10 Coffee Filter Substitutes You Never Knew About

If you go to make your morning cup of joe and realize you’re out of coffee filters don’t panic. There’s a number of different coffee filter substitutes you have laying around your house.

I suggest not using paper towels instead of coffee filters because they will fall apart and make a mess, not only in your mug but also in your coffee machine.

Stick around, I’m going to give you a couple of simple ideas and a few permanent solutions so you can avoid this problem in the future.


A quick and easy coffee filter replacement, a cheesecloth. Feel comfortable using a cheesecloth in your coffee maker. If you have any hidden in the kitchen, fold it over a couple of times or even snip it to fit your coffee machine and you’re ready to go.


The Sock

I‘m serious about using socks as a coffee filter substitute. In fact, coffee hipsters use socks as filters because they are more environmentally friendly than paper coffee filters.

There are two easy ways to try sock filtered coffee. One is to hold a sock full of coffee grounds over a container and pour hot water into the sock. The second method is basically the same except you pour the water into a pot first and then submerge your sock after.

Remember to use a coarse grind so the sock keeps the coffee together. Honestly, it doesn’t even need to be a sock. Stockings, a handkerchief, or even a cotton cloth would work equally well.

The Shirt

In case you are out of filters, cheesecloth, and none of your socks are clean you can reach for a shirt. That’s right a shirt. In case of an emergency, you can rest assured that a clean shirt can make a fine coffee filter. You should be warned, the coffee stain won’t wash out afterward.

Cupcake Sheet Cup

Layer 3 or 4 of these little suckers on top of each other and place them in your coffee machine. These cupcake cups are reliable coffee filter substitutes. Since the cups are already shaped like most coffee filters you won’t have to adjust them very much either.

Metal Reusable Filter

You could have avoided this dilemma altogether by investing a buck or two in a metal filter. There are several options for a coffee filter substitute, but a reusable filter is one of the most hassle-free.

Use a French Press

The French press doesn’t require any filters, to begin with, and it makes arguably the best coffee. If you are unsure how to use a French press here is a walkthrough. Since it’s relatively inexpensive you are saving money by getting used to the press in the long run.

Is French Press Better than Drip Coffee2

Cowboy Coffee

Ever heard of cowboy coffee before? Well, buckle up because you’re about to learn something new. Cowboy coffee is just coffee grounds boiled in a pot of water. No filter necessary. I know it might sound messy and not exactly what you’re used to but if done correctly, cowboy coffee can steal your heart.

Mud Coffee

You could just try to make coffee without a filter altogether. Mud coffee is made with 2 teaspoons of coffee boiled water in a mug. Let the coffee sit for a couple of minutes before you drink it as the coffee grounds will settle at the bottom of the mug. You’ll be able to get through almost the whole mug before any grounds end up in your mouth.

If you are adding sugar, milk, or cream to your coffee don’t stir it after the grounds settle. Try mud coffee next time you run out of coffee filters and see how you like it.

Instant Coffee

Even though it’s no substitute for your favorite cup of joe, instant coffee can be the pick-me-up you need in case of an emergency. Instant coffee has a long shelflife so it’s a good idea to have some tucked away in your kitchen for a dark hour.


There’s are so many things you can use in your kitchen to filter coffee. How about his little trick?


I hope you’ve picked up some tips on homemade coffee filters. There’s are many things you can do instead of running to the store after you use your last one. If you have anything to add to the list, feel free to mention it in the comment section!

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