We all know you need to prep natural fiber diapers & inserts to remove natural oils & make them more absorbent. Personal experience tells me this is true. But I wondered just how prepping affects the fabric.
Here’s a prefold brand new, never washed or dried, with 14 oz of water poured over it:
After 3 wash & dry cycles:
After 8 wash & dry cycles:
There wasn’t a huge difference in absorbency overall, but what was most interesting is that the fully prepped prefold absorbed the water quickly with no help from me, and locked it in tight. The new prefold didn’t easily absorb the water. It beaded up & rolled off, and I had to turn it over, push it down etc. just to get it to absorb as much as it did. Not only that but it didn’t seem to hold on to the water as well as the prepped prefold.
I created a short video with my “unscientific experiment” to show you:
Do you prep your natural fibers before use, or do you sometimes “cheat?”