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The common coffee filter has so any alternative uses around the house it is amazing they remain in stock at any store. Like so many other things around house that can do wondrous things when a little outside of the box thinking takes place, coffee filters can save you many headaches and help keep your house in order in ways you never imagined. If you’ve only been using them to strain those magic grounds in the morning, read on to find out what you’ve been missing.

Starting in the kitchen, coffee filters can actually help preserve the look of your dinnerware. Instead of stacking plates, bowls, and teacups in the cupboard one on top of the other as most people do, slide a coffee filter between them when stacking. This will keep them from acquiring surface scratches quite so quickly and the best thing is a single filter can be re-used over and over.

They make a great homemade tea bag. By placing tea in the center of a loose filter and tying a piece of string around it, you now have the easy ability to make any blend of tea you want in a matter of seconds.

Likewise when you are making your secret homemade sauces or soups, you can tie up ingredients like cinnamon sticks, herbs with woody stems, and bay leaves in a coffee filter. The french call this a bouquet gami, and while they may not use a coffee filter to make them it works just as well. Once you have whatever you intend to use toed up in the filter simply float in in the pot. Before serving you can remove it. If you are the type of person that hates coming across the inedible but oh so tasty spices necessary to make many great brews, this is the perfect solution.

Coffee filters are perfect for straining things like used cooking oil or bacon grease. Just pour the contents into the filter and it will remove the clumps and foreign bits of whatever was fried. If this is something you regularly do in the kitchen, give this filtering technique a try and you will notice the difference right away.

You can use a coffee filter, or two to be a bit more accurate, when you use the microwave. Anything you put in the microwave that splatters when it heats up can be avoided by placing one or two filters over its top. It is absorbent, it’s cheap, and it works.

For people that are on the go and like to speed up cooking, having a few filters handy is a blessing. As you measure out all the dry ingredients you will need you can empty them into a coffee filter. This way once you need them you simply have to reach for them and empty them in.

One of the greatest alternative uses for a coffee filter is aimed at those who have little ones at home. Kids love Popsicles, but Popsicles and kids often equals a big mess. Rather than depend on leaving the wrapper on the stick and hoping that will catch drips, or using a more expensive and bulky tissue or paper towel, poke the stick through the middle of a coffee filter and make sure it has the “bow;” side of the filter pointing up. Even if the tot scrunches the filter it will still catch and absorb drips like magic.

You can place coffee filters in the cast iron cookware to cut down on rusting as they dry. Just spread a couple filters around to cover most of the surface area and they will absorb the remaining moisture. Never again will you had the red badge of shame marking these items.

If you’ve had the misfortune of breaking a cork in a wine bottle a coffee filter can be your hero. Place it over the mouth of the bottle when pouring and it will strain any broken bits of cork in the liquid with no problem. If you need to dress it up a bit you can tie a ribbon around the neck of the bottle to hold it in place. A coffee filter won’t serve as a proper stopper to store your wine for another day, but it will allow you to drink it right away without spitting out bits of cork.

Other uses for coffee filters around the house include being used to apply shoe polish, lining flower pots, as a sewing backing, cleaning windows (including surfaces like eyeglasses), as a camera flash filter, cleaning chrome, to make sachets, polishing wood furniture, storing fragile Christmas ornaments, and as a holder to sprout seeds. The benefit of coffee filters in cleaning is they don’t leave lint behind, and they are durable. There are likely many other good practical uses for coffee filters besides making coffee, but these are a few to give you an idea of how versatile they are.

Something to keep in mind is that for some of these uses, the used filter can be re-used again and again by doing nothing more than dusting it off or giving it a quick rinse and allowing it to dry. Coffee filters are more durable than most people think and also come with more uses than they often are given credit for. Try a few of these tips out and see for yourself.