DIY: reusable cloth coffee filter for zero waste coffee

Oh, how I love this cloth coffee filter! It’s so easy to make and works surprisingly well. I feel like a fool that has been tricked by the consumerist society to use single-use paper filters all these years!

510 paper filters & 25 plastic packagings saved!

I made this reusable coffee filter for my boyfriend’s mum over a year ago and it’s been in daily use ever since! So according to my estimates, (one coffee a day for 17 months), this little bad boy has already replaced 510 paper filters and about 25 plastic packagings!

Because of how cheap and available single-use items are, I think we often underestimate how many we use over time. I challenge you to calculate how many coffee single-use items you use a year?!

If you’re wondering, this is how it looks now:

What if you don’t have a sewing machine

Not having a sewing machine isn’t an excuse to not sew! Here are some of my suggestions for you to get a hand on one:

  • Borrow from your neighbours through Facebook. There is something called Good Karma Network groups all around Australia where neighbours help each other out for free or in exchange or favours. Search “Good Karma Network” + “name of your neighbourhood” to find your network.
  • Find a tool library near you: they’re like a book library, except you get to borrow tools instead of books! I’ve seen one in Brunswick, but they’re popping ut everywhere so research if your neighboorhood has one too (or start one yourself?).
  • Ask a friend or family member! Don’t underestimate how much crafty people love to share their passion. Maybe you even have an elderly family member (or neighbour) that you can sew together and learn one thing or two from?
  • If all fails, ther is always op shops – they always got you’re back!

DIY reusable cloth coffee filter

Time: 30 min // Makes: 1 cloth coffee filter

What you need


25 x 20 cm fabric*, washed and ironed
Sewing thread
Single-use coffee filter


Sewing machine (or needle for patient people)
Pin needles


Place the paper filter over your fabric and use a pencil to mark the edges of the paper filter. Make sure you placed the filter somewhere you can fit it twice next to each other.

Fold the fabric with using one of the sides of the filter as the fold. Then, use pin needles to hold the folded fabric in place.

Use the scissors to cut the marked outline of the filter (all while keeping the one folded side intact).

Sew alongside the top of the filter, meaning the entire curvy part of your fabric. This will prevent the fabric from frilling after repeated use. I used a decorative stitch because my machine can, but any stitch will do.

Sew both fabrics together along the bottom. When you arrive at the corner, lift the sewing foot, turn the fabric, then sew the side.


Tips & notes

WHICH FABRIC TO CHOOSE? I used a medium-thick organic linen and cotton mix. The thickness is important because you want the filter to be stiff enough to stand on it’s on.
I chose an organic fabric because I didn’t want any chemicals leaking into my coffee.

HOW TO WASH – I let the filter cool down in the sink with the coffe grounds in it. Once it’s cool, I toss the coffee grounds in the compost, rinse the filter under hot water and hang to dry on the dish rack.

Oh, and once you have your hands on a sewing machine, I recommend you sewing other reusable objects for your kitchen such as produce bags!