blast batting her new “toy” around the house.

Related: Why Does My Cat Sniff My Face? Here’s the Reason Behind the Behavior

6. Uses for coffee filters: banish shoe odors overnight

All of those strolls outside have left your sneakers a bit stinky! The fix: Add 2 tsp. of baking soda to the center of two coffee filters. Secure closed with a rubber band and place one in each shoe. The coffee filters will allow the baking soda to deodorize the shoes, making them smell fresh and new the next time you put them on.

Related: How To Clean White Shoes So They Look New (And What Doesn’t Work)

7. Dust your TV vents 

“Air flow through TV vents allows the internal circuitry to operate at lower temperatures, preventing the television from overheating and breaking down,” says Mark Rumreich, author of The Electronics Repair Cookbook. To rid vents of the dust that can block that flow, wipe them down with a clean coffee filter once a month. The lint-free cloth gathers dust without leaving behind any particles and helps cut down on static, so the TV will be less likely to attract new dust.

8. Uses for coffee filters: prevent messy microwave splatters

Ugh! Last time you reheated leftover pasta in the microwave, red sauce splattered everywhere, leaving a mess to clean up. The secret to preventing spills: Loosely “tent” the bowl with a coffee filter when you pop it in the microwave. The filter will act as a lid to keep the sauce from splashing out, and its pores will allow steam to escape so your food won’t overheat.

9. Make lipstick last for hours

Next time you swipe on stome lipstick, guarantee it looks fresh and flawless for hours with this pro secret: After applying, blot your lips gently with a coffee filter, then lay it over your lips and brush on a bit of face powder. The filter lets just enough powder through to set the color, and it won’t leave lips fuzzy like a tissue can.

Related: Here’s the Best Red Lipstick for Your Skin Tone

10. Uses for coffee filters: ensure drilling without dust

Uses for coffee filters: Photo of a young woman remodelling her home on a budget, all by herself // DIY

You want to hang a few framed pictures around your house but don’t want tiny bits of drywall scattered all over your floor. To prevent a mess, poke the drill bit through the center of a coffee filter, with the paper forming a “cup” at the wall, then drill. Any scraps will be caught in the filter before they hit the floor. Problem solved!

Related: Gallery Wall Ideas: Design Pros Reveal the Secrets That Deliver Impressive Results

11. Repot plants without a mess

Uses for coffee filters: green succulent plants in white flower pots on white background near the window.

To ensure soil doesn’t leak out of the bottom of any new houseplants you buy, try this: Place a coffee filter or two in the bottom of the flowerpot before adding the dirt and the plant. The porous paper will allow water to drain while keeping all of the soil and nutrients inside the pot where they belong.

Related: How to Bring an Almost-Dead Succulent Back to Life

12. Uses for coffee filters: stop a nick from bleeding

If you get a paper cut or accidentally nick yourself with your razor while shaving, staunch the bleeding fast with this trick: Cut a small strip from a ­coffee filter and apply the paper to the spot. The filter’s fibers will absorb the blood and help stop the bleeding without leaving behind bits of lint like tissues or toilet paper would.

13. Protect fine china from scratches

Uses for coffee filters: Chinese porcelain in the bazaar

To ensure your china stays safe in storage, place a coffee filter between each plate or cup. This will prevent the pieces from rubbing against one another and getting scratched. Bonus: The filters will keep dishes dust-free, so they’re always ready to use.

14. Uses for coffee filters: fix a wine-cork mishap

Oops! The cork came apart as you were opening a bottle of wine for friends. Instead of fishing out pieces of cork from each glass, simply hold a coffee filter over a pitcher or carafe and pour in the wine. The filter’s pores will let the wine run through while straining out the bits of cork, so you and your guests can sip without worry.

Related: 18 Brilliant Uses for Wine Corks

15. Catch messy ice cream drips

When the ice cream man made his rounds, you surprised the little ones in your life with some ice pops, but the treats melted all over their hands. Next time, poke the stick through the center of a coffee filter. The paper creates a mini basket that will catch any drips as they fall, warding off a sticky mess. 

16. Uses for coffee filters: outsmart oily skin 

If the T-zone on your face is looking a little shiny, just grab some coffee filters! Cut them into quarters and store them in a plastic baggie in your purse. When you need to freshen up, press one to shiny spots on your skin. The porous material will soak up oil just as well as blotting paper — at a fraction of the cost. 

Related: The Trending Treatment That Leaves Skin Looking Radiant In Just 10 Minutes

17. Shuck corn on the cob with ease

Nothing beats corn on the cob as a side dish — if only removing the silk from the cob didn’t make such a mess! To make the process a breeze, try this: After removing the husks, dampen a coffee filter and rub it over each ear of corn, moving in the opposite direction of the silk. The silky strings will get trapped in the wet fibers of the filter, so you can easily pull them off. 

18. Uses for coffee filters: fix a broken fingernail

Next time the tip of your nail cracks, try this: Apply a coat of clear polish, then place a small piece of a coffee filter over the crack, trimming to fit; apply another coat of polish and let dry. The top coat fuses the filter onto the nail as it dries, creating a hardened tip that “seals” the crack and protects the nail so it won’t crack further! 

Too see this tip in action, watch this vidoe!

Related: Dazzle on a Dime: 12 French Tip Nail Designs That are Easy to Do at Home

19. Clean electronic screens without ruining them 

Electronics like flat screens and laptops can be dust magnets because their electric charge attracts airborne gunk. The solution: unused coffee filters. “Instead, apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to a coffee filter and use it to wipe down the phone,” says Tom Paton, founder of “Rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly so that it won’t damage your phone, and the coffee filter gently lifts away dirt.”

For more clever life hacks, keep reading!

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13 Brilliant Uses for Paper Bags That Have Nothing to Do With Shopping

14 Brilliant Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar

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