How To Choose Between Feather & Down Bedding

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With so many types of different fillings, weights and materials available, choosing the best kind of duvet and pillow material for your home or business can be a daunting task.

If you’re looking to spend a little extra, then the best materials are feather, down or a combination of them both because although there are many high quality man-made alternatives available, these kinds offer a unique sensation due to their natural fillings.

This guide will explain exactly what the differences are between feather and down, as well as providing guidance on how to look after this range of different bed linen materials.

Feather & Down – what’s the difference?

Let’s start with the basics. Down is slightly different from feather, it’s the fluffy insulation under ducks’ feathers that keep them heated and protected from the outdoor elements, which makes it ideal for warmth.


Feathers will usually be less expensive than down. They are also easy to shape and are durable, meaning they will last much longer thanks due to the firm nature of the feather.

However, pure feather bedding won’t last as long as a down product. In addition, the feather quills can poke through the bed covers/pillows on occasion. Of course ensuring that you have pillow and duvet protectors which add an additional barrier between you and the filling can help to avoid this.

In addition, pure feather fillings may not provide as much warmth and softness in comparison with their down counterparts.


Down is a softer filling compared to feathers, it is also light and airy which gives the pillow an additional softness. Furthermore, the temperature controlling property of down makes it an excellent option for trapping heat whilst releasing air at the same time. So if you feel the cold easily, down duvets will definitely keep you warm during the winter months. Of course price is a consideration here as pure down filled duvets and pillows are more expensive.

Feather and Down Blend

Although there are many differences between feather and down materials, when the two fabrics are blended together in pillows and duvets, you get a more economical purchase compared with what you receive in pure down or feather filled bedding. The down will add a soft, light aesthetic complemented by the firm structure offered by the feathers.

This is why those looking for luxury bedding sets tend to opt for feather and down blends. However, if you do have allergy sufferers in your household there are plenty of synthetic alternatives available that offer a high-quality choice of pillows and duvets to choose from.

How do you care for both feather and down?

Firstly, duvets need to be regularly aired, this is not only going to freshen up your duvets but will also help get rid of the unusual odour that feather and down fillings naturally have when they are first purchased.

Stains can be an obvious problem at one stage or another. The best way to safeguard your bedding is to ensure you have excellent duvet and pillow protectors.

However, if a spill does happen, simply take some soap and hot water to rub the duvet down. For more severe stains, you can wash your bedding, but only on a delicate wash that will ensure any mechanical washing action is reduced as much as possible so as not to damage anything. It’s also important to note that bleach should never be used in a wash cycle for feather and down bedding.

Once washed, you must make sure the bedding has dried properly. This is because any remaining moisture contained will create mould and mildew – ruining your bedding.

If you have a tumble dryer, set it to a medium heat and leave on for approximately 4 hours. If you don’t have a tumble dryer the use of a hair dryer is a good substitute.

Synthetic fillings

Synthetic fillings are available in varying levels of price and quality. Many people are allergic to feather and down, making man-made fibres a perfect alternative. However, many people argue there is a unique sensation that can only be achieved with 100% natural fibre-filled duvets and pillows.

Feather and down bedding also has a long shelf-life, so you won’t constantly be replacing your duvets and pillows at great expense.

What’s the verdict?

Whilst pure feathers add weight and structure to your covers, down will provide you with warmness coupled with a luxurious softness. A fantastic down and feather blend will not only make for a comforting option but will comprise both the feather and down benefits.

If you feel a feather or down bedding set is right for you, and as long as you follow this guidance, your new duvet and pillows set will provide you with a sumptuous night’s sleep for years to come.