As Amazon Associate, we earn a small fee from qualifying sales. Read our full disclosure here.

Coffee Filter Substitutes Available at Home

Did you forget to get coffee filters from the store? It’s saturday morning and you probably don’t feel like stepping outside.

Don’t be disappointed, whatever the reason. To filter coffee, most kitchens utilize a paper filter or reusable stainless steel, plastic, and cotton cloth or cotton sock, but there are more than ten alternate choices available in your kitchen.

Alternatives for Coffee Filter

Coffee filters can be substituted by using paper towels, napkins, or tissues in place of store-bought cone or basket filters. You can also use sustainable methods like metal mesh, sieve, clean socks, stockings, old t-shirts, cheese cloth, dish towel, or muslin cloth. Furthermore, You can make coffee without using a Filter by brewing techniques such as Instant coffee, French press, Mokapot, and Cowboy coffee.

Some of these coffee filter replacement methods will surprise you. You could even skip using paper coffee filters entirely. Few of these environmentally friendly alternatives have been available for a long time. And other substitutes like Japanese cloth filter, Turkish coffee, Vietnamese coffee do not require coffee filter, but they do need prior purchasing of equipment. But worth trying at times.

I personally use stainless steel strainer or a cotton coffee sock when I’m not brewing my coffee in Frenchpress.

I have even mentioned alternatives to not require a coffee filter at all. let’s get into the details of how to use all of these Coffee filters alternatives.

The alternatives for paper coffee filters are Paper towels, Napkins and Tissue.

1. Paper Towel or Napkins or Tissue

A paper towel is an easy substitute for coffee filters that are quite handily available at home. 

How to Use: Fold the paper towel to fit the size of the filter basket, then add a couple of layers to produce a clear liquid.Paper towel also removes fine coffee grounds but imparts a chemical taste to the coffee. Because of the possibility of tearing due to hot water, this is the least desirable alternative among all others.


  • Readily available in the kitchen
  • Clean coffee – no fine grounds. no coffee oils


  • Might tear due to hot water
  • Coffee might taste bleachy because of chemicals that went in the making of paper filters

There are a few other ways you can enjoy drinking coffee without using a paper filter.

2. Cheesecloth or Dish Towel or Muslin Cloth

Cheesecloth is a cloth material used to strain liquids and to filter liquids whilst cooking. It will be really helpful to use cheesecloth to strain your coffee too. 

How to Use: Simply fold the cloth twice and cut it to fit your filter basket.Then pour the coffee through the cloth to filter it. Muslin cloth or a cloth napkin, depending on availability, may also be useful. Simply follow the same steps as using cheesecloth. It’s like magic! Cloth also filters out the smallest particles, resulting in a clean cup of coffee. Can also be used similarly for drip and pour over coffee.


  • Easily available in kitchen
  • Clear coffee – no fine grounds, no coffee oils
  • Great flavor coffee


  • Removing coffee stains out of the cloth
  • If you prefer coffee with oils, it might taste little weak

3. Stockings/ Clean Sock/ Reusable Tea Bag

I guarantee this isn’t as bad as it sounds. Using a clean sock or stockings is an absolutely easy process to filter coffee grounds and trust me, this will not let you down. 

How to Use: Simply place your coffee grounds in a sock/stocking or reusable tea bag and place it in hot water to brew. When you believe the coffee has been brewed to your liking, simply remove the sock and enjoy your beverage. You may also use it as a pour-over coffee, but be sure to use coarse grind coffee for this approach.

Instead of a sock, a washable cotton tea bag will work here. Although the cotton tea bag is difficult to clean, it performs admirably as a coffee filter alternative.


  • You definitely can find one at home
  • Steeping increases the strength of coffee
  • Easy to filter coffee, just remove the sock


  • Not a well known method
  • Difficult to clean
Coffee Filter Substitutes

4. Old T shirts

Old t-shirts also act like cotton sock to filter coffee grounds, it even helps remove coffee oils, and results in a clean cup. Try to use a cotton tshirt for better results.

How to Use: Fold an old tshirt and set it above the cup. Once the coffee is prepared, pour it into the cup over the tshirt. Once the tshirt has been cut to the desired form, it can also be used in brewing methods such as pour over and drip coffee.


  • Easy to use, easily available
  • Clean cup of coffee


  • Removes coffee oils during filtering
  • Not a strong coffee

5. Metal Mesh/ Sieve

Metal mesh filters or sieves are easily accessible, reusable, and an excellent option for paper filters. Mesh filters are a great option for those who want a robust coffee with a full-bodied flavor. Metal filters are constructed from stainless steel or aluminum.

How to Use: Place metal mesh or sieve above the cup, and pour the brewed coffee. They do not remove fine particulates or filter the oils in coffee like a typical paper filter. However, if you enjoy your coffee with oils, using metal mesh can help you get the flavor you want. This may take a few more seconds to clean. However, it saves you a lot of money on purchasing and wasting paper filters.

A cloth coffee filter will also do the job just as well as metal mesh. The next time you’re at the store, pick one up for long-term use.


  • Reusable, Eco friendly
  • Affordable, durable


  • Mud Coffee with fine particles

How To Make Coffee Without A Filter?

Making coffee without a filter is easy with ways like Frenchpress, Mokapot, Instant coffee, and Cowboy Coffee. The Frenchpress has an inbuilt coffee filter that pushes the coffee grinds down and produces a clean coffee. The Mokapot, on the other hand, produces an espresso-like result that may be used as a base for a variety of other coffee beverages. Instant coffee is a drink that can be made quickly when you need it.

On the bright side, coffee made without coffee filters in a french press or mokapot tastes strong and full of flavor, and you can make any kind of coffee you want too. Changing the way you make coffee is a great way to enjoy it without a coffee filter.

How To Make Coffee Without A Filter?

Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is a great way to avoid worrying about the availability of coffee filters. Most people dislike instant coffee, but in situations like this, quick coffee comes in handy.

Making instant coffee only takes a few minutes. You only need hot water and instant coffee granules. Try picking up an instant coffee the next time you go shopping and use it as needed.

Although instant coffee may not provide the same experience as freshly brewed coffee, it is adequate.

French press

The French press is a fantastic coffee filter free coffee brewing method. A French press is a basic and manual brewing method developed in France during the 18th century. Plunger pot, Press pot, French press, and Coffee machine piston are all names for this world-famous brewing process.

A French press is a method of immersion brewing. Metal mesh is integrated into the French press, which requires coffee grounds to be directly submerged in hot water for a few minutes. After the brewing process, slowly lower the metal filter, allowing the coffee grounds to settle to the bottom. Pour coffee into a cup without using a paper filter.

Find the best beans for frenchpress coffee and choose the coffee grinder wisely for french press, coarser the grounds, better coffee output.

How To Make French Press Coffee?

  • Select coarse ground coffee beans
  • Measure coffee grounds to water ratio
  • For every 1 cup water (8 oz) – 2 tbsp (14gm) of coffee
  • Preheat the French press ( rinse it with boiling water)
  • Check water temperature 
  • Add coffee grounds and water to French press (stir them actively)
  • Time the brewing (4 min is ideal)
  • Press the plunger down slowly
  • Serve and enjoy the drink!


Mokapot is a simple method to enjoy wonderful espresso coffee on a daily basis, not simply when you run out of coffee filters. Mokapot is a stovetop coffee maker designed by an Italian in the nineteenth century, which requires no coffee filter at all .

Water is present in the Mokapot’s lower part. When heated, steam forces water through a basket filled with ground coffee to the upper part. Pour the coffee into a cup, dilute to taste, and enjoy!

How To Make Mokapot Coffee?

  • Select espresso grind coffee 
  • Fill the bottom part of Moka pot with hot water
  • Fill the basket with coffee grounds and let it settle loosely 
  • Place the basket in the bottom compartment 
  • Screw both upper and the lower part of Moka pot
  • Place the container on stove at medium heat
  • Coffee is collected on the upper chamber
  • To avoid the metallic taste, remove the container from the stovetop if you see bubbles or hissing sounds. 
  • Pour it in mug, dilute according to your taste

Make A Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy coffee is a very old process of heating coarse ground coffee with water over an open fire. It’s like making a French press coffee without a filter. Keeping aside the usual brewing process that we are accustomed to, this is something worth trying.

How To Make Cowboy Coffee?

  • Boil the water in a pot
  • Remove the pot & let it sit for 30sec
  • Add 1 tablespoon of ground coffee for 1 cup of water. (considering the pot size, measure accordingly)
  • Let it sit for 4 minutes, stir twice in this period
  • Check if the coffee grounds are settled at the bottom
  • Carefully pour coffee in a cup
  • Enjoy the drink!

This American tradition of making coffee is popular in camps. But we all know boiling coffee makes it bitter and highly acidic, so to reduce acidity in coffee add eggshells or salt while boiling water. Eggshells also help coffee grounds to settle at the bottom, making it easier to drink.

These coffee filter alternatives are feasible and easy to find.

Coffee Filter Alternatives
List of the best Coffee Filter Alternatives

That’s it! The coffee filter is not required. 


Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest, or Instagram.

Leave a Comment