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1. WHAT IS DOWN?
Down consists of clusters of filaments growing from a central quill point without a quill shaft. It looks much like a dandelion pod. Down is the light, fluffy undercoating that geese, ducks, and other waterfowl have to keep them warm. Land fowl such as chickens do not produce quilt-worthy down
2. WHAT IS FEATHER?
Feather, the principal covering of birds, has a flat construction. A feather has a hard, quill shaft from one end to the other, with a series of fibers joining together into a flat structure on each side of the shaft.
3. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Feathers are flat and two dimensional, and are used for flying, while smaller feathers are for protection. Down is a three dimensional cluster that is grown for warmth.
4. HOW CAN DOWN BE SO LIGHT, YET INSULATE SO WELL?
Because of its three dimensional structure and ability to "loft" (trap air), each down cluster traps more air for its weight than any synthetic. Every ounce of quality down has about 2 million fluffy filaments that interlock and overlap to form a protective layer of still air that keeps warmth in and cold out. Because of down’s resilience, you can crunch it up or flatten it out, and it takes is a good shake for it to fluff up and bounce back to the form that keeps you cozy and warm.
5. HOW ARE DOWN & FEATHERS PROCESSED?
Down and feathers are carefully washed with special processes, rinsed, dried, and then separated into different grades.
6. WHICH BIRDS PROVIDE THE BEST DOWN?
Generally speaking, the best down comes from larger, more mature birds. In general, goose down is better than duck down, and white goose down is better than grey goose down. A high quality white goose down cluster has an extraordinarily high warmth-to-weight ratio. A duvet or sleeping bag filled with this down will be very light and incredibly warm. And it will last for decades. Down from younger birds not only tends to have poor fill power, it will also tend to last in a relatively short time, because its fibers are too fragile.
7. WHERE DOES DOWN ORIGINATE?
The best down comes from colder regions of the world (China, Europe and Canada). Cold weather makes the down thicker and therefore better able to trap air.
8. WHY IS DOWN SUPERIOR TO SYNTHETICS AS AN INSULATOR?
Down gives approximately three times the warmth per ounce compared to synthetics. Synthetics mat and lump together over time, leaving empty cold spots, while down continually relofts, and molds itself to the body. Down also has the marvelous ability to breathe and wick away perspiration, so the user doesn't experience the clamminess which often occurs with synthetics.
9. WHY DO DOWN PRODUCTS VARY SO MUCH IN PRICE?
There are many factors which can affect the quality and therefore the price. You need to be aware of the kind of down in the duvet. Is it Duck Down or Goose Down? Is it white goose down or grey goose down? The species of down will always determine the difference in price. In general, white goose down is superior to all other types of down and you should always be looking for this type of down.
10. HOW DO I KNOW I'M GETTING WHAT I'M PAYING FOR?
The best guide is to look for the Down Association of Canada hang tag/label. When you see the trademark, you know that the manufacturer has had to meet strict guidelines for quality.
11. WHAT IS THE DOWN ASSOCIATION OF CANADA?
The Down Association of Canada is a national, non- profit organization headquartered in Toronto, and dedicated to maintaining quality standards for down products. For years the Down Association of Canada has had its own program of surveillance within the industry, where items are randomly purchased and tested for quality. This program encourages all processors, manufacturers and retailers to comply with Canadian labeling standards.
12. HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR DOWN DUVET:
A duvet cover will prolong the life of the duvet and eliminate the necessity of frequent washing.
PRIOR TO USE: Down duvets are vacuum packed at the factory and therefore do not appear as fluffy as the store sample does. To activate (fluff up) the down shake your duvet for a few moments. Full lofting of the down will usually occur within 24 hours. Your body warmth will enable it to loft even more. A duvet cover is recommended with all duvets in order to prolong the life of the duvet and eliminate the necessity of frequent washing.
GENERAL CARE: Change the position of the duvet within the duvet cover with each duvet cover change. This will ensure even wear, as there is more abrasion and soiling at the edge closest to the face. Air out your duvet periodically away from the sun’s damaging rays. This will freshen it, and optimize the duvet’s insulating properties. Small spots and stains can be spot cleaned. Shift as much down as possible away from the stain. Spot clean with a non-detergent solution (such as woolite or zero) diluted with water. Rub fabric to loosen stain, and squeeze excess moisture out with a dry towel. Rinse the same way using just water. Use a hair drier to ensure area is completely dry.
WASHING: With careful use, a down duvet should only require washing every 5 to 10 years, if at all. A small duvet can be laundered in a domestic front load machine. Larger sizes will require a commercial front load machine. Set the washer on gentle or delicate cycle and use a cool water wash and rinse. Set the machine to the maximum load capacity and add an appropriate amount of non-detergent liquid soap (such as woolite or zero). Allow the machine to fill and the liquid soap to dilute. Do not use any type of fabric softener. Submerge the down duvet into the water spreading it evenly. Allow the cycle to complete, and then put through a second rinse cycle. This will ensure all soap residue has been removed.
DRYING: Drying the down duvet is time consuming; it must be done at the lowest heating setting. High heat may cause the shell to shrink. Shake the duvet prior to putting it in the dyer to fluff up the fill. Place the down duvet in the drier, and tumble at the lowest heat setting until dry. The addition of dryer balls or couple of white towels with a clean tennis shoe will keep the duvet moving and help to draw out some of the moisture. Frequent checks should be made to ensure the down duvet has not clumped to one side of the drier. Several times during the drying process remove the down duvet from the dryer and shake. This will aid in fluffing up the fill and ensure all parts of the duvet are drying evenly. The final bit of drying could be done by air-drying the duvet. Be sure the duvet is thoroughly dry before using otherwise mold or mildew could possibly form inside the duvet.
13. WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DOWN SHIFTS
For “Baffle Box” constructed duvets, each row of boxes has a "Blowing Chamber". This chamber runs parallel from side to side. A tube is inserted into the blowing chamber and the down is injected into each box. This opening is approximately 5 cm and unless the down is forced through it will not shift.
Repeated folding or sitting on the duvet may cause the down the shift away from the pressure point or high point. To move the down back, find the small blowing chamber opening and clap the down back through. This can also be done by laying the duvet on a flat surface and banging on the fuller parts in the direction of the empty boxes. Always aim for the blowing chamber to ensure the down will shift back to the depleted spots.
To reduce shift, rotate the duvet on a regular basis and try to not to lay or sit on it too frequently.