We made a grand old mess!
To satiate my curiosity about how much these cloth diapers really do hold, I laid out all 25 of those cloth diapers from the cloth diaper review, and I did two tests (on different days):
- Leah helped me do some closeup videos of how quickly each diaper and/or insert would absorb a Tablespoon of water. You’ll be surprised about some that wouldn’t absorb for minutes! (coming later this week)
- I poured water until saturation on everything I had and kept track of how much total liquid each insert would hold. The results are fascinating! (below)
Check out the video to see what I did firsthand on just a small sample of diapers. Keep in mind that I’m not a scientist, I just play one on the Internet. My scientific method may not be perfectly sound, but I figure it’s all pretty interesting nonetheless.
If you can’t see the embedded video, click cloth diaper absorbency video reviews to see it on You Tube.
Click HERE for get the newest eBook on cloth diapering, “Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert!”
The Chart: How Much Liquid do Cloth Diapers Hold?
My disclaimer: I only did this one time, so certainly I am off a bit here and there. I poured to saturation and/or sopped up water off the surface if inserts didn’t absorb as quickly, as you see in the video, which is unrealistic of real life diapering. Many inserts are partly dry even as the diaper is leaking in another area, but this gives an interesting comparison.
|Name of diaper||Material||Amount held|
|Kissaluvs organic fitted||organic cotton/hemp||1 ½ c.|
|small Kissaluvs insert w/o snaps||?||~3/8 c.|
|Kissaluvs fitted||cotton fleece||2 c.|
|Kissaluvs long snap-in insert||so thin…||just over ½ c.|
|Wooldins fitted||organic bamboo velour||1 ½ c.|
|Wooldins extra liner||solid ¼ c.|
|Fuzzibunz||microfiber (I stuff with 2)||½-¾ c. each|
|Bum Genius||longest microfiber insert||almost 1 ¼ c.|
|Bum Genius||extra microfiber insert||½ c.|
|Thirsties Duo||microfiber (snaps with hemp below)||¾ c.|
|Thirsties hemp doubler||hemp/cotton||¾ c.|
|Kawaii Green Baby||bamboo (I stuff with 2)||¾ c.|
|Babykicks Basic||cotton/hemp and microfiber||~1 c.|
|Babykicks Premium insert||Hemparoo JoeyBunz = hemp/cotton||between ¾ c. and 1 c.|
|Babykicks extra insert||almost nothing|
|Babykicks Premium diaper w/o any insert||(wear as training pant)||¼ c.|
|Bumkins||microfiber (I stuff with two)||½-¾ c. each|
|Oh Katy!||microfiber||¾-1 c.|
|Oh Katy! newborn insert||microfiber||almost ¾ c.|
|Tiny Tush||microfiber (Tweedlebugs insert)||just less than 1 c.|
|Tiny Tush, newborn insert||microfiber||just less than ¾ c.|
|Go Green Champ||microfiber||solidly 1 c.|
|Motherease AIO||?||over 2 c.!|
|totwearhouse.com insert (came with Motherease)||fleece-topped organic hemp||¾-1 c.|
|Ones and Twos AIO||microfiber||~¾ c. (but the first 1/4 c. ran off the side…)|
|Ones and Twos extra insert||microfiber||¾ c.|
|Covers with inserts (two-piece)|
|Sprout Change by Willow||organic cotton/hemp||at least 1-1/8 c.!|
|Econobum with prefold||unbleached cotton||nearly 2 c.!|
|Flip||microfiber||1 ¼-1 ½ c.|
|Tuck and Go||cotton/bamboo/ polyester||¾-1 c.|
|Hiney Liney||bamboo/cotton (white)||solidly 1 c.|
|Hiney Liney||(off-white)||¾-1 c.|
|Softbums Echo||microfiber||almost 1 ¼ c.|
|Softbums drytouch mini pod||microfiber||¾ c.|
|Softbums Omni w/bamboo extra long pod||bamboo||just barely 1 ½ c.|
|Grovia||organic cotton||not quite 1 c. (last 1/4 c. ran right through!)|
|Itti Bitti Tutto||bamboo||longest = maybe 3/8 c.
mid-size = ~3/8 c.?
small = barely 2 Tbs.
(very hard to absorb)
If you’re interested in more information on any of these diapers, check out the lovely sponsors who sent them to me by clicking the diaper name, or pop over to the comprehensive cloth diaper review for my thoughts plus a how-to video for each and every one of them…I’m also keeping close track of leaks this week and will come back to that post to report and change scores if needed.
I have some theories about why there may be a discrepancy between the measured absorbency and the actual leak-proof performance:
- Microfiber – it’s great for keeping babies feeling dry, and it dries quickly, but it doesn’t always soak up the liquid on contact either (a) quickly enough to keep it in the diaper or (b) far enough back on the insert. Microfibers are often dry on back as the diaper is leaking out the front (for a boy).
- On the contrary, materials like bamboo and fitted fleece absorb so well that they’re going to nab any liquid that comes at them and spread it evenly on the surface of the diaper/insert.
- A few diapers just acted funny – the Flip seemed super repellent on the side that’s supposed to face the baby, the Grovia for some reason had zero absorbency in its bottom layer, and the Itti Bitti was incredibly slow to soak up liquid. The Sugar Peas insert was very absorbent on one side but not the other.
Actual Total Absorbency
For a lot of the pocket diapers especially, I double stuff them as a general rule since the company sent two inserts. This results in absorbency like so:
- Kawaii Green Baby and Thirsties Duo = 1.5 c. total absorbency for normal wear
- Fuzzibunz, Bumkins = about 1.25 c. total for normal wear
- Softbums Echo with DryTouch pod = almost 2 c. total absorbency
Nighttime Bulletproof Solutions!
At night, I might do something like this:
- Kissaluvs fleece + its insert with snaps + Thirsties hemp doubler = 3 1/4-3 1/2 cups of liquid!
- Motherease AIO + Sugar Peas hemp doubler = about 3 c. liquid!
- Econobum prefold with Thirsties hemp = almost 3 c.
Here’s a rundown of the big winners (and biggest losers):
- Grovia held slightly less than a cup and can’t really have extra stuffing
- Itti Bitti Tutto held less than a cup with all 3 inserts
- Ones and Twos barely absorbed 3/4 cup
- Babykicks extra insert is worthless – less than a Tablespoon!
Almost all the microfibers hold around 3/4 c. with no real standouts.
- Sprout Change held 1.25 cups, impressive because it’s sooo thin!
- All 3 fitted diapers held 1.5-2 cups and easily add extras
- Econobum prefold held an impressive nearly 2 cups.
- Motherease (below) was the winner, holding a whopping 2+ cups (but not quite 2 1/4 c.)
How Much Does a Disposable Diaper Hold?
Here’s your answer, and my incredulity:
If you can’t see the embedded video, click disposable diaper absorbency to see it on You Tube.
|7th Generation size 3 disposable diaper||???||a solid 2 ½ c.|
When my son threw the disposable away for me, he said, “Whoa, this is SUPER heavy!” It was just like when a child wears a diaper into a lake and it comes out all hanging down to their knees. Pretty crazy stuff.
Now, don’t you all just want to go pour some water on your diapers?
Check out part two, the speed tests, right HERE.
If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.
Disclosure: I am also an affiliate of the eBook and will receive commission for purchases. See my full disclosure statement here.