"RE: Coffee filters…who knew!"

Many of you have probably received an email with a similar title (probably from your mother), toting the multipurpose-ness of common household items. If it's not coffee filters, it's another seemingly common household something-or-other that has a million and one other uses.

I've hung onto an email about the many uses of coffee filters for some time, thinking…"Wow, someone should really try some of these things and report back." These tips are good in theory, but does anyone ever use them? Well, that someone is me. I did it. I put a couple of the suggested uses to work using generic, 8-12 cup size filters.

Although far from official, here are my findings:

#1: Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. This is a good tip if the bowl and the filter are the same size. The filters I had on hand fit nicely on a children's bowl, but I had to flatten not so much on an adult bowl. Unless you want to keep multiple size filters on hand, a paper towel or lid may be a better alternative.

#2: Clean windows and mirrors. Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling. Sparkling is right, but it took 5-6 filters to really soak up the cleaning spray. An old rag or even a newspaper is a much greener solution.

#3: Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter. This is a really good solution to getting those little pieces of cork out of the wine. Though, unless you have a wine decanter to empty the whole bottle, you'll have to use a new filter every time you pour a glass. May not be a concern if wine manufacturers discontinue the use of cork.

#4: Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter. The filters were kind of like using newspaper to polish your shoes (if anyone still polishes shoes?) – rough and not very effective. Overall, using a rag may be a better option, but without one on hand, a filter is a good and quick fix.

#5: Prevent a popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter. This is a great one. A quick solution for Mom and fun tool for a little one. Note that as the popsicle melts, the hole in the filter starts to expand, making it tough to keep the filter on the popsicle stick.

Do you have any alternative uses for common household items? We want to hear your suggestions!

Courtney Velek is a former marketing manager at MMI.

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