Tea Bags. Wrap loose leaf tea in a filter, then secure and suspend from a piece of string.
Line potted plants. Put a used coffee filter in the bottom of planters to prevent fine dirt particles from falling through the bottom.
Help little hands stay clean. Though adults should be responsible and not rely on disposable dinnerware, sometimes a coffee filter is the perfect size to contain finger foods (and protect carpet or clothing) in young hands. Try shove a popsicle stick through a filter to catch cold, sticky drips.
Embroidering. Use a coffee filter as an easy-to-tear backing for embroidering soft fabrics.
When making soups or sauces. Tie up flavorful, but unedible, ingredients- such as bay leafs, cinnamon sticks, woody herb stems – in a coffee filter and float while cooking for easy removal. The French call this a bouquet garni.
As a coffee filter. Coffee filters can be reused four or five times. One the pot is full, empty the grounds and reuse, then rinse the filter and let it dry, and it’ll be ready the next morning.
Save a bottle of wine. If your cork accidentally breaks when opening a bottle, wrap a filter around the top to strain any particles. Use a piece of ribbon, and it looks nicer than you’d think.
Protect Cast Iron. Place a coffee filter in cast iron cookware to absorb excess moisture and prevent rust.
Strain bacon drippings. While hot, pour bacon drippings through a coffee filter into a ceramic bowl or mug. The brown bits, grains, and other nasties stay in the filter. Also works well for frying oil.
Prevent microwave splatters. Place on top of leftovers when microwaving to prevent messes. Wash and dry, and reuse every time you microwave.
Soften lights when taking indoor photos. Put a coffee filter over lights, lamps, or even your flash to lessen the harshness of direct light.
Create faux flowers. Dip coffee filters in colored water, and allow them to slurp up the tint. (Alternatively, wet them and color with markers). Let them dry, then cut in petal shapes. Arrange and wrap around a bamboo skewer or pipe cleaner, and secure. Great for kids, and tongue-in-check for adults.
Prevent cookware and china from scratching. Place a coffee filter between china when stacking to protect the surface, or use between non-stick cookware when storing.
Measuring cups for dry ingredients. Use coffee filters to hold pre-measured dry ingredients when baking or creating a fast-cooking recipe (like a stir-fry or pad thai). Then dust them off, and REUSE.
Reusable dusting rags. Wipe soft surfaces – like glass TV screens or mirrors – with a coffee filter to grab the dust. Rinse and let dry, and reuse.
Note: Coffee filters are paper products, and shouldn’t be used wastefully. Most of the time, they can be rinsed and continually reused for similar purposes. Common tricks, like using coffee filters as bowls for snacks and chips, should be avoided in favor of solid, washable serving vessels.
[Photos from Coffeemakers Etc, tabulatua.com, whatscookingamerica.com, wedgewoodusa.com]