Do You Have To Put A Filter In A Coffee Maker?

Coffee is a popular drink that often gets your day started, which means that you’re also probably in a hurry. Fortunately, coffee makers allow you to freely go about your business. But they also involve a lot more preparation than alternatives like instant coffee. You might be worried about investing in filters, or wondering if it’s possible to skip the filters and get on with your day. We're here to inform you on whether or not you need to use a filter every time you run a coffee maker.

It is generally best to put a filter in a coffee maker. Although it is possible to use the coffee maker without a coffee filter, this can potentially be harmful. Coffee filters remove certain oils known as “diterpenes.” Some studies have shown that these oils can be harmful. Additionally, coffee grounds can cause clogs and water overflow. It is also best to use a water filter in your coffee maker. This filter can remove everything from chlorine to bad tastes.

Coffee makers may be useful, but they’re also an investment. Now that you know the value of regularly using coffee filters and water filters, it’s time to find the right selections for you. Keep reading to learn about what filters you should choose, how to take care of them, and what alternatives are available.

Male barista making filter coffee in cafeteria, Do You Have To Put A Filter In A Coffee Maker?

Why You Should Use A Filter In Your Coffee Maker

As we mentioned, it is best to use a filter in your coffee maker. While it might seem like a minor component in your coffee maker, it really does make quite a difference. For one, a filter helps remove those negative and potentially harmful oils. Second, it helps ensure a smoother, ground-free brew. Nobody likes sipping their coffee and finding coffee grounds in their mouth.

So take a little extra time in your routine to make sure your coffee maker has been outfitted with a filter. There are many filter options you can choose from, too. Let's discuss them below.

Ground coffee in filter

Can you use a paper coffee filter with a permanent filter basket?

It isn’t a good idea to use a paper coffee filter with a permanent filter. This is usually known to cause clogs of coffee grounds and an overflow of water. That isn’t a mess you want to deal with first thing in the morning, and certainly not if you’re already in a hurry.

You can usually verify the dangers of clogging your basket by referring to the manual for your coffee maker. This is because most premium coffee makers actually come with their own permanent filter basket. For example, most of Cuisinart’s manuals agree that you shouldn’t use a paper filter with the permanent one included with the machine.

A permanent filter basket is a metallic, reusable filter that is shaped like a basket. This special filter is meant to help you save money on disposable filters. It is also intended to be environmentally friendly in this way.

Click here to find this permanent coffee filter on Amazon.

Also, permanent filters can reduce the level of harmful cholesterol you consume in your coffee. This is a strong reason to use any coffee filter with your coffee maker. Previous Harvard studies have shown that coffee filters are beneficial to reduce this unhealthy cholesterol.

How do you clean a coffee filter basket?

Reusable metal mesh coffee filter for drip coffee maker

Coffee oils that stick around will badly affect the flavor of your coffee. Coffee filter baskets that are not disposable must be cleaned in order to remain sanitary and avoid bad tastes.

You can soak a stainless steel permanent filter in hot water, and then scrub the filter with baking soda. Fortunately, baking soda is relatively cheap and versatile. You can check out this post to learn how to use baking soda to clean a percolator. Additionally, you can also soak a stainless steel or plastic permanent filter in hot water and vinegar. The soaking process for either method can range from five to fifteen minutes.

Meanwhile, some gold filters are able to simply go in the dishwasher. The process may change based on your model or manufacturer.

How long does a gold coffee filter last?

Click here to see this Goldtone coffee filter on Amazon.

Metallic permanent filters can also appear to be golden. They are referred to as “gold tone” or simply “gold” coffee filters. Naturally, these filters aren’t actually made of gold. Only the stainless steel mesh is plated with gold.

One of the more popular brands is GoldTone, which contends that its permanent filters can enhance flavor. This is likely because gold coffee filters are intended to remove bitterness. They can also allow the coffee’s antioxidants to flow freely.

The lifespan of a gold coffee filter can differ between brands. However, they can easily be washed by hand with dishwashing liquid. Permanent filters are relatively easy to clean and reuse. Most of them are able to last for years, with certain exceptions. Coffee acids can naturally wear out your permanent filter if it isn’t washed enough.

Bear in mind that if you do not regularly clean your gold coffee filter, it can also develop black mold. This is especially difficult to detect when you’re making coffee. Coffee grounds can resemble this harmful substance. If mold develops, you could end up replacing your gold coffee filter after only three months.

However, if you want to take the risk, Huffpost argues that it might still be possible to safely clean up the mold. This would prolong the permanent filter’s lifespan even more.

Are cloth coffee filters good?

Click here to find these cloth coffee filters on Amazon.

Cloth coffee filters aren’t as common in the US, but they can certainly be effective and useful. However, you should keep in mind that using different materials for your coffee filters will absolutely affect the flavor and texture. As such, “good” is a relative term, and you will need to consider your own personal preferences.

Cloth filters are made from a natural material, which is typically cotton. This means that cloth filters are going to be more successful in catching coffee grounds. The resulting drink is generally thought to emphasize a cleaner, lighter drink than permanent filters do.

Unfortunately, cloth filters can also be the most demanding filter to clean. They cannot be instantly disposed of, like paper filters. They also aren’t as easy to wash as metal filters. But even the slightest buildup that you fail to clean can cause a terrible taste in your next brew. Further, the cloth’s ability to absorb can potentially retain flavors from previous beans.

Cloth filters can typically last around a few months. Although this saves money on paper filters, this lifespan is only a fraction of the metal alternatives. You will need to determine if the flavor that cloth produces is worth all of the intense cleaning.

How do you clean a reusable cloth coffee filter?

Cloth filters need to be routinely washed and dried after each brew. This should be done immediately. Don’t throw your coffee grounds in a sink’s disposal. Although coffee grounds appear very fine, they can easily build up and create a clog. So, toss the coffee grounds elsewhere. Then, you can simply rinse the cloth filter and squeeze out any remaining water.

Every few weeks, the accumulated filth on your cloth filter needs to be eliminated with a deep cleaning. This is achieved by boiling the cloth and even adding baking soda. Boiling a cloth filter for around ten minutes will naturally shrink the weave. This can restore the cloth filter’s ability to absorb and retain grounds, which is the greatest advantage of a cloth coffee filter.

Is it ok to use paper towels as coffee filters?

Paper towels are not an ideal alternative to proper coffee filters. Paper towels are sometimes used at the last minute when you don’t have time to replace disposable coffee filters. This is because paper towels look similar to coffee filters, and are also designed to absorb. It’s easy to shape paper towels as needed and run your coffee maker like usual.

Unfortunately, paper towels are weaker, and they certainly won’t produce a good taste. More importantly, it generally isn’t safe to use paper towels in place of coffee filters. This is especially true regarding extensive, repeated use.

It’s possible that some extravagant, organic paper towels aren’t treated with chemicals. But even experts like Food52 have warned against using paper towels. Paper towels are usually bleached with chlorine, which will then be extracted when you run the coffee maker.

Do I need to replace my charcoal filter?

Click here to find these charcoal water filters on Amazon.

It’s possible that you’re also worried about needing a charcoal filter in your coffee maker. Some coffee makers include a charcoal filter, which purifies the water you use in the machine. Charcoal filters are known to remove harmful substances from water, like chlorine. This can be especially useful in areas with tap water that is not safe enough.

You can use a filter on your sink to preserve the lifespan of a charcoal filter. These water filters usually need to be replaced every two months. Otherwise, they might also need to be replaced after using the coffee maker sixty times. Whichever comes first, it’s generally healthier to use a charcoal filter.

Coffee is often a daily routine, and consistent habits should be double-checked for health and safety. If coffee makers seem like too much trouble, you can read this post about how to use a stovetop percolator.


Drip Coffee Black coffee brewed in low light in the house

Coffee filters are an important addition to your coffee maker. They can make your coffee safer, and they can drastically change the flavor of your drink. Fortunately, coffee filters are available in a wide variety of options. Now you know which filters are on the market, how to clean them, and what disadvantages each one may present. This means you can finally choose the right coffee filter for you, and get back to enjoying your caffeine!

One comment

  1. Mr Coffee makers that use the pre filter YES YOU CAN get away with NOT using the round flat prefilter that costs $7 at Walmart that don’t last.
    The other filter that holds your coffee grounds MUST be used.

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