4 Practical Coffee Filter Substitutes You Can Find At Home

You just opened your eyes and all you want is to get that morning dose of caffeine. You wander over to your kitchen to brew yourself a joe only to realize that you've forgotten to buy coffee filter papers at the store! Disaster strikes before even a single sip of freshly brewed coffee have touched your lips. So, if you ever find yourself longing for that morning coffee cup but without the necessary coffee filters, look no further.

A myriad of excellent alternatives will not detract from your beans' flavour and aroma. We've got great news - some common household items can be used as coffee filter paper substitutes, so there's never again any need to go without your favourite beverage. Here we'll discuss five things you can use in place of traditional coffee filters, ensuring an uncomplicated and flavorful brew every time.

Substituting With Paper Towels/Napkins

The most common alternative to coffee filter paper

If you're ever in a pinch and don't have access to an actual coffee filter, then there's no need to worry. Utilizing paper towels or napkins can be just as effective! However, it is important that you keep an eye out for the type of towel used — opt for unbleached brown varieties instead since they are usually healthier with better taste than those treated with chemicals.

How To Use

By following your daily morning routine, you can simply place a paper towel or napkins to cover the compartment in which you would usually put the filter. Attention is key as having grounds spill into your coffee and ruin it could happen if not all of the space inside that section is properly filled and covered with towels/napkins.


  • Ease of use
  • Inexpensive
  • Fine weave filters out grounds well


  • Prone to breakage and flimsy
  • May possibly contain taste-altering chemicals

Using Fine Mesh Sieves

No compromise in flavour, but with the downside of grounds in the coffee

If you're an avid cook or baker, chances are that a mesh sieve is already in your kitchen arsenal. This same utensil can also be used as an effective alternative to coffee filter paper to create a delicious and aromatic cup of joe. Not only does it produce great-tasting coffee with minimal effort, but using this versatile tool saves time and money too.

How To Use

Place the desired amount of grounds in your glass cup to create a rich and flavorful cup of coffee. Pour hot water over them and stir them up once. Allow the mixture to steep for around five minutes before transferring it with a fine-mesh sieve into an awaiting mug. Enjoy your freshly brewed coffee!


  • Ease of use
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Excellent to taste


  • Not very common
  • Fine grounds may seep through
  • Hard to clean

Adjusting With Cloth Napkin/Dish Towels 

A convenient method with a compromise in flavour

A clean dish towel or cloth napkin can also be used as a filter, however, remember that coffee has the tendency to stain. As such, it is best to select fabrics you don't have an emotional attachment to in order to protect them from being ruined by your favourite beverage.

How To Use

Fit your reusable dripper into the compartment that would usually house a coffee filter, add the grounds and let it brew like usual. Don't forget to clean it thoroughly afterwards because of the staining.


  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Inexpensive and quite sturdy
  • Traps the finer coffee grounds in the brew


  • Can impart unwanted flavours
  • Clothes may stain
  • Higher chances to lose the flavour

Making Do With Reusable Tea Bags

Expensive and uncommon way of doing it, but quite convenient

If you're a regular tea brewer like a coffee lover, then reusable bags are your best friends! This creative solution is ideal for at-home use and works wonders. Plus, it's quite easy to make—you just need to be ready with some inspiring ideas and materials.

How To Use

To achieve the perfect cup of coffee, simply fill your teabag with two tablespoons or less of grounds. Then take an empty mug and submerge the bag into hot water for four to five minutes (longer if you favour strong flavours). That's all it takes! Now enjoy a flavorful brew that will give you just what you need to start your day off right.

Making your own tea bag at home if you do not have tea bags is quite simple too. Take a sheet of paper, fold it in half and add the desired amount of coffee grounds. Seal up the packet by tying some string around it securely; you now have an instant reusable tea bag for brewing delicious beverages at home.


  • Stronger flavour due to steeping
  • Ease of use
  • Filtration of grounds from the cup


  • A more expensive and less popular method

You no longer have to worry about running out of your typical coffee filter paper next time you're making yourself a cuppa. We've provided five viable alternatives that can easily be found in any home. The mesh sieve and teabags are the most effective options for producing a rich, flavorful cup of java - however, if these items aren't readily available to you then don't fret; there are plenty of other options at your disposal.

Although paper and cloth options are widely available in most kitchens, they may impart extra flavours to your coffee due to their chemicals and detergents. You might not get the taste you're accustomed to, but it's better than no coffee! If all else fails, why not try some of these other types of coffee brewing methods?

On a separate note, what kind of coffee beans do you consume for your daily cup of coffee? Is it something aromatic, or something brimmed with flavour or have you not given it a proper thought at all? In case you haven’t, then you must start surfing the internet and order coffee online after thoroughly going through the various options available out there. And, in case you are not able to make a choice through that, how about trying your tastebuds at the Vienna Coffee Bean blend? It is a dark roasted 100% Arabica blend that gives you hints of bittersweet chocolate, burnt caramel and toasted walnut with every sip you take. A guaranteed brew of satisfaction!