Eco How To: Reusable Coffee Filters

Tutorial submitted by winkydinks

Here’s a simple way to reduce your daily waste stream: use reusable coffee filters! You can also use filterless systems, permanent reusable filters, or a french press, but some people prefer the taste of coffee that has been filtered. The great news…you can make one in less than 10 minutes with minimal sewing experience (and save some trees while you’re at it)!

(Note: this tutorial is for the cone shaped filters. I haven’t experimented with the basket shaped ones yet!)

Using your existing paper filter as a pattern, place one edge along a folded piece of pre-washed NATURAL 100% cotton muslin (avoid bleached or dyed materials). Add an extra 1″ along the top edge if you want a finished edge.

You will wind up with something like this when it’s unfolded.

Sew a hem along the top edge of the open fabric (if desired) – I made my first one without any hem and it works perfectly fine!!

Fold your filter in half again on the fold line (with right sides together if you’ve done a hem. If no hem, it doesn’t matter which side is out). Sew along the 2 open edge seams.

… and PRESTO CHANGO, you have a new 100% reusable coffee filter!

Here is the finished product (less than 5 minutes start to finish!). Use the finished side IN so that the coffee grounds don’t get stuck in the seam.

Here’s my original one after a few week’s use (notice my un-finished edge still is working fine, just not as pretty!). Just rinse out, and lay out to dry. It dries very quickly and ready to use again the next day, however having two is probably better to rotate through. Since it’s cotton, you can also machine wash and dry it if you want to.

My husband is the coffee drinker in our house, and I’m the greenie – so we make a perfect pair with this set up! He says he’s never had grounds in his coffee, it tastes great, and is so easy to rinse out. It stays put in the coffee maker and we have no waste after composting the grounds. Give it a try! (I was going for function and ease over looks, but you could add seam binding or a straighter hem to the top for a finished look as well. :)

If you are lacking in the sewing skills area or are without a machine, search for reusable coffee filters online. My sister said they used something called a “coffee sock” when living in Costa Rica which was basically the same idea, just without the coffee pot. So, not such a unique idea, but easily implemented nonetheless!

Thanks for this great tutorial Jen!
For great diaper covers made with felted wool, visit Jen’s shop: winkydinks

Editor’s note: We need more tips and tutorials for our wonderful blog. Recipes are great too. Please convo me here. Make sure to include on the subject line: Eco Tips or Eco Tutorials. And please include ALL of your contact info, including social media addresses.

Thank you for your continued support! You guys rock!!

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  1. This is an amazing display of what can be done with creativity, imagination, and used stuff!! I LOVE connecting people with cool re-use ideas and those with entrepreneurial spirits. I have posted this on ReUseConnection's FB page: Keep up the great work and email if you'd like to talk more. Cheers Ian Moise (

  2. someone volunteered to do the tea bag tute so stay tuned for that one.

    So cool that you'll be featured on Wikihow! Good luck to you!

  3. Brass Paperclip says:

    Great idea – will have to try that for my basket style filters…if anyone comes up with a great tutorial for the basket style, please share. Love the tea-bag ideas too. :)

  4. Winkydinks says:

    Btw – I published this article on WikiHow – and its a featured article candidate!! Feel free to leave comments there to get it featured!

  5. Winkydinks says:

    For a basket style filter, see the Green Cat's comment above…but yes, should work fine if you use a different pattern than I showed. Let us know how it goes!

  6. Thanks for this! Will this work in a regular basket style coffe maker?

  7. Winkydinks says:

    Great idea about the tea bags! Maybe with a little drawstring top!!

  8. Cool! I'd bet you could make re-usable tea bags in a similar fashion.

  9. BululuStudio says:

    wow this is a great idea, thanks so much for sharing it.

  10. Kanokwalee says:

    I love this. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm going to make some for sure.

  11. This is brilliant! Love it. I alternate between my rinsable "gold" filter and disposable ones- I don't think I'll be buying anymore disposables in the future – instead, if I need to – I'll make one of these. I sure have enough fabric lying around here to do it with.

  12. janssen designs says:

    great post and tutorial! I have a coffee sock from Costa Rica! I use that on camping trips.

  13. Fantastic! This is absolutely a "duh! Why didn't I do this years ago?" tutorial. Thank you!

  14. The Green Cat says:

    Great tutorial. I have made basket style filters using a similar idea. Using a paper filter as a template, cut a circle out of fabric. I aided 4 darts to help it stand up. I also find that it helps to "mold" the filter over a glass while it dries to help it keep its shape. Without doing that, I had about a 25% failure rate of the filter falling into the basket and causing grounds to show up in my coffee!