Are Bleached Filters Bad for You?

crazy by Editorial Staff | Posted on December 17th, 2022

Are you concerned about the health effects of using bleached filters? Are you wondering if other alternatives are safer? If so, then this blog post is for you! We’ll discuss the potential risks and benefits of using bleached coffee filters and provide some tips on alternatives.

What is a bleached filter?

A bleached filter is a coffee filter treated with either chlorine or oxygen to whiten it. While bleached filters are safe to use and do not affect the flavor of the coffee, there may be some environmental concerns about them. The bleaching process produces toxic byproducts called dioxins that can leech into the water and soil, causing harm to creatures that live there. For this reason, it is better to choose unbleached filters when possible.

bleached coffee filter

Are bleached filters bad for you?

No, bleached filters are not bad for you. While there was some concern in the 1980s that chlorine-bleached filters might be dangerous, it is now widely accepted that they are safe for brewing coffee. The bleaching process won’t add any additional flavors to your coffee.

Also, chlorine-bleached filters may leave behind trace amounts of harmful chemicals; if you prefer using white filters in your coffee maker, look for oxygen-bleached filters instead. Additionally, paper coffee filters can harm the environment if not disposed of properly. Consider investing in reusable or compostable natural paper filters to reduce environmental impact.

Is it safe to use reused coffee filters?

Yes, it is safe to use reused coffee filters. Although there was concern in the ’80s that chlorine-bleached filters might be dangerous, it’s now widely accepted that they’re safe to use. Only a little bleach is used in the bleaching process, and it’s not enough to leech into your coffee.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), dioxins are present in bleached coffee filters. These chemicals are released when filters are bleached, and between 40% to 70% of the dioxins get transferred to your coffee. Dioxins bioaccumulate, meaning that drinking small amounts regularly can add up to dangerous levels. They can also be found in animal fats and other environmental sources. Fortunately, despite the presence of these toxins, bleached coffee filters are safe to use.

If you prefer using white filters in your coffee maker, look for unbleached or chlorine-free options. The biggest roadblock to using paper towels as coffee filters is their treatment – you don’t want to use bleached or chemically-treated paper towels. Ultimately, bleached coffee filters are safe to use and don’t affect a brew’s taste.

However, some medical experts feel that paper coffee filters are a healthier option than metal filters, as paper can help reduce the number of coffee oils and other compounds released into the brewed coffee. The study showed unfiltered coffee increases both the total and bad cholesterol. This is due to the coffee oils, especially oily substances called diterpenes, such as cafestol and kahweol, present in these beverages. 

Advantages and disadvantages of using bleached filters

A stack of new white coffee filters on a tan cloth background.

The advantages of using bleached filters include that they are easier to use since they won’t add a papery taste to your coffee, and they are also easier to clean up since you can dispose of them after one use.

However, using bleached filters can be bad for you, as some bleaching processes use chlorine or other chemicals that can be unhealthy. It is also important to note that most paper filters are bleached, which is not good for humans or nature.

Therefore, it is best to opt for unbleached filters, if possible, as these are better for the environment and your health. If you choose to use bleached filters, ensure you rinse them beforehand to remove the potential papery taste.

Should you avoid using bleached filters?

There was concern in the 1980s that chlorine-bleached filters might be dangerous, but it is now widely accepted that they are safe to use for brewing coffee. Unbleached filters may be more sustainable, but they can compromise taste.

However, chlorine-bleached filters may leave behind trace amounts of harmful chemicals. Therefore, it is recommended to use oxygen-bleached filters from reputable brands for the best results. The coffee filter is almost as important as the beans or grinds you choose, so make sure to use a high-quality unbleached filter for the best results

Alternatives to bleaching coffee filters

There is no need to worry about the safety of bleached coffee filters, as studies have confirmed that the amount of dioxins present is too little to have any health effects. However, for those who are looking for alternatives, there are a few options. Unbleached coffee filters are a great choice, as they do not contain any chlorine or artificial fibers and are typically chlorine-free (TCF).

Another option would be to opt for a filter made from biodegradable materials, such as bamboo or hemp. These completely natural and biodegradable options can help reduce waste and protect the environment. Additionally, paper filters are good for health since they reduce the water needed to make a cup of coffee.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of unbleached papers?

Caucasian male hand holding an unused brown paper coffee filter studio shot isolated on blue background.

The benefits of unbleached paper filters are that they are better for the environment, as they do not contain chlorine or other bleaching agents that can harm the environment. Additionally, they retain more of the coffee beans’ natural oils, flavors, and aromas, resulting in a more flavorful cup of coffee.

On the downside, unbleached filters have a more natural brown color, which can make them look less appealing than bleached filters.


While it is widely accepted that chlorine-bleached filters are safe to use, consumers have become increasingly concerned about the potential presence of harmful chemicals left behind in trace amounts. If you are environmentally conscious, then bleached filters should be avoided.

There are many alternatives to regular white filters, such as bamboo coffee filters or unbleached Chemex filters, which offer great convenience and health benefits. Ultimately, the choice is yours – it is important to research and assess each option’s pros and cons before making a decision.

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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.