How Often You Can Actually Reuse Paper Coffee Filters

Despite the prevalence of single-serving coffee makers, people still majorly prefer drip coffee, according to Statista. Drip coffee that's been filtered through paper is known for having a smoother texture and more consistent flavor than coffee dripped through a reusable mesh filter. While the latter arguably offers the more environmentally sustainable option of the two, as it turns out, you can actually do something to minimize your environmental impact when using disposable paper coffee filters — by using them more than one time before disposing of them.

Although conventional wisdom holds that a disposable paper coffee filter should be used only once and then tossed, most coffee filters can actually be reused, and you'd never know the difference in terms of your coffee-drinking experience. While you may not be able to readily discern a difference in your coffee's environmental impact, you might soon notice that you're spending less money on disposable paper filters. 

In fact, if you take proper care of your disposable paper coffee filters in between uses, you be able to get three to five uses out of each one. That may represent quite a bit of savings over time.

How to get the most re-uses out of your disposable paper coffee filters

Unlike other paper products like paper towels, disposable paper coffee filters are actually designed with durability in mind, according to home-coffee brewing resource, Roasty Coffee. So you can re-use them until you start to see signs of wear and literal tear (on average, three to five uses, as noted above).

If you'd like to reuse your paper coffee filter, make sure to wait a few minutes after brewing your coffee before you retrieve it — just to make certain the filter and grounds are comfortable to the touch. But don't wait too long because wet coffee grounds may begin growing moldy after sitting for more than 24 hours. Discard the spent grounds, gently but thoroughly rinse the filter under cool running water, and lay the clean filter out to dry where it's not likely to attract dust or other contaminants. 

For best results, some experts recommend allowing 24 hours of drying time between uses. As an added bonus, if you're not already in the coffee-lovers' habit of rinsing your paper filters before using them the first time, you might even find your coffee tastes better after you've used and rinsed your filter.