Prepper supplies: 30 Survival uses for coffee filters
By Zoey Sky // Jan 17, 2023

Non-preppers use coffee filters to make coffee, but preppers know that this useful item is a must-have for your survival stockpile.

If you're looking for a firestarter or makeshift insulator, stock up on coffee filters and learn about this item's many survival uses. (h/t to

Absorb spills

If you accidentally spill something and you have to clean it in a hurry, place a coffee filter over the spill and blot it up with a paper towel.

A coffee filter is absorbent and it will help soak up the majority of the liquid, which can help prevent clothes or furniture from being ruined.

Alternative for rags and towels

You can use coffee filters to dust furniture or clean windows instead of rags or towels.

Apply calamine lotion

If you hate getting calamine lotion all over your hands, place a generous dollop on a coffee filter and use that to apply the lotion to your skin instead. The filter will help absorb any excess lotion so it doesn’t end up on your skin or clothes.

Bug protection

If you don't have any bug spray, you can use coffee filters as a makeshift mosquito net.

Poke holes in the center of the filter and wear it over your head like a hood. The tiny holes will keep bugs out while still allowing you to breathe comfortably as you work outdoors.

Cloth diaper liner

If you use cloth diapers for your baby, use clean coffee filters as a liner. Coffee filters are great liners because they're cheap, disposable and biodegradable.

Place a filter inside the diaper before putting it on your baby to catch solid waste. When the diaper is dirty, remove the liner and its contents, then wash the diaper.

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DIY bandage

If you don't have a first aid kit, use coffee filters as bandages or dressings for wounds.

The absorbent nature of the filter will help to soak up blood and other fluids and the paper material will keep the wound clean and protected from infection.

Dry wet clothing

Place small wet items inside a coffee filter and leave them to dry in the sun or close to a fire to dry out. The coffee filter will help absorb some of the moisture so your clothes dry faster.

Emergency toilet paper

If you run out of toilet paper, use coffee filters as an alternative. Make sure you dispose of the used coffee filters properly.


Coffee filters soaked in wax are great DIY firestarters because they light easily and burn for a long time.

To make coffee filter firestarters, soak the filter in wax, let it dry and store it in an airtight container. Keep the container in your bug-out bag or firestarting kit so you can start a fire quickly when SHTF.

Keep insects out of food

Place a coffee filter over the top of food supplies in your stockpile to keep insects out.

Keep produce fresh

Line a fruit bowl or vegetable crisper with coffee filters to help keep produce fresh longer. The filters will absorb excess moisture, which helps prevent mold and rot from setting in.

Keep soil in the pot

Use coffee filters as transient liners for pots full of soil. Line the pot with the filter before adding your soil and plants.

When it's time to transplant them into a larger pot or into the ground, the filter will prevent the soil from falling out as you work.

Make a cold compress

Soak a coffee filter in cold water to make a temporary cold compress and apply it to a bruise or insect bite to help reduce swelling.

Make a funnel

Prevent spills by using a coffee filter to make a funnel.

Cut the bottom off of a coffee filter to make a funnel so you can easily pour powders or liquids into small containers.

Make an oil lamp

Use coffee filters to make an oil lamp if you need light.

First, take a coffee filter and roll it up. Next, fill a glass jar with some vegetable oil and soak the coffee filter all the way inside.

Light up the filter and you will have light for a few hours.

Make a pair of gloves

If you need gloves for chores that will make your hands dirty and you don't have an extra pair, cut two holes near the top of two separate coffee filters large enough for your hands to fit through.

Wear these "gloves" while finishing your task and dispose of them when you’re done.

Make tea

If you love tea but you've run out of tea bags, improvise by using a coffee filter instead.

Place loose tea leaves inside the filter, then secure it with string or a rubber band before steeping it in hot water to make your tea.

Remove odor

If you spilled ashes on your clothing or in your hair, rub them away with a dry coffee filter.

Coffee filters can also be used to remove unwanted odors like shoes. If you have a pair of shoes that are smelling funky, place one inside a shoe to absorb unpleasant smells.

For a better result, add baking soda inside the coffee filters and secure it with a bit of string or a rubber band.

Pet food dish

If you need to feed your pet dog but don't have a pet bowl on hand, use a coffee filter. Just place the food in the center and your pet should be able to eat without making too much of a mess.

You can also use a coffee filter as a pet poop scooper. Bring coffee filters while hiking or taking your dog on a walk to the park so you can easily clean up their poop.

Portable food wrapper

If you're going camping and you ran out of sandwich bags, use coffee filters to wrap your food in.

The paper is strong enough to prevent leaks and tears, but lightweight enough that it won’t add too much bulk or weight to your bag.

To pre-filter water you’ve collected

When SHTF, use a coffee filter to pre-filter the water you collected. Use coffee filters to remove large particles from water before running it through your main water filter.

Protect skillets from rust

Cast-iron skillets are prone to rusting while in storage.

Place a coffee filter in the bottom of your skillet before storing it for a long time to protect it from rusting.

Sore throat relief

If you have a sore throat, soak a coffee filter in warm water, then lay it over your throat like a compress. The warmth and moisture from the compress will help to soothe your sore throat.

Sprout garden seeds

If you want to sprout seeds for your garden, soak the seeds overnight. Next, place them on a coffee filter moistened with water then fold up the filter and place it in a resealable baggie.

Store garden seeds

Once the gardening season is over, save some seeds from your best-performing plants so you can replant them next year.

Place the seeds on a dry coffee filter and fold it up. Store the filter in an airtight container in a cool, dark place until spring arrives.

Temporary insulator

If you need a temporary insulator, use coffee filters to insulate your home.

If you have a drafty window or door, cut a coffee filter to size and tape it over the opening to help keep the warm air in and the cold air out.

Temporary survival straw

Use a clean coffee filter to make a temporary survival straw so you can filter water on the go. Cut the top and bottom off of a coffee filter and roll it into a cone shape.

Cut a small slit in the bottom of the filter and insert one end of a drinking straw. Suck the water up through the straw to drink filtered water wherever you are.

Trap cooking grease

Place a coffee filter over the top of a pan while cooking to trap grease splatters. (Related: Natural healing: Survival uses for coconut oil.)

Write notes

If you need to leave an emergency note and you don't have paper or a notepad, get a coffee filter and write your message on a coffee filter.

The thin paper is perfect for writing down notes or lists.

Disposable bowl or plate

If you don't have water to wash the dishes, use a clean coffee filter as a plate.

Make sure you don't put too much food on them or they will collapse and make a mess as you eat.

Stock up on useful survival items like coffee filters before SHTF so you can make firestarters or leave messages.

Watch the video below for more coffee filter survival hacks.

This video is from the Frozen In Time channel on

More related stories:

SHTF essentials: 10 Survival uses for rubbing alcohol.

16 Survival uses of a leather belt.

7 Clever uses for potassium permanganate, a versatile survival tool.

Sources include:

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