All About Down
All about down.
Not all down is created equal.
Down is nature's finest, most efficient insulator, providing lightweight warmth and loft. Insulation in down comes not from the down itself, but rather from the air that it traps in pockets. Heat transfers very slowly between the barriers between air pockets. The smaller the pocket means more barriers, and better insulating power.
Down filling is made up of large three-dimensional clusters of down fiber to create loft and insulation. Fill, or Fill Power, are terms used to describe the size and quality of the down cluster. The amount of fill power and loft determines the effectiveness and quality of the down. It is the size and quality of the down cluster, described by the "Fill Power" that is important when it comes to the loft and insulating properties of down.
The origin of each product's down is important to know. Goose down from Asia is very inconsistent in quality and is generally found in less expensive bedding. European and North American down is generally considered to be of superior quality, mostly due to the harvesting, sorting, quality standards and sanitizing procedures which are very highly regulated.
Class I natural filling: EN 12934
Did you know that feathers and down can be labelled in 3 classes under the EN 12934 standard??
Ringsted Dun only uses new down and feathers of the highest quality (class I). The other two classes are for inferior qualities. If there is no information on class, the product in question might be class III. Class III permits the use of more than 15% recycled down/feathers from used products that other people have slept in. Make sure you get a duvet or pillow labelled with class I, this is your ensurance of a duvet or pillow filled with brand new down.
A down comforter can be made warmer in two ways:
- By increasing the quantity, or weight, of down.
- By using a higher quality of down with greater loft, or fill power
A down comforter filled with 60 ounces of 550 fill will be much heavier, yet not as warm, as a comforter filled with 40 ounces of higher quality 750 fill. Warmth without weight is the hallmark of a quality down comforter.
A 750 fill white goose down is approximately 15% fluffier and warmer than a 650 fill. Sometimes, you may notice dark spots through the fabric on your comforter or pillow. These are dark (gray) clusters of down and are present, to some degree, in even the highest quality white goose down. Goose down turns gray as the goose gets older (just like our hair). This is natural, and the fill is not inferior in any way. These dark clusters are usually only visible when compressed under the fine white fabric.
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.
Washing your down products:
All Ringsted Dun products are washable at 140o in a standard washing machine. After washing, it is important to dry the quilt or pillow completely in a tumble drier and put two or three tennis balls in with it. The tennis balls ensure that clumps of down are disentangled and opened up during the drying process. We recommend washing your pillow once or twice a year and your quilt once a year when changing between summer and winter quilts. However, this will depend on your sleeping habits and the number of dogs in the bed!
Washing down products if you have allergies:
Follow the same procedure as described above, just more often if you want to make absolutely sure there are no house dust mites in your bed. The European Down and Feather Association (EDFA) recommends washing quilts four times a year and pillows 12 times a year.
It is important that you care for your quilt regularly if you want to enjoy the use of it for many years. When you get up in the morning, make sure the moisture absorbed during the night can escape. Fluff your quilt when you make your bed. This keeps it lofty, light and airy. Don't forget to fluff it from different sides to distribute the filling evenly. It is recommended to air quilt and pillow as often as possible, however always leave the covers on and never in direct sun. It is important never to vacuum or beat the quilt. Use a soft brush instead.
If you sleep on your side, a firm pillow is important for optimal support to your neck. If you sleep on your back or stomach, it is important to have a soft pillow with a high down content as it is easier for the pillow to "squeeze" to suit you. It also depends on whether you are male or female. A man sleeping on his side often requires a higher pillow than a woman sleeping on her side.