Absorbency Test | Monarch Inserts

monarch store cloth nappy absorbency test


When shopping for cloth nappies, making sure you have the right level of absorbency to match your babies output is as important in reducing leaks as getting the right fit.  To assist you in choosing the perfect nappy for your family's needs, I have tested the absorbency of our Classic, Ultimate & Pull-Up range of bamboo and hemp inserts. 


All inserts used in this test have been washed a minimum of 10 times and have reached maximum absorbency. We recommend soaking new inserts for 4 hours prior to their first wash, this step 'preps' your insert, immediately increasing capacity.  Our inserts (especially inserts containing hemp) reach their full potential around 8-10 washes.  If your baby or toddler is a super heavy wetter, we suggest boosting your nappy or changing the nappy more frequently until this max level is reached.

Aim:  To measure relative absorbency of current Monarch inserts.

Inserts tested:

  • Classic 5-layer bamboo insert 
  • Classic 5-layer hemp insert 
  • Ultimate 3-layer bamboo nap insert 
  • Ultimate 5-layer bamboo insert
  • Ultimate 5-layer hemp insert
  • Pull-Up Shell with absorbent core (Training Pants) LOSFM
  • Pull-Up 4-layer hemp trifold
  • Pull-Up 3-layer bamboo booster

    My Method: 

    1. I weighed each dry insert individually, before immersing them in a sink of warm water for two minutes.
    2. I hung each insert out and waited until the inserts were no longer dripping wet and weighed them individually.
    3. I repeated this process twice times to allow for variation.  Variation did occur and was >15gms.  I have chosen to post the median measurement.


    • Combined absorbency of a Classic Night Nappy set: 368g
    • Combined absorbency of an Ultimate Heavy Night Nappy set: 706g (2x Nap inserts)
    • Combined absorbency of a Pull-Up Nappy Set: 652g

    Classic Inserts

    DRY Weight

    WET Weight


    Classic 5 Layer Bamboo


    dry bamboo insert weighed



    wet cloth nappy bamboo insert


    Holds: 205g

    Classic 5 Layer Hemp


    hemp insert classic nappy


    wet hemp insert


    Holds: 163g



    Total Absorbency



    Ultimate Inserts

    DRY Weight

    WET Weight


    Ultimate 3 Layer Bamboo Nap


    dry bamboo nap insert


    wet bamboo nap insert

    Holds: 116g

    Ultimate 5 Layer Bamboo


    monarch cloth dry bamboo insert


    monarch cloth nappy wet bamboo insert

    Holds: 207g

    Ultimate 5 Layer Hemp


    ultimate cloth nappy hemp insert dry


    ultimate hemp cloth nappy insert wet

    Holds: 215g



    Total Absorbency




    DRY Weight

    WET Weight


    Pull Up Shell - Absorbent Core

    (Training Pants)



    pull up nappy with absorbent core

    Holds: 199g

    4 Layer Hemp Trifold



    Holds: 351g

    3 Layer Bamboo Booster



    Holds: 102g



    Total Absorbency



    As a comparison for relative absorbency of our Monarch cloth compared to disposable nappies, I also tested 3x size 4 (10-15kg) Huggies Ultimate Disposable Nappies.


    Disposable Nappy DRY Weight WET Weight   Absorbency
    Huggies Ultimate Sz4 Nappy




    Holds: 396g



    What are some key features of hemp and bamboo fibres?

    Absorbs quickly - fantastic for flooders*
    Has the capacity to absorb 20% of its weight before feeling damp
    Softer fabric
    Tighter fibre, trimmer insert
    Reaches full absorbency quickly


    * A 'flooder' is the name associated with a child who holds his/her urine for a period of time and releases it in one go, thus flooding the inserts before they are able to absorb all of the urine.  This leads to leaks and is more common in boys and older toddlers who have more bladder control.

    All Monarch inserts are completely interchangeable and many families customise their insert set up based on their little ones changing output. The only rule is there are no rules! 

    If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for what you'd like to see next on the blog, please leave them below!