Can You Use a Paper Towel as a Coffee Filter

  • By: Rob
  • Date: November 6, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.
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Coffee filters allow you to extract coffee liquid from beans conveniently. This way, your drink will not have any coffee ground bits when you drink it. But, what if you don’t have any coffee filter available; can you use a paper towel as a coffee filter instead?

You can use a paper towel as a coffee filter substitute. No worries, no health hazard will happen in doing this, but you just have to make sure that your paper towel is thick. If it is not, it will eventually tear, defeating the purpose of why it was used in the first place.

Are you interested in knowing more about how paper towels can be used as a coffee filter? Continue reading this article.

Can You Use a Paper Towel as a Coffee Filter

Yes, you can use a paper towel as a coffee filter substitute you could even make coffee without using a filter.

A paper towel has the right size and strength to withstand hot water and coffee grounds, if you are trying to save money you could also consider reusing coffee grounds

However, you might not get the same brewing quality as you would with a coffee filter. This is because paper towels are not designed for the job, so the water will not stay long enough to fully extract the coffee from the beans.

A related topic I wrote about is, how long does brewed coffee stay fresh.

How to Make a Coffee Filter Out of Paper Towel

If you plan to use paper towels as a coffee filter, you will be happy to know that the process is quick and easy. Just follow these steps:

How to Make a Coffee Filter Out of Paper Towel

  1. Get a full-size paper towel and put it flat over a table.
  2. Fold the paper towel in half using a vertical direction.
  3. Fold the paper towel again into half. You know you are doing right if you end up with a square-shaped paper towel.
  4. Open the ends of the folded paper towel to create a pocket.
  5. Place the coffee ground in the paper towel pocket. During this step, don’t forget to fold the outer edge to ensure that the pot lid will close securely.
  6. Slowly add the hot water into the paper towel filter and let it drip into your pot.

If you prefer to watch video tutorials, I found one here from YouTube

Step-By-Step Tutorial on how to make a coffee filter using paper towels

That’s it; you can now enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee by using paper towels.

Is It Safe to Use a Paper Towel as a Coffee Filter

Some of you might be worried about the chemicals in paper towels. This is understandable since there are chemicals added to it during its manufacturing. But, generally, it is safe to use paper towels as a coffee filter from time to time.

But, if you use it every day, these are some of the reasons why it might be harmful for you:

Bleach Content of Paper Towels

Most paper towels in the market are bleached using a chemical called chlorine. This chemical contains dioxins that can have some potential health risks in large amounts.

When you use paper towels to filter coffee, the hot water you pour into it acts as an extracting agent. Unfortunately, aside from extracting the coffee essence from the beans, it might also extract the bleaching agent used in manufacturing the paper towel.

However, the good news is that the contaminants in paper towels are not that potent. This means that there will be little to no health risk if you use it to filter your coffee.

But suppose you can use paper towels as a coffee filter permanently. In that case, you might experience some side effects associated with bleach.

Contaminants of Paper Towels

Aside from bleach, the paper towels also contain contaminants during it’s manufacturing. Some of these include fillers, dyes, and strengthening agents, which are usually undetectable through toxicity testing.

In some cases, there can even be toilet paper that contains traces of Bisphenol-A (BPA), Hormone imitating chemicals, and Phthalates. Food regulators still approve these products despite knowing that it has potential contaminants because they believe that it will not come into contact with food.

Can I Use Tissue Paper as a Coffee Filter?

No, you should not use tissue paper as a coffee filter. Here are some of the reasons why:

Toilet Paper is Too Small

Toilet paper is quite small as it is. When you use it as a coffee filter, you have to fold it into quarters, and you will end up with a very small pocket. This small pocket will not be enough for you to put coffee grounds and hot water without it spilling all over the place.

Some Tissie Papers are Scented and Colored

Some toilet papers are scented, while there are other variants that have artificial coloring. When you pour hot water into this material, there is a high chance that the scent and coloring chemicals will also seep into your coffee.

Final Words

Can you use a paper towel as a coffee filter? Yes, you can! It’s an excellent alternative to coffee filters if you run out of stock. It is also fairly safe, but remember that you should only use it if you have no other option.

However, if you plan to use tissue paper as a coffee filter, you might want to reconsider. Most tissue papers are thin and soft, so they will not take the shape it needs to filter coffee. Besides, when these get wet, they quickly disintegrate into mush, making them unusable.

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