Do Coffee Filters Filter Water?

This article answers, “Do coffee filters filter water?” and gives insights and instructions on how to do it.

Do coffee filters filter water?
You can use coffee filters to filter water

As a coffee lover, I only thought of coffee filters as one of the tools needed to make my morning brew. I certainly never considered their broader uses. That is, until recently.

I am a lover of both a good cup of coffee and ice-cold water. For the latter purpose, I have a water filtration system on my kitchen tap. However, it broke down recently, and while waiting for the repairs to be made, I discovered that I could use coffee filters to do the job. 

Do Coffee Filters Filter Water?

Unbleached vs. bleached coffee filters
Coffee filters are a temporary substitute for water filters

Although you can use coffee filters to filter water, one thing should be clear: coffee filters are made to filter coffee grounds; they cannot be a permanent substitute for an actual water filter.

That said, coffee filters, like all filters, are designed to cleanse certain sediments and impurities from liquids. So when you are in a pinch, know they will also work for filtering water.

You might also be interested in learning if you can I use tap water to make coffee.

Not All Coffee Filters Are Fit For This Purpose

A close view of an unbleached coffee filter in a coffee maker.
Paper filters are one of the most prominent types of coffee filters

Coffee filters are made of different materials. The most prominent types are paper, metal, and cloth.

Paper filters are tightly woven and absorbent. For coffee, they filter out most of the oils and micro-grounds. This yields a cup of coffee that is essentially sediment-free.

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03/06/2024 03:50 pm GMT

While paper filters may not be the best choice for brewing coffee, they are excellent filters for water. Therefore, if you intend to use coffee filters as a temporary water purification system, then paper filters are what you need to be using.

Metal filters are the complete opposite. There is no finely weaved paper to absorb oils and sediment. As a result, metal filters leave a great deal of the original micro-grounds in the coffee.

People who like the taste of strong, rich, and highly textured coffee tend to use metal filters. However, what makes them great for strong coffee works against them when filtering water. 

Cloth coffee filters are the least popular filters among the three. However, they are, in many ways, the best of both worlds.

Like paper filters, cloth filters soak up micro-grounds and sediment in coffee; and they will do the same for impurities that make their way into your tap water. Unfortunately, however, cloth coffee filters are pretty expensive and more challenging to maintain. If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in learning why does my coffee taste like water.

How To Filter Water With Coffee Filters?

To set up a basic filtration system using coffee filters, you should take the following steps:

1. Collect the water that you want to filter into one large container. It should have a pouring lip.

2. Set up another large container or a series of bottles that you will be filtering the water into. Ensure that the funnel you use will fit into the mouth of the clean water container or bottles.

3. Flatten out the coffee filter so that it is a large circle.

4. Fold the filter in halves until it is triangular.

5. Open one of the inner triangle flaps and fit the filter into the funnel.

6. Dap the filter with a bit of water to make it stick to the funnel and conform to its shape.

7. When the filter is secured to the funnel and the funnel is in the container’s mouth pour the collected tap water into the funnel.

The filter will begin to slow as it fills with impurities. One filter should be enough to purify tap water.

If this is not the case, if you have to use two or three coffee filters for your tap water, then something has gone wrong with your pipes or the general water purification system in your city. Either way, you should follow up with the proper authorities.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.