10 Unexpected Uses for Coffee Filters

Coffee filters aren't just for making a morning pick-me-up. They come in handy in countless ways from cleaning in a pinch to creating an awesome craft. Better yet, you can pick up a thousand of these handy helpers for about $7, making them cheaper than most paper towels. Read on for ways to use your filters outside of your coffeemaker.

The most popular coffeemakers!

1. Filter broken cork from wine.

Don't you hate when the cork breaks into a bottle of wine while you are opening it?! Don't worry! Simply pour the wine through the filter and into a carafe to strain out the cork bits and your wine is as good as new!

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2. Perform fancy chef tricks.

Make your own professional-tasting yogurt dip without buying a specialty strainer by letting the filter's tiny pores do the work for you. Yogurt dips (and Indian-style yogurt desserts) call for straining the yogurt to get rid of extra water. But how? Just place the yogurt in the filter in batches and let the water drain for about an hour. Then simply add your parsley, cucumber, or garlic to your thickened yogurt and you're done! You can also make ultra-fancy and tasty tomato water by placing pureed ripe tomatoes in the filter and collecting the intensely zesty water that makes it through the filter. The resulting liquid adds intense tomato flavor to countless recipes!

3. Clean just about anything.

Unlike paper towels, coffee filters don't have lint so you can polish glass, chrome, shoes, countertops-you name it-without leaving residue behind.

4. Line a planter box.
Place a filter over the drainage opening in a planter to allow the water to run through, but the soil to stay in place. Genius!

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5. Protect your good china.

Place a filter between plates during storage to prevent scuffs and nicks to your plates and bowls.

6. Make your own potpourri holders.

Fill the filter with potpourri or dried used coffee and tie the ends with a rubber band to create a pouch. Then place the sweet-smelling filters in laundry hampers, drawers, or closets to keep them smelling fresh. You can also put baking soda in the pouches and tuck them around the kitchen to dispel unwanted cooking odors.

7. Create romantic lighting.
One Etsy seller creates gorgeous lights by fashioning white coffee filters over a string of bulbs. Tie the filters with ribbon and crinkle the edges to make them look like flowers. The result is soft, dreamy stringed lights that look way more expensive than they are!

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8. Bake jumbo cupcakes or muffins
Line baking tins with flat-bottom filters and fill the filter three-quarters of the way. Voila!-jumbo cupcake!

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9. Prevent static cling in the dryer.

Out of dryer sheets? No problem! Add a few drops of fabric softener to a filter and throw it in with the wash to prevent static cling.

10. Absorb grease from fried foods.
Filters are great at absorbing grease-keep them handy when you're cooking up bacon or fried chicken and pat or drain the freshly fried food with them before serving. Filters also make great on-the-go holders for popcorn, sandwiches, and other snacks because they soak up drips and are conveniently sandwich-size.

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.

photo credit: istockphoto.com