I've just done an absorbency test of eight fabrics, all measuring 7x11cm. All had been hot-washed once. I sat them in warm water for 10 mins, hung them over a knife and let them drip for two minutes, and then weighed them. Here are the results:
Bamboo/cotton towelling: absorbed 26ml
$4 beach towel (Spotlight): absorbed 22ml
Burley knit terry (Greenbeans): absorbed 22ml
Microfibre (Greenbeans): absorbed 20ml
Cotton velour towelling (Fabric Warehouse): absorbed 20ml
Hemp/cotton fleece (Greenbeans): absorbed 18ml
Hemp/cotton French terry (Greenbeans): absorbed 14ml
Bamboo/cotton fleece (Nappy Makers/spikybrain): absorbed 14ml
Bamboo/cotton French terry (Leanne's co-op): absorbed 12ml
The top five fabrics are bulky compared with the bottom four fabrics.
Bamboo/cotton French terry held 67% of the moisture it absorbed after it was well wrung.
Next was hemp French terry, at 57%.
Then cotton velour towelling at 50%, bamboo/cotton towelling at 46%, BKT and the beach towel at 45%, hemp fleece at 44%, bamboo/cotton fleece at 42%, and microfibre at 40%.
I tested the speed of absorbency and spread before I did the absorbency tests. (I didn't test the beach towel in these tests.) All had been hot-washed once and were dry. I dropped warm water onto the middle of the flat side of them using a syringe. The quickest to absorb were microfibre, bamboo/cotton towelling, bamboo/cotton French terry, and cotton velour towelling. The quickest to spread were microfibre, bamboo/cotton French terry, and cotton velour towelling.
The ones slow to absorb were bamboo/cotton fleece, hemp French terry, hemp fleece, and BKT. The ones slow to spread were bamboo/cotton towelling, bamboo/cotton fleece, hemp fleece, and BKT.
Mama to Braden (5/05), Rosalia (6/08), Corin (3/10) and Annelise (2/14)