Can you use a paper towel as a coffee filter?: Yes! Get the Best Ideas of 2022

We’ve all been there. It’s the middle of the afternoon, you have friends over for drinks, and you’re just about to brew the perfect cup of coffee. It’s been a long day and you need caffeine. But wait! There’s no paper filter! What do you do? You have no choice but to use a paper towel as a makeshift coffee filter.

Whether you’re saving money or just getting creative, one of the most popular questions you can ask yourself is whether or not can you use a paper towel as a coffee filter? The short answer is YES! You can use a paper towel as a coffee filter, but it’s not the best option. If you want to make sure that your brew is the best it can be, then you should probably look into investing in some woven mesh coffee filters…it’s worth it!

As a coffee lover, you understand how it feels like when you run out of coffee filters. However, running out of coffee filters is not a big deal, especially if you are not new to brewing your coffee. If you are an individual who is not DIY, you can make something for use from anything, and a coffee filter is no different.

In addition to paper towels, there are other alternative methods of making coffee filters if you run out of them. To better understand how to use a paper towel as a coffee filter, you should continue reading this article.

Can you use a paper towel as a coffee filter?: Yes! Here is your guideline…

When you run out of coffee filters, the first thing you will have to do is stay calm and let your DIY instinct kick in. Go ahead and check what you have in your stock and how you can use them as a coffee filter substitute. If you have a paper towel, then you are good to go.

Paper towels can act as an incredible substitute for a coffee filter. In addition to that, using it is pretty much straightforward and does not require any sophisticated skills to make one.

But, you need to know what the difference is between coffee filters and paper towels. Coffee filters are made out of woven mesh cloth, which is stretched across a perforated, circular metal frame. Paper towels are made from a sheet of absorbent cellulose pulp that’s been dried into sheets of paper.

The best of using a paper towel as a coffee filter is that you will not have to change the process at all. It means that the whole process is similar to using a standard coffee filter. The only difference here will be substituting a paper towel for a coffee filter.

Moreover, paper towels tend to have refined weaves. Meaning you will be able to find even some of the finest coffee grounds with ease. Therefore, when using a paper towel as a coffee filter substitute, there will be no coffee mud at the bottom of your cup.

How to make a paper towel coffee filter?

To do this, you will first have to line a dripping basket or pour it over with your paper towel.

Once that is done, take two tablespoons of coffee and then place it inside. Gradually start pouring approximately one cup of lukewarm water over your coffee grounds.

Once your water seeps through, remove your drip basket from your mug and then discard the paper towel along with the coffee grounds. The whole steps of making a paper towel coffee filter are pretty much straightforward, as discussed in the steps below:

  • Take your paper towel (full size) and then lay it flat.
  • Fold the paper towel vertically in half.
  • Once that is done, go ahead and fold the paper towel in half (in a square)
  • With everything in place, take your folded paper towel and then create a small pocket at the center. It is where your coffee grind will be placed and then placed in a coffee mug.
  • Add coffee grounds.
  • Once that is done, you will need to fold the edges of your paper towel to allow the lid of your coffee mug to close with ease.
  • Add warm water
  • By now, your coffee will be ready.

It is that straightforward! It is hard to believe how easy it is to make coffee filters using only a paper towel whenever you need it. This is a vital tip that any coffee enthusiast should always keep in mind when on the road and find out that you do not have any coffee filters left.

DIY Coffee Filter using Paper Towel – Lifehack

Coffee filter substitutes

While paper towels act as excellent coffee filters, there are other incredible coffee filter substitutes that you might consider using if you run out of coffee filters and do not have paper towels. Some of these coffee filter substitutes include:

Cloth napkin or dish towel

A clean cloth napkin or a dish towel can also serve as an excellent alternative for a coffee filter. To do this, you will need a clean cloth napkin or dishtowel, and when doing this, you need to factor in how you will feel when the coffee stains that cloth. Therefore, you will need to choose a clean cloth napkin accordingly.

Once you have a clean cloth napkin that best suits your need, you will go ahead and set it over an automatic drip or pour-over basket. Take approximately two tablespoons of coffee ground and then pour it gradually in your cup along with lukewarm water. Remove your napkin once the water has seeped through. Ensure to remove the napkin with utmost care to avoid spilling the coffee grounds and then rinse it right away.

When using a dish towel or cloth napkin, you will be able to filter your coffee with the utmost ease. Just like paper towels, cloth napkins or dish towels have significantly fine waves; this means that your coffee will be filtered to perfection. It makes it another highly reliable substitute for a coffee filter.

Cloth Napkin Or Dish Towel Coffee Filter
Cloth Napkin Or Dish Towel Coffee Filter (Photo: Perfect Daily Grind)


A mesh sieve is an incredible substitute for a coffee filter. Unlike other substitutes discussed in this article, a fine-mesh sieve does not require any process to create. It means that you will use it pretty much straightforwardly. Take the amount of coffee you want and then place it in a glass measuring mug.

Once that is done, take lukewarm water, pour it over the coffee grounds, and then stir it. With that done, wait for approximately five minutes or less depending on the amount of coffee you are using or strong you prefer your coffee to be.

Take the coffee and then pour it through your sieve into a different coffee mug. To minimize the amount of coffee ground that passes through the sieve, you should consider using cheesecloth over your sieve. It will help filter significantly fine coffee grounds.

Sieving is by far one of the best methods for filtering coffee ground since it does not involve throwing things away or folding stuff up to make a filter. In addition to that, a sieve is pretty much scalable, meaning you can use it to make a whole pot with the utmost ease. With a sieve, you will also have the chance to control the strength of coffee, hence guaranteeing you top-notch taste. It is arguably the best and easiest method of brewing coffee.

Using Tea Strainer For Home Brew Coffee


If you drink tea in addition to coffee, then you will probably have reusable tea bags lying around in your kitchen. It turns out that tea bags are also excellent for steeping coffee. As a DIY enthusiast, this procedure is pretty much straightforward and does not involve designing various stuff.

Take a significant amount of fine coffee ground, pour it into a reusable tea bag, and then seal it. Once done, take a mug and pour in lukewarm water, and put in your coffee while inside the teabag. Allow it to steep for a while, and then remove it once it attains the strength you prefer. And your freshly brewed coffee will be ready.

Unlike most DIY methods used as coffee filter substitutes, this method is pretty much mess-free. In addition to that, you will be left with relatively few coffee grounds in your mug. Teabags are also safe material for use; therefore, you will not have to worry about any chemicals seeping into your drink.

HOW TO: make tea bags / seed bags out of coffee filters

Frequently asked questions

Is it safe to use a paper towel as a coffee filter?

Yes, using a paper towel as a coffee filter is 100% safe. In addition to being safe, paper towels filter coffee grounds perfectly. Since paper towels have fine waves, using them as a coffee filter allows you to filter your coffee to perfection. This means that you will not be left with the coffee ground at the bottom of your coffee mug.

What can I use in place of coffee filters?

There are various things one can use as a substitute for coffee filters. As discussed above in this article, you can consider using a sieve, reusable tea bag, paper towels, or even a clean dish towel or cloth napkin in place of coffee filters. Therefore, you can always use these products with the utmost ease to steep your coffee.

Can you make coffee without a coffee filter?

Yes, you can make coffee without a coffee filter. While a coffee filter might be ideal in brewing coffee, it is not compulsory to use one. In case you run out of a coffee filter or are tight on budget, you can always consider the tip discussed above in the article when making coffee. You will be able to brew strong coffee when using the items discussed above.

Final verdict

When you run out of coffee filters, you should always look for reasonable alternatives. It would help if you did not let the lack of coffee filters block you from preparing your favorite beverage. With a paper towel, you can always make a coffee filter to filter your coffee to perfection.

Using paper towels is safe, meaning that you do not have to worry about your health safety. In case you do not have a paper towel, you can always consider using the other alternatives discussed in this article. As we conclude, we hope that you have found this article beneficial.

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