Logically, a new, fluffy microfiber cloth diaper insert will absorb better than an old, dingy flattened one, but I wanted to find out for sure!
First I took a nearly new and super fluffy insert, one that has been used for a few months and is in good shape, but not brand new, and an old, dingy flattened insert. All 3 are the same brand and size. I know this isn’t scientific; I just wanted a basic comparison!
I put each one in 12 oz of water and waited approximately one minute.
Then I flipped the inserts over and waited another minute.
Then I squished them down a little bit to give them another minute to absorb as much as possible.
Lastly, I perched them on top of the measuring cups to see how much water was not absorbed.
Not surprisingly, the old insert didn’t absorb nearly as well, but there wasn’t much difference between how much the nearly new and still-in-pretty-good-shape inserts absorbed. (Keep in mind that microfiber is also prone to compression leaks, so don’t expect that your inserts will absorb and hold this much liquid. This isn’t meant to be an absorbency test, just a comparison! )
What did surprise me is how quickly the new, fluffy insert absorbed. So much so that I wanted to show you.
Here’s another highly unscientific demonstration:
I wouldn’t worry about replacing all of your inserts, but if you’re finding that your older or secondhand diapers aren’t absorbing as well, and your inserts are very flattened, it’s something to consider.