All cloth diapers are not created equal. Neither are their inserts. I have my favorites. The ones I kept in my stash even after trying so many alternatives. The ones I know will be safe to use when stuffing a nap or overnight cloth diaper. I can’t say I’m really surprised by the results from this little experiment. It is pretty cool to see real numbers of what these can actually hold.
Real Diaper Association is holding their School of Cloth. This week is Cloth Diaper Absorbency. They are encouraging all cloth diaper users to do their own experiment and share the results! From RDA’s blog, here is their call to action: (My results are right after this!)
The Real Diaper Association focuses on fact based evidence. Some of that evidence comes from collecting data from our own experiments (like our yeast in cloth diapers experiment), interviews with experts, good old fashioned research, and cloth diaper users like you! This week, we designed a quick experiment for cloth diaper users to measure the absorbency of one or more of their diapers. The more diapers you test and results you submit, the better data we will have to publish!
- Measure and pour 4 cups (32 oz.) of water into a large bowl. (I used 42 oz for fitteds.)
- Place the diaper or insert in the bowl until saturated.
- Lightly squeeze just enough liquid out of the diaper to stop it from dripping.
- Measure how much liquid is left in the bowl and subtract this number from the original 32 oz. to find out how much water your diaper or insert absorbed.
*For added information about how well fabric holds on to liquid*
- Place your saturated diaper in a casserole dish on a counter or table with a folded towel under one side so that it is leaning just a bit.
- Press down on the diaper with your hand to simulate a baby sitting in the diaper.
- Lift your diaper out of the casserole dish and measure the amount of water that the diaper released with this moderate pressure.
Repeat the experiment with other fabrics and/or styles of diapers. Comment below with your results and make sure to include:
- Type of fabric (cotton, hemp, bamboo, microfiber, minkey, zorb, etc.)
- The style and brand (if known) of diaper or insert (Infant Prefold, OsoCozy All-In-One/AIO, birdseye flat, Happy Heine microfiber etc.)
- Ounces of water the diaper absorbed
- Ounces of water the diaper released with moderate pressure
Please note that these results were obtained by following the above procedure. The ounces of liquid are what was held by one of each listed insert. (This is not a guarantee of what yours will hold.) I continually update this as I have more brands to add.
For the second part of the experiment I found when I put pressure on most that no water was released. My tray was only damp from touching the wet insert. This was the same for each insert except for the Microfiber and Charcoal Bamboo Insert (CBI). They did release some liquid under pressure. This is also known as compression leaks. (BTW, OS stands for one size.)
Actual Ounces of Warm Water Held:
- 12.25 oz Geffen Baby Jersey Hemp Prefold, M/L 60% hemp/40% cotton
- 11 oz RagaBabe Bulletproof Insert, L cotton sherpa & hemp
- 11 oz Thirsties Duo Hemp Prefold, size 2 55% hemp/45% cotton
- 9.5 oz HumBird XL Ultimate Insert, 55% hemp/45% bamboo
- 9 oz Geffen Baby Super Absorber Plus, OS 60% hemp/40% cotton
- 9 oz Boingo EcoMax Prefold, OS hemp
- 8 oz Osocozy Flat, OS 100% cotton
- 8 oz Ragababe Large Hemp Insert, cotton/hemp
- 8 oz Charcoal Bamboo Insert, OS charcoal/bamboo/microfiber
- 7 oz HumBird M/L Ultimate Insert, 55% hemp/45% bamboo
- 7 oz Premium Joey bunz Insert, hemp/cotton
- 7 oz Kawaii Microfiber Insert, OS microfiber
- 6.5 oz Thirsties Hemp Large Insert, 55% hemp/45% cotton
- 6.5 oz Peachy Baby Large Insert, bamboo rayon/cotton
- 6.5 oz Ragababe Large Insert, cotton sherpa & bamboo rayon
- 6 oz Milovia Med Insert, microfiber
- 6 oz Ragababe Med Hemp Inserts, hemp/cotton
- 6 oz Blueberry Prefold, Newborn 100% cotton
- 6 oz GroVia Stay Dry Soaker, OS 55% hemp, 45% cotton
- 5.5 oz Geffen Baby Super Absorber, OS 60% hemp/40% cotton
- 5.5 oz Ragababe Med. Insert, cotton sherpa & bamboo rayon
- 5 oz Thirsties Fab Doubler Large, 15% polyester, 85% cotton
- 5 oz Milovia Small Insert, microfiber
- 4 oz HumBird Newborn/S Ultimate Insert, 55% hemp 45% bamboo
- 4 oz HumBird M/L Exceptional Insert, Hemp/Bamboo
- 4 oz Thirsties Hemp Small Insert, 55% hemp/45% cotton
- 4 oz Ragababe Small Insert, cotton sherpa & bamboo rayon
- 4 oz Gerber Large Insert, Polyester/Rayon
- 3 oz Geffen Baby Quick Absorber, 60% hemp, 40% cotton
- 3 oz HumBird Newborn/S Exceptional Insert, hemp/bamboo
- 3 oz Thirsties Fab Doubler Small, 15% polyester, 85% cotton
- 3 oz Peachy Baby Small Insert, bamboo rayon/cotton
- 3 oz GroVia Stay dry Booster, OS cotton/ poly fleece blend
- 2 oz Gerber Small Insert, polyester/rayon
Fitted Results (check out the amount on that first one!!! I was blown away!)
Please note that there are varying numbers of inserts included with each of the fitteds listed below. That obviously can affect absorbency as well as the cost to you.
Overnight Fitteds: (These are specifically created and labeled for nights.)
- 37 oz Twinkie Tush Night-Nights OS cotton velour
- 36 oz Truly Charis Heavy Wetter Fitted OS hemp/cotton
- 30 oz Kissing Blake Night time Hybrid Fitted OS bamboo fleece
Fitteds and Hybrid Fitteds:
- 28 oz Sustainablebabyish size large organic bamboo fleece
- 27 oz Twinkie Tush Fusion OS bamboo/cotton/fleece
- 26 oz Twinkie Tush OS bamboo/cotton
- 19 oz Pooters OS Hemp/cotton
- 16 oz Sweet Pea OS bamboo/cotton
- 13 oz Chelory AIO OS Stay dry bamboo/zorb
- 12 oz Ragababe AIO Large bamboo/cotton
- 11.5 oz Opulent Monsters OMMO OS bamboo/ cotton fleece
- 11 oz Gerber It’s a Snap AIO OS with both included inserts Cotton/Poly/Rayon
- 10 oz Sweet Pea AIO OS bamboo velour/ bamboo fleece/microfiber
- 9.5 oz Gerber AIO Large w/ doubler, 65% polyester/35% rayon
- 8.5 oz Bum-Ware AIO BWX2 OS microfiber
There you have it!
There are a few things to take into consideration besides just the amount of liquid held. Here are my thoughts:
Trimness…Geffen Baby wins on this one. You can already see their prefold held the most amount of liquid. Don’t misjudge the Geffen’s Super Absorbers though. They seem like they are paper thin. You can easily stuff 3 Super Absorbers and be at about the same thickness as one of the Geffen Prefolds. The Thirsties Hemp Inserts and Joeybunz are also trim. If you are wanting to add absorbency to it for nights, you want something super trim to yet absorbent. This allows you to have enough to soak up a ton yet not be really bulky. I would say all of the AIO’s listed are pretty trim.
The GroVia Soaker and Booster combination is fairly trim and was one of my favorites until Sophia was about a year old. They only had enough absorbency for day use here. The soaker could make it though a nap if I added a Thirsties Hemp insert in addition to the booster (I usually tucked the Thristies Hemp Insert under the top layer of the GroVia Soaker). But this was never a night option here as it just didn’t pack enough punch.
This experiment included the more absorbent inserts that I knew I had, many of which are already on My Recommedations page.
Sophia is 27 months now. My current favorite day combo is a Geffen Baby Jersey Hemp Prefold pad folded in any of my covers.
For naps, it’s 2 Geffen Baby Super Absorbers Plus with a Sweet Pea Cover (its got gussets and a high rise so perfect for an older baby and can be stuffed to the max).
At night we are using 3 Thirsties Hemp Inserts with a Ragababe Insert on top (the cotton sherpa on the Ragababe insert acts as a stay dry layer and pulls moisture away from baby). I’m starting to use the Geffen Baby Super Absorber Plus at night and really love them. They the thinnest of the super absorbent inserts. I cover with any cover I have with leg gussets as this is the only kind that I find that can take all these layers and not gap on Sophia’s legs. Right now my favorites are Blueberry Coveralls or the one Sweet Pea cover I have. I used to love the Kawaii Goodnight Heavy Wetters, but as Sophia got bigger, I just couldn’t stop the legs from getting gaps…and because of that, leaks.
Another favorite night option of mine are my Twinkie Tush Night Nights, Kissing Black night fitted or Truly Charis fitted and a Woollybottoms wool cover. The Truly Charis is mind blowingly trim and soft and you can see that is another knock your socks off option. These three are all well worth the money. A Pooters fitted is an amazing value for the money at only $14! I did need to add one more insert to get it too go night for me, but it’s such an awesome price. If you are on a budget they are worth looking into. If you need more help with night cloth diapering, please check this out.
I encourage you to participate in the experiment and share the results via social media by using the hashtags #SchoolOfCloth #clothdiaperabsorbency. Share your findings here as well or just give a shout out to your favorite absorbent cloth diapers and inserts!
*Affiliate links are used in this post. By shopping through them, you are supporting this blog and my family and I SUPER thank you for that!