Paper Towel

Most definitely, yes! Paper towel can be used as coffee filter. Although there are other suitable substitutes you can employ as coffee filter to remove coffee grounds from your coffee liquid, which include the use of;

  • Fine mesh sieves
  • Clothes
  • Napkin or dish towels
  • Reusable tea bags, or
  • No filter at all.
Ground coffee in a coffee filter

What is a coffee filter?

A coffee filter is a filter used for brewing coffee, or filtering coffee. The filter, just like every other filters, traps impurities, but allows liquid to pass or flow through it; but in this case, the liquid is coffee.

Coffee filters can be made of plastics, clothes, papers (disposable), or metal (reusable).

Coffee Filter


In time of emergency, say, you might just get off the bed in the morning, very tired, and want some coffee to help you get active and alert to start off your day, but on getting to your coffee maker, you found out that you forgot to restock the finished coffee filter from the grocery store a day before. I can imagine and understand how disappointed you would feel; because that is not how you would want your day to start off.

If you find yourself in this very awkward situation, I have good news for you. The most common and inexpensive substitute for coffee filter is paper towel. This means that you should always have it around in case of such emergency. You do not need to be reminded that you should always have paper towel in the house.

Cone-shaped coffee filter

How to use paper towel as a coffee filter.

Using a paper towel as a coffee filter is the most common solution when you run out of coffee filters for your coffee maker. Although, paper towels are not initially or actually designed to be used in a coffee maker, but their effects can be the same as a real coffee filter; if the steps stated here are followed.


  1. Fold a piece of the paper towel in half.
  2. Slightly fold the sides up, to form a conical shape – just like a cone.
  3. Place the homemade – pape tower – coffee filter where the real filter is meant to be on the coffee maker before adding coffee grounds. Make sure that your improvised coffee filter fits very well.
  4. You can now make your coffee.

Pros and cons of using paper towel as a coffee filter at home

Although, paper towels can be a suitable substitute for your coffee filter in time of emergency. When using paper towel, there are things you should consider which should guide you properly.


  • Paper towels have tightly woven fibers which can filter out most coffee grounds.
  • They are easy to use.
  • They are inexpensive


  • Paper towels may contain bleach and other chemical components which you may not want to taste in your coffee or ingest into your system when taking your coffee. However, there are plain, unbleached paper towels which are inexpensive too. You should consider replacing the bleached paper towels with the unbleached ones just in case of such emergency.
  • Paper towels add ‘papery’ tastes to your coffee and this might make your coffee unenjoyable.
  • Paper towels weaken under hot water pressure which might make them fall apart and disintegrate when in use as coffee filter.

I don’t think that you would want your coffee to have papery taste or any other tastes apart from the normal coffee taste you craved for before making your coffee. Therefore, you wouldn’t want to run into such emergency as using paper towel as coffee filter. ALWAYS RESTOCK YOUR COFFEE FILTER BEFORE IT GETS EXHAUSTED.

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