What Can You Use Instead Of A Coffee Filter

So you’ve run out of coffee filters and desperately need your coffee?

Not to worry, there is more than one tried and true coffee filter substitute to rescue you.

cowboy coffee

Using perfectly simple methods and materials you might already have on hand in your home, you will soon have caffeine running through your system. ​We’ve found 7 coffee filter alternatives for you.

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#1 – Cowboy Coffee

Have you ever made cowboy coffee? Not only is it an extremely easy coffee filter substitute, but tastes really good if made well! You don’t need any special gadgets. Use 2 tablespoons of finely ground coffee per 8 ounces of water. Add water to a pot and bring it to a boil.

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#2 – Cheesecloth

If you have cheesecloth in the cupboard, fold it over itself a couple of times, cut it to fit your filter basket and filter the coffee through as usual. No further work is needed.

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#3 – Socks

Believe it or not, one of the oldest and most widely spread methods is making coffee with a thick cotton sock or piece of muslin.

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It is also more environmentally responsible than coffee filters because you can simply rinse or wash your cotton sock and reuse it! Place your coffee grounds in the sock, hold it over a pot and pour the hot water.

Alternatively, place the sock inside a pot, pour in the hot water and leave it to steep for a few minutes. Medium or coarse ground coffee works best. You can even use a handkerchief or pair of stockings, they also work just fine.

If you’re an eco-conscious coffee connoisseur but don’t quite love the idea of sticking your coffee where you feet used to be, there are also purpose made “reuseable coffee socks.”

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#4 – Mud Coffee

Another delicious tasting coffee filter alternative is “mud coffee.” Just put one cup’s worth of grounds in the bottom of your mug, pour in boiling water and stir a bit. The grounds will start settling. Wait a couple of minutes to let them settle fully, and you can drink nearly to the bottom without getting grounds in your mouth.

If you drink milk in your coffee, add it after the grounds start settling. Do not stir the coffee after the grounds have settled or it will become gritty. This works best with finely ground coffee.

#5 – Reusable Filters

Reusable metal filters are another excellent alternative and save you the cost of constantly buying paper filters.

#6 – French Press or Stovetop

French presses and Stovetop coffee makers make a delicious brew, are fairly inexpensive and you don’t need any paper filters to use them.

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#7 – Instant Coffee

It’s also a good idea to have instant coffee in the cupboard in case you run out of filters, but It’s also a good backup in case you run out of coffee beans.

Warning: Paper Towels

Not a good idea!

Paper towels can tear apart when exposed to high heat. Also, they’re treated with chemicals that can affect the taste of your coffee.


Regardless of which coffee filter substitute you use in your crisis situation, now you can make a backup plan for the future.

The next time you wake up and there are no coffee filters, don’t worry. People brewed coffee for centuries before us without filters, coffee pots or any gadgets. It’s definitely going to be a good and coffee-filled morning if you follow any of the above suggestions.​