Alternative uses for coffee filters

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Besides filtering coffee, coffee filters can be used in lots of other ways around the house. Coffee filters are not only cheap, but can be recycled too. The fine-textured, food-grade paper of the typical coffee filter makes it perfect for so many things…

Make a Disposable Funnel

If you need to pour something that’s messy like motor oil, solvents, or cooking oils, you can avoid the cleanup by making a quick, effective and inexpensive funnel from a coffee filter, which you can then toss. Simply snip off the bottom (of a cone-shaped filter) and insert it into the neck of the container you’re pouring in. You can also use this idea when making salad dressings or marinades that contain herbs or other ingredients that you use for flavoring but don’t necessarily want to eat. Mix your marinade/dressing, let marinate and when ready, pour through the coffee filter into a pretty bottle. (For this method, I used a basket filter and didn’t cut a hole in the bottom. The oil/vinegar mixture I wanted to keep went through the paper right into the bottle.)

Keep Soil in the Pot

Over time, even if you’ve layered rocks and pebbles in the bottom of a potted plant, all the watering washes the soil down into the rocks, compacting it and washing the soil right out of the drainage hole. To prevent losing the soil, which can expose the roots, lead to a loss of nutrients and make a muddy mess under the plant, use a coffee filter. Simply line the inside of your planter with a coffee filter or two and then add your soil and plant. The filter will allow water and air to filter through but keep the soil from escaping.

Rust-Proof Cast Iron Pots & Pans

Cast-iron pots and pans are expensive so why chance rusting? Cast-iron will rust if not dried immediately after washing but damp air can cause it to develop rust (while it’s not being used) too. To prevent this, store your cast iron with a coffee filter spread out on the inside surface. The filter helps absorb excess moisture, keeping your skillet in perfect condition and ready to use.

Apply Shoe Polish

If you polish your shoes, you probably already have a rag you use but that rag can stain other items if they touch while being stored and they just get nasty.

To prevent a mess from happening, apply the polish with a basket-style filter (not a cone filter) and polish with a second, clean filter. Simply toss after use.

Clean Windows

Cleaning windows with paper towel can leave lint behind and I haven’t had much luck using newspaper either. Using coffee filters instead will leave your windows spotless, streak-free, and there’s no lint left behind. Spray windows with your glass cleaner and then use coffee filters to wipe them clean and dry. The texture of the filters help scrub away the dirt while the close-knit fibers quickly absorb the glass-cleaning liquid which helps diminish streaking.

Detail a Car

To get every bit of dust and dirt off the dashboard and electronics in the interior of your vehicle, use a coffee filter. The filter is absorbent and lint-free, making it perfect for a quick and effective cleaning.

"Catch" Cork Pieces

Occasionally the cork comes apart when we open a bottle of wine and then we spend time fishing those pieces out with our finger. Now when it’s just the hubby and me, it’s really no big deal but when we have friends over, well, I don’t think they would appreciate the image of our fingers in their glass. If the cork comes apart when you open the bottle, simply hold a coffee filter over a pitcher, carafe or decanter and pour in the wine. The wine will easily pass through the filter while straining out the bits of cork.

Lengthen the Life of Lipstick

I had never heard of this but I tried it and it really works. Apply lipstick and then blot lips with a coffee filter. Next, use the same filter you blotted with and lay it over your lips and brush on a bit of face powder. The filter allows just enough powder through to set the color but won’t leave bits of fuzz like tissue does.

Filter Cooking Oil

I don’t personally reuse cooking oil but I know a lot of people who do. And the only reason I don’t is simply because I don’t deep-fry so I don’t have leftover oil. You can reuse cooking oil but you don’t want the bits and pieces of food you cooked ending up in your next dish. To salvage the oil, saving money, cool the oil and then filter it through a coffee filter, which gets all those floating bits and pieces out. Use a second filter as a funnel and put the oil back in your container.

Stop Bleeding Nicks

Whether it’s a paper cut or you’ve nicked yourself while shaving, you can stanch the bleeding fast without leaving behind those pesky pieces of lint you get when using tissue or toilet paper. Just cut a small strip from the coffee filter and apply it to the bleeding spot. The filter’s fibers will absorb the blood and help stop the bleeding.

Keep Greens Fresh

Save money by keeping your greens fresher longer with coffee filters. To keep your greens from wilting, which means less tossing and crisper salads, place a coffee filter in the bag or container of greens. The filter absorbs excess moisture that causes wilting.

Protect Fine China

You can buy fine china separators (usually made of felt that you place between plates, saucers and bowls to prevent scratching) but you’re going to pay a high price for them. Instead, place a coffee filter between each plate or cup. This prevents the pieces from rubbing against each other and getting scratched. And the filters will help keep dishes from getting dusty when not in use.

Diffuse Light for a Photo

Want professional looking portraits that look soft instead of looking like a driver’s license photo or mug shot? Hold or tape a coffee filter over the flash. This helps prevent the harsh look a flashbulb can create.

Just FYI
A stay-at-home mom/housewife invented the Melitta Coffee Filter. Amalie Augusta Melitta Bentz lived in Dresden, Germany in the early 1900′s. She was 35 years old and busy raising children and taking care of the house. She was displeased with the bitter grounds she tasted in her coffee each day, using the metal and porcelain filters that were on the market at the time. Thinking she could improve on this method, she took a metal pot, punched holes in it and lined it with paper from her son’s notebook. Grounds-free coffee dripped out of the bottom. Bentz took her invention to the Imperial Patent Office in Berlin and in 1908, was granted legal protection for her “filter top device with filtration paper.” More than 100 years later, they are still produced.

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