What can I use to strain juice?

Juicing fruits and vegetables is a great way to get an extra dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants into your diet. Freshly squeezed juice often has a thicker, pulpier texture than store-bought juices. While some people enjoy the fiber from the pulp, others may want to strain out some or all of the pulp for a smoother drinking experience.

When making juice at home, you’ll need some type of strainer to separate the liquid from the pulp. There are several different options for straining homemade juice, each with their own pros and cons.


Cheesecloth is a lightweight, gauzy cotton fabric that can be used to strain juice. It’s inexpensive and available at most grocery stores. To use cheesecloth for straining juice:

  • Cut a piece of cheesecloth into a square large enough to line a bowl or pitcher.
  • Place the cheesecloth over the container.
  • Slowly pour the freshly juiced mixture onto the cheesecloth.
  • Gather up the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze to extract all of the liquid.
  • Discard the pulp left in the cheesecloth.

Cheesecloth allows you to control how much pulp ends up in the juice. For a smoother juice, use two or three layers of cheesecloth. The downside is that cheesecloth can allow some slippery pulp through, and the juicing process is slower.

Mesh Strainers

Mesh strainers or sieves provide a simple option for straining juice. Fine mesh strainers will catch more pulp than coarse versions. To use a mesh strainer:

  • Place the strainer over a bowl or measuring cup.
  • Pour the juice slowly into the strainer.
  • Use a spoon or rubber spatula to gently press or stir the juice against the mesh to help separate the pulp.

Mesh strainers are easy to use and clean. But the mesh openings can get clogged with pulp during straining. Shaking or tapping the strainer can help keep things moving.

Nut Milk Bags

Nut milk bags are made from very fine, flexible mesh material. They were originally designed for straining homemade nut milks, but work well for fruit and vegetable juices too. To use a nut milk bag:

  • Place the bag over a large bowl or pitcher.
  • Pour the juice into the bag.
  • Lift the bag and gently squeeze to filter out the pulp.

Nut milk bags allow you to strain out even the finest pulp particles for a silky smooth juice. They’re reusable and take up little storage space. However, juice flows through the bags more slowly than other methods.

Juicer Screens

If you have a juicer machine like a centrifugal or masticating juicer, you can use the mesh screen from your appliance to further strain juice. These screens are designed to separate pulp from the juice during the juicing process. To use a juicer screen:

  • Remove the screen from the juicer housing.
  • Place the screen over a pitcher or bowl.
  • Carefully pour the juice over the screen to catch any remaining pulp.

Juicer screens provide a good middle ground – finer than a strainer but faster than cheesecloth. This method only works if you have a compatible juicer appliance.

Coffee Filters

Standard cone-shaped coffee filters can also work for straining juice in a pinch. To use coffee filters:

  • Place a filter into a funnel.
  • Put the funnel over a pitcher or jar.
  • Slowly pour the juice into the filter.

Coffee filters will produce a clear, pulp-free juice. However, the juicing process can be extremely slow due to the fine filter paper. The filters are also prone to tearing if overloaded with too much pulp.

Jelly Strainer Bags

Jelly strainer bags are crafted from a fine, lightweight nylon mesh to filter out fruit pulp or seeds when making jellies and jams. They can also be used to clarify fresh juices:

  • Place the jelly bag over a deep bowl.
  • Carefully ladle the juice into the bag.
  • Tie the bag closed once all the juice has been added.
  • Hang or suspend the bag over the bowl to allow the juice to drain out while trapping the solids.

Jelly bags provide thorough straining like a nut milk bag. The hanging method lets gravity do most of the work. These bags are reusable and take up little space. On the downside, juice flows through them slowly.

Juice Press

A juice press is a manual juicing tool that presses and squeezes produce between two hard surfaces. A typical press has a base receptacle and a levered arm. To use a juice press:

  • Place the produce in the base.
  • Lower the levered arm onto the produce.
  • Squeeze the lever to press down on the produce and extract the juice.
  • Collect the juice from the spout of the receptacle base.

Juice presses crush fruits and vegetables to force out juice while leaving drier pulp behind. They provide fast juicing without electricity. However, juice yield may be lower than other methods.

Steel Sieve

A stainless steel sieve or wire mesh strainer can be used to filter juice pulp. Look for an extra-fine mesh sieve for the best results. To strain with a steel sieve:

  • Place the sieve over a bowl or container.
  • Slowly pour or spoon the juice into the sieve.
  • Use a spoon or spatula to gently press the solids against the mesh to help separate the juice.

Steel sieves are durable and easy to clean. The fine mesh filters out even tiny pulp particles. Pressing the pulp can speed up straining compared to just letting juice drain through. Just take care not to damage the mesh with too much force.

Choosing the Best Juice Straining Method

There are a few key factors to consider when deciding which juice straining method is right for your needs:

  • Pulp Filtration – How much pulp do you want to remove? Methods like nut milk bags, coffee filters, or jelly strainers will produce a smoother juice compared to looser weaves like cheesecloth or mesh strainers.
  • Speed – Some straining methods are much slower than others. Cheesecloth, coffee filters, and jelly bags involve more passive draining versus quick pouring through a sieve.
  • Convenience – Are there extra steps involved? Methods that require setup like funnel coffee filters are less convenient than simply pouring through a strainer.
  • Cleaning – Consider how easy the tool is to clean after juicing. Sieves and strainers are easiest, while cheesecloth and nut milk bags require more scrubbing.
  • Cost – Prices range from cheap cheesecloth to more expensive appliances. Factor in your juicing frequency and budget.
  • Storage – Can the tool be compactly stored? Sieves and strainers take up minimal space in your kitchen.

Balancing these factors will help you decide the best solution for straining juice to suit your preferences. Test out a few different methods to see what works for your needs.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Juice Straining

Here are some tips to make juice straining faster and more effective regardless of the tool you use:

  • Work in smaller batches instead of trying to strain a large quantity at once. This prevents overflow and clogging.
  • Let gravity help – position bowls and containers below the strainer to allow juice to drain freely.
  • Don’t press too hard when squeezing produce through strainers or filters. This can damage the weave and tear the material.
  • Use a rubber spatula to gently stir and guide pulp through the strainer instead of pressing with your fingers.
  • Chill juice before straining – the cold temperature helps permeate pulp separate from the liquid.
  • Rinse strainers immediately after use. Pulp is easier to wash off before it dries.
  • Spot clean stains on reusable straining bags and materials. Don’t let pigmented juices like beet or berry permanently stain the fabric.


Straining homemade juice takes a little extra time and effort, but it’s worth it to control the texture. From simple and inexpensive cheesecloth to high-tech appliance screens, there are many options to suit different needs and preferences. Test out a few straining methods to find your favorite, keeping in mind speed, pulp filtration, convenience, cost, cleaning, and storage. With the right tools and techniques, you’ll be able to enjoy smooth, pulp-free juices and get the most out of your juicing.

Juice Straining Method Pros Cons
Cheesecloth Inexpensive, control pulp amount by layering Slow, some pulp slips through
Mesh strainer Easy to use, easy to clean Can clog with pulp
Nut milk bag Filters out fine pulp, reusable Very slow straining
Juicer screen Designed for juicing, middle ground texture Requires compatible appliance
Coffee filter Produces pulp-free juice Extremely slow, prone to tearing
Jelly strainer bag Thorough straining, reusable Slow draining speed
Juice press Fast juicing, no power required Lower yield than other methods
Steel sieve Durable, fine mesh filters well Pressing pulp can damage mesh

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