Making the Bed of Your Dreams: Choosing and Caring for Down & Feather Bedding
You can make the bed of your dreams by knowing how to buy and care for down and feather bedding.
Natural fill bed coverings are light yet warm, trapping the warmth of the body while wicking away moisture. They are an investment that will pay off in sleeping comfort. With proper care, down and feather bedding will last for years. The following information will help you make an informed decision in purchasing and properly caring for your down and feather bedding.
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Down consists of the soft undercoating of waterfowl. It is three-dimensional and is composed of individual fibers that are connected to one another at a central point. Down is what keeps waterfowl warm – even in Arctic conditions. Landfowl, such as chickens and turkeys, do not produce down. Down is the world's most efficient insulator; it provides lightweight warmth while wicking away moisture, resulting in a consistently comfortable sleep experience.
Two dimensional in shape, feathers from ducks and geese provide lightweight support and are uniquely resilient. Feathers conform to an individual's sleeping needs.
Fill power is a good indicator of the insulating ability of down products. Fill power refers to the amount of volume – or space – of one ounce of down, which is measured under laboratory conditions. The more volume taken up by one ounce of down, the higher the fill power will be, and the higher the fill power the more insulation the product will provide per one ounce. Down's exceptional value comes from its ability to provide lightweight warmth. As the fill power of down increases, it is possible (and often preferable) to use less weight in the product while achieving the same warmth provided by heavier, less comfortable, products.
Down products are often described as having "loft;" which essentially refers to the fluffiness of the product. The three dimensional nature of the down itself is what gives it loft. When a down comforter or pillow becomes flattened with use, its loft can be easily restored with plumping or shaking.
The top and bottom fabric of the product are stitched together, helping to prevent the down from shifting. A product with sewn-through construction may have boxes, channels or other patterns. While all sew- though constructions help prevent the down from shifting, a multiple-box construction generally will prevent more shifting than an end-to-end channel construction.
In a baffle box construction, the product has boxes sewn into it, but the boxes have vertical strips of fabric sewn to the top and bottom fabrics, creating baffled walls between each box. The baffles allow down to move into the boxes initially, but help prevent the down from shifting from the boxes later.
Nothing provides better lightweight warmth than down. Down's unique ability to efficiently insulate while wicking away moisture results in a comfortable sleep experience for a wide range of individuals, in a wide range of conditions. Since higher fill power generally means greater warmth per ounce, consumers can choose from a wide range of products to meet their specific comfort requirements.
Pillow support requirements vary with the individual. Neck and shoulder support are critical to a good night's sleep. Feather and down pillows contour to each individual's unique neck and shoulder shape, yet are resilient and easily return to their original shape. Down and feather products come in a wide variety of densities, thus allowing consumers to choose the pillow best suited for them.
Given the wide range of down and feather products offered in the marketplace today, consumers should always follow the manufacturer's care instructions provided with the product.
If your comforter or pillow is looking flat – just fluff it up – the down bounces right back into shape. A daily shake will restore the product's fluffiness, or loft, and will help increase its performance. To further enhance your down or feather product, try the following. Down comforters and blankets, as well as down or feather pillows, can be placed in a dryer set on low heat. Put a few tennis balls into the dryer to help fluff up the product while it tumbles around.
When not being used, down or feather comforters, blankets, pillows and featherbeds should be stored in breathable bags. A breathable bag will allow your down or feather product to better retain all the natural attributes that will provide you an exceptional sleep experience for years to come.