- Down provides exceptional warmth without additional weight which makes for a luxuriously soft and airy sleeping experience.
- Down provides approximately 3X the warmth, at similar weights, as do good synthetics.
Down’s ability to breathe and wick away body moisture is unsurpassed. Synthetics generally do not breathe easily, thereby trapping moisture, leaving the sleeper feeling clammy and uncomfortable.
- Down filling has a “memory”, which means, it is able to re-loft and bounce back after compressing. This ability is what enables down to continually conform to the sleeper’s body providing a feeling of snugness.
- The primary determinant of good quality down is the age of bird at the time of harvesting. Although goose down is usually slightly superior to that of ducks, this is not guaranteed; good quality duck down from an older bird will be superior to that from a younger goose.
- When comparing good quality duck down with goose down one must also take note of the much higher cost which goose sells for. Most of the world’s down (including much of goose down) is produced in the Orient.
- Another fallacy associated with down is that white down is superior to grey or brown coloured down. This is incorrect. Eider down – considered by some to be the best down in the world – is dark brown in colour.
- Down is the fluffy undercoating of a bird’s plumage which ducks, geese and other waterfowl produce to keep them warm. Down’s three dimensional structure traps pockets of warm air which insulates and provides even warmth.
- The function of feathers determines its form; its purpose is to provide a protective covering of the bird and enable it to fly. Feathers are flat and, due to its spine, very elastic. We only use the very smallest feathers of the animal as the larger flight feathers are too hard and can poke through the fabric covering of the bedding.
- Synthetic fibres can take many forms, but as a filling, do not typically conform to the sleeper as well as down does.
- Being natural products, down and feathers are better suited for filling bedding products and also last longer than synthetic fibres. Synthetic fibres do not generally insulate as well, tend to trap moisture, and are often heavier than down.
- Down is non-allergenic and provides an unfavourable environment for dust mites. Mites are the chief causes of allergic responses in the bed and they thrive in hot, moist conditions. As down "breathes", humidity levels are kept under control, and mite populations are prevented from growing. By contrast, synthetic fibre fillings provide a much more advantageous environment for mites (1).
(1. Source: European Down and Feather Association)
The ideal filling for a duvet is pure down as it is warm and light and soft to the touch. Down pillows are also extremely soft and can mould to suit any shape.
DOWN & FEATHER
A combination of these two materials is used as a filling for inexpensive, value-for-money duvets and pillows. Always check the percentage of down vs feathers - cheap duvets often have very little down content and much more feather filling.
Feathers alone are used where support is preferred over insulation such as with scatter cushions.
Over the years the term Eiderdown has come to mean a type of comforter or throw. Its original meaning, however, is somewhat different. Eiderdown is down sourced from the Eider duck. This down is thought to be the best available because of its extremely high lofting ability due to an unique ability to cling to itself. Not much of this exclusive down is available as the bird is a protected species and the down must be collected by hand from the Eider’s nest.
There are many types and grades of down available for filling a duvet.
The most rare types include down from the Eider and the Arctic grey goose. Difficult to come by and therefore selling at a premium, this down is for those customers who want something very special and unique.
Next in line, and more easily sourced, is Siberian and Hungarian down. Not as unique as Arctic goose, this down also commands a premium. Value conscious customers need to weigh up the 10-20% higher loft value against a usually much higher price premium.
The ideal duvet should be the right size, weight, and warmth level for the season.
- Duvets should be at least one size larger than the bed it covers. By doing so the sleeper/s and the bed are both covered eliminating cold areas. The larger size also creates a more attractive overhang on the sides of the bed.
- A down duvet is lightweight while still being warm – a major benefit over predominantly feather or synthetic fillings.
- An Autumn down duvet is the best compromise you can make when using one duvet year round. As stated above it is very light which makes it airy even in warm weather. However, the ideal choice is to match the weight of the duvet to the season and the cost effective solution to this is to purchase 2 duvets; one Summer and one Autumn weight duvet, each for their respective seasons which are then clipped together (with the studs we attach) for those cold winter nights.
- There are few things more personal or which we feel more strongly about than our pillow. Choosing the right pillow is a very important step to achieving restful sleep. There are 2 critical considerations; your sleeping posture and the firmness of your mattress.
- Sleeping posture; whether you sleep on your stomach, side or back plays a role in your choice of pillow:- if on your stomach choose a soft pillow, if on your side choose a firm pillow, and if on your back choose a soft to medium pillow.
- Mattress firmness; generally, the softer the mattress, the softer your pillow should be.
Which ever pillow you choose aim to maintain the natural curvature of your spine.
We know how frustrating it can be to source a duvet to fit an extra length or other non-standard size. At SleepCo we pride ourselves in suiting products to customers (and not the other way around). We make any size duvet or pillow. Call us with our size specification.
- The vast majority of suppliers of down and feathers harvest these materials as a by product of the meat industry i.e. the birds are not plucked while alive. This is almost certainly the case with the harvesting of duck down.
- We subscribe to the position adopted by the European Down and Feather Association and its members and support those suppliers who do not harvest down and feathers from live animals.
- Additionally, we prefer to source our duck down from local suppliers where we can observe the humane treatment of the animals. For the most part goose down is only available in South Africa as an imported product.
There are 3 stages to caring for your down duvet or pillow;
- Prevention is better than cure. Protect your duvet by keeping it covered and fluff it up regularly.
- Pillows should have the additional protection of a toweling protector. Try to keep your pillow away from too much moisture (e.g. wet hair), oils (e.g. night creams) and excessive compression (e.g. storing in a compressed state).
- When a spill occurs try to spot clean immediately with a mild detergent without allowing the filling to get wet. If possible shake the filling away from the affected area, clean and dry the spill, and re-fluff the duvet.
- It is possible to wash very soiled or old duvets however this requires some skill together with a large capacity washing machine. Down products should be washed gently on a low heat and with a mild detergent. The most important step in cleaning down is to ensure that you rinse thoroughly to remove all debris and soap residue.
- The item should be dried slowly either on a low heat setting in the tumble drier, or by hanging in the shade. Because of the high volume of water required to properly wash a full size duvet, we strongly recommend a re-case instead.
Down is an all-natural product with a thin coating of oil. It is this very oil which ensures that down retains its flexibility and its longevity. To make down completely odourless might sometimes require that it be stripped of its protective oils.
- A few simple guidelines should be followed to prevent excessive odour:-
- Air your down product for a day or two when you first take it home.
- Keep your down product out of direct sunlight for extended periods of time.
- Place a protector over your down pillows. This forms a protective barrier which prevents excessive moisture and hair oils from penetrating into the down filling.
SleepCo products are made from high quality, all natural materials. All our products are guaranteed against faulty materials and workmanship. We are committed to supporting local suppliers wherever possible, and are concerned with the development of renewable resources.
We will gladly accept the return of any product within 14 days of purchase which displays any defect and does not reflect our high production standards.