How to Make a Reusable Coffee Filter

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 can make one in less than 10 minutes with minimal sewing experience (and save some trees while you're at it)!


  1. Image titled Make a Reusable Coffee Filter Step 1 preview
    Use a 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.
  2. Image titled Make a Reusable Coffee Filter Step 2 preview
    Sew a hem along the top edge of the open fabric (if desired). It works fine without one, but looks more finished this way.
  3. Image titled Make a Reusable Coffee Filter Step 3 preview
    Fold your filter in half again on the fold line. Put the right sides together if you've done a hem. If no hem, it doesn't matter which side is out. Sew along the two open edge seams.
  4. Image titled Make a Reusable Coffee Filter Step 4 preview
    Now you have a new 100% reusable coffee filter! This coffee filter will prevent grounds (and cloudiness) in your coffee, it will taste great, and is easy to rinse out. It stays put in the coffee maker and you will have no waste after composting the grounds. If you'd like an even more finished look, you could add seam binding to the top.
  5. Image titled Make a Reusable Coffee Filter Step 5 preview
    Use the finished side IN so that the coffee grounds don't get stuck in the seam. Just rinse out, and lay out to dry. It dries very quickly and is ready to use again the next day, however having two is probably better so you can rotate them. Since it's cotton, you can also machine wash and dry it if you want to.
    • Here's one after a few week's use (notice the un-finished edge still is working fine, just not as pretty!).


  • Compost your coffee grounds for a truly waste free pot of coffee
  • Pre-wash your fabric to remove anything left by the manufacturing process, and to pre-shrink it.
  • Basket shaped filters are even easier, just cut out a circle of muslin as large as your paper filter smashed flat! The folds happen naturally as you lay it into the coffee maker, or you can sew in triangular darts to permanently make it stand up.
  • Also watch out for dryer sheets and fabric softeners; they can add chemicals to your filter, so don't expose your filter to them.
  • You may choose to machine wash and dry your filter, just use an all natural laundry detergent to avoid harsh chemicals remaining on your filter and making it into your coffee! (Also, if you use a scented detergent, that may affect the flavor of your coffee)
  • This tutorial is for the cone shaped filters, not the basket shaped ones.
  • Use a natural, unbleached fabric to avoid chemicals being transferred to your coffee.

Sources and Citations

  • [1] - Original source, shared with permission.

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Food Preparation | Sustainable Living