Duck Down Basics
Down and feathers - yes, there is a difference!
Feathers are the plumage found on the outside of waterfowl; they have a two-dimensional quality with a shaft running vertically through the feather. The contoured shape of feathers provides a supportive quality which makes them appropriate for use in sleeping pillows, decorative pillow inserts and feather beds. They are generally not used for insulating purposes.
Down Clusters, often simply referred to as down, are the three-dimensional plumage found under the belly feathers of ducks and geese. They are nature's finest insulation, allowing waterfowl to remain warm even in the most frigid environments. Down clusters have a center core with fibers extending outward from the core, but unlike feathers there is no spine. The three-dimensional quality traps air and maintains warmth without a great deal of weight. Down is also very breathable and allows moisture to evaporate quickly.
What is Fill Power?
Fill power is a numerical designation for the volume one ounce of down occupies. The higher the value the more volume the one ounce will occupy. Fill power also provides an index for determining the lofting, insulation properties and quality of the down.
Comforter construction provides the performance features and aesthetic appearance of a comforter. Baffle Boxstitch construction utilizes vertical walls of fabric between each box; allowing the fill to achieve its greatest loft and a smoother surface texture. Sewn-Thru Boxstitch construction features end-to-end closed boxes that are stitched closed to prevent shifting of the fill material. The box shape is more visible because the top and bottom layers of fabric are sewn together. Box sizes offered include 8, 10 and 12". All Down Inc. comforters are stitched edge-to-edge and are finished using double-needle stitching and cording for enhanced durability.
Down sleeping pillows are constructed using either single chaber or tri-chambered compartmented shells. Single Construction pillows place the fill material in one area. The fill options for single chambered construction include down, feather/down blends, down alternative fibers or our unique SynergyTM blend. Tri-Chambered Compartmented Construction provides three unique internal chambers for housing the fill material. The combinations for fill material in the three chambers allow Down Inc. to manufacture pillows for all sleeping styles and density preferences. The illustration at left shows the three chambered construction of our compartmented pillows.
Caring For Down Comforters
A down comforter will last many years if cared for properly. Always protect your comforter from direct contact with body oils by using a duvet cover or by placing between two flat sheets and launder no more than once or twice per year unless there is obvious soiling. More frequent washing will shorten the life of your comforter. In between laundering we recommend you occasionally place it outside in fresh air and direct sun to restore freshness. Frequent fluffing will help retain the loft that makes your comforter so lush and inviting.
We recommend professional laundering (note laundering, not dry cleaning) based on the fact that most consumers over apply detergent and fail to rinse and dry the item properly. If you choose to home launder please use the following guidelines:
- Check seams and fabric carefully - if weakness is evident do not home launder!
- Machine wash in an over sized machine without a center agitator, using warm water and mild detergent on the delicate cycle.
- Do not use bleach or fabric softener.
- Repeat the rinse cycle an additional 1-2 times to ensure the detergent is completely removed.
- Dry using the low heat. Place a couple of clean tennis balls or dryer balls inside the dryer to add the process. Removing frequently to shake will help minimize wrinkling and aid the drying process. Dry well beyond the point where the outer fabric feels dry so that the down clusters will be fully dry - this often takes 3-4 hours.
- If possible, allow the comforter an additional 24 hours to air dry and release any moisture before placing inside a duvet cover. If you notice a lingering odor or clumping then the item was not fully dry when it was removed from the dryer.
Dry cleaning is an option, if you must, but we prefer not to see the chemicals added to your beautiful down bedding.
Caring for Natural-Filled Pillows
Adding a pillow protector will significantly enhance the life and appearance of your pillow. The protector can be easily removed and frequently washed. As we suggested with comforters, we recommend taking your pillows to a professional laundering facility. If home laundering, follow the same instructions shown above for comforters. Be especially careful to fully dry to avoid mildew from forming. Keep in mind, health care professionals recommend a new pillow at least every two years!
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