Down Bedding 101 – How to Care For and Choose the Right Down Bedding

How to Care for Down Bedding

Choosing the Right Comforter

Understanding comforters comes down to three basic elements; construction, fill and finish.

Construction: Comforters are a quantity of insulation (fill) trapped between two layers of fabric. Around the edges, the fabric is stitched together, and either ‘sewn-through’ or ‘baffled’ throughout the comforter.

Sewn Through ConstructionSewn through box design stitches the top and bottom fabric layers of the comforter or blanket by sewing or quilting them together in a large grid pattern. This design feature keeps the down in place and prevents it from shifting from one box to another so you can enjoy all over warmth and comfort.
Baffle Box ConstructionBaffled construction separates the top and bottom layer of the comforter with fabric strips, creating deep channels in which the fill resides. This type of construction makes for a uniformly thicker, fluffier comforter – a comforter with significant volume. Baffles are internal fabric walls separating the top and bottom layers of fabric in down comforters and feather beds. These walls form three dimensional boxes providing more space within. This clever design feature allows the fill to fluff to its very fullest for maximum comfort.
Fill: The two basic categories are ‘natural’ or ‘synthetic’. Natural fill is ‘down’. Down is the base layer of tiny feather clusters found on geese and ducks. The air-trapping ability of down clusters make it one of natures’ best insulators. When judging the insulation qualities of a comforter, check the ‘fill power’ number. Higher numbers provide greater insulation.Finish:  Reference to ‘finish’ in comforters relates to two elements – stitch and fabric. ‘Stitch’ relates to the look and type of pattern sewn into the comforter. Stitch not only affects the aesthetics of a comforter, but the performance as well. Boxed patterns retain fill well, thereby retaining loft and insulation. Other patterns have a tendency to allow undesirable fill shifting, creating an uneven distribution of insulation. Another factor of finish refers to the materials used to construct the outer shell of the comforter. Fabrics with higher TC (thread counts) are finer-quality products. Any comforter can be inserted into a duvet cover – one which will match your decor. Either way, comforters provide comfort, superior warmth, and a rich look. The perfect addition to any well-appointed bedroom.


Choosing the Right Pillows

Understanding bed pillows – Choose bed pillows based on function following form. Your personal preferences are what matter. There are good pillows and… bad pillows.  Health experts agree that diet, exercise and sleep are the three foundations for good health. Most of us spend a considerable amount of time and money trying to improve our diet and exercise program (with varying results). How much thought an energy have you spend improving the one third of your life during which you are sleeping?

Bed pillows are often the finishing touch to any bedroom. A nice arrangement of comfy pillows is pleasing and inviting. But do bear in mind, one of them will be your ‘main squeeze’ for many nights to come.

So, here are some tips on finding a suitable bed partner…

Choose your pillow according to use. The two variables are size and fill. Keep in mind that ‘fill weight’ impacts the thickness of a bed pillow. The higher the number, the thicker the pillow. Fill types can also determine the ‘feel’ or ‘squishability’ of a pillow. When considering feather mixes, such as 95/5 fill, the first number indicates the down content and the second number indicates the feather content. Keep in mind that feathers are much more firm than down. ‘Shapeability’ allows a down and/or feather-filled pillow to fit your unique contours for proper sleeping posture. Poor quality or worn pillows can twist your spine and create neck tension.

How long do Pillows Last?

The life of a down pillow depends on how much humidity it absorbs each night, how often you wash it and how frequently it is been ‘aired’. A down pillow should be fluffed up in the morning to let the humidity evaporate. When cared for in this way, the life expectancy should be at least 10 to 15 Years. After that, it is still usable but may lose some of its supporting ability.

Here’s a simple way to determine if your bed pillows need replacing; Natural pillows (down, feather, etc.) – Fold the pillow in half (a king size pillow in thirds) then release it. A ‘good pillow will release and bounce back into shape. If it doesn’t bounce back, your pillow(s) need replacing. Synthetic pillows – Follow directions as above but put a 10 ounce weight on top. (A clean tennis shoe is about the right weight.)  Take the shoe off the pillow – if the pillow is okay it will release and open up.

Can I Wash My Down Bedding?

As with any natural products, the less you have to clean your down blankets, down comforters and down pillows, the better.  Using a duvet cover for your comforter or a pillow protector for your pillow gives your product a longer life because you need only to wash the duvet cover or pillow protector, not the entire product. However, we realize these products may eventually need to ‘take the plunge’.

So, we offer you these tips.

Cleaning your comforters and pillows: Dry Cleaning – We recommend this as the best method for cleaning your fine comforters and pillows. Ask your dry cleaner if they use the Sanitone cleaning process in their cleaners. For those of you who are brave and experienced:

Machine washing – Spot treat any soiled areas. Do not use fabric softeners at anytime during washing or drying.  The first thing is to get the air out of the item so you can actually get some washing done. As long as the item is ballooning up and/or floating around, you’re not getting much real cleaning, just a lot of show. Put the item in the machine with as much water as possible, let it work for a few minutes and then spin it out. Sometimes it takes a couple of cycles of this before you have a pathetic looking, squashed out “oh-my-goodness-what-have-I-done” looking thing….. And that means you are ready to actually wash.

Re-fill the machine with cold water, re-adjust the load if necessary (on top-loaders), add your soap/detergent (we recommend Dawn) … a skimpy amount is better than too much.  The more water and extra rinses the better – you want it to get the item as clean as you can since you don’t want to do this every week.

After the items are finished spinning, take them and put them in a COOL dryer along with tennis balls or nylon rings (like those nylabones dog chew toys) and give them half an hour of tumbling.  Weather permitting, hang the items outside for several hours on a sunny, windy day, hand-fluffing them from time to time.

Before they are completely dry and before they can get wet again from dew in the evening, bring the items back into the house for the final drying in the machine again with the tennis balls or nylon rings. Use a cool setting and give them as long as they need. In the winter, break up the dryer bouts by airing inside for a couple of hours or overnight.  Because of the properties of down, you will need to run your dryer through several cycles before the item is completely dry.

After each cycle, squeeze the item and feel for any moisture left inside.  If it feels damp or moist, continue the drying cycle. Thorough drying will prevent mildew. Following these instructions, your comforters and bed pillows will remain in good shape for years of comfort and enjoyment.

One important exception: You cannot machine wash a baffled box comforter. The nature of this construction makes it difficult to keep the down in place when the down is wet.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Feather Beds

Properly cared for, a full, fluffy feather bed can become one of the most sought after heirlooms for generations to come. There are two factors to look for in choosing a feather bed; fill and construction.

FillPacific Coast feather beds are generously filled with a combination of 95% feather and 5% down. These Pacific Coast feathers are Allergy Free, as are all Pacific Coast feathers.

Construction – Feather beds come in a variety of constructions.

bflboxillTrue Baffle Box and Baffle Box Construction – Baffles are little walls of fabric sewn between the top and bottom fabric to create a three dimensional chamber allowing space where down can loft and provide more insulation. Feathers are sewn into the baffle boxes to maintain an even feather distribution. Best design for maximum comfort and support.
bflchnlillaBaffle Channel Construction – Allows maximum lofting, holds feathers in place for minimum shifting and channel construction allows for maximum adjustability.
Care and Storage of Your Feather Bed Gently shake your new feather bed and air it out for a few hours to allow the feathers to fluff up. Shake and fluff your feather bed on a regular basis to allow the fill to fluff and cradle your body. If your feather distribution becomes uneven, simply redistribute the fill by placing the feather bed on a flat surface and pushing the feathers to the desired location. To push the feathers, use the palm of your hand and your forearm. Like a mattress, feather beds should be properly covered. To help prevent spills and stains, cover your feather bed with a feather bed protector or a fitted sheet. Remove and clean the protective cover whenever sheets and other bedding are laundered. A feather bed should be treated like an extension of your mattress. Minor spills or soiling of the feather bed itself should be spot cleaned. If more extensive cleaning is required, consult a professional dry cleaner. If your feather bed becomes wet or damp, be sure to dry it completely or the fill may mildew or decompose.How do I make my bed with a feather bed? There are many ways to make your bed with a feather bed. Three easy ways to use your feather bed are; 1) Place your feather bed on the mattress. Cover your feather bed and mattress with one fitted sheet. Deep pocket sheets work the best.  2) Cover your mattress with a fitted sheet. Place the feather bed on top. Cover the feather bed with another fitted sheet. 3) Cover your mattress with a fitted sheet. Purchase a feather bed protector or make one using your favorite sheet fabric. (It works like a big pillow case!)

How do I treat my feather bed for stains? To treat a stain on your feather bed, spot clean the fabric using a mild detergent or soap and a bit of water. Push the fill out of the way of cleaning. Use as little water as possible, as wetting the fill may cause the feathers to mildew or disintegrate. If a stain has saturated the fill, contact a professional dry cleaner in your area.

Glossary of Bedding Terms

AllerRest Fabric – Specially woven to block dust mites and allergens from penetrating into your bedding. Pacific Coast’s  lab-tested allergen barrier is chemical and pesticide free.

Down – A three-dimensional fluffy puff of many filaments that expand to provide softness. Down re-fluffs like new with proper laundering. It is natural, renewable and sustainable.

Feathers – Feathers have flexible central quills with soft filament. They have a natural spring-like quality that provides resilient support. Feathers are natural, renewable and sustainable.

Fill Power – Measures down’s ability to loft and insulate. It is measured in cubic inches per ounce. Higher fill power creates a product with better loft, insulating ability and durability.

HyperClean – Pacific Coast® down and feathers are cleaned using our proprietary blend of mild soaps that are biodegradable, PH neutral and environmentally friendly. This process removes dust, dirt and allergens that cause allergic reactions. What remains is clean, fluffy, supremely comfortable down and feathers and that means your guests can rest easy.

TC- Thread Count – The actual number of threads in one square inch of cloth. Higher thread count fabrics are woven with finer yarns, softer, more luxurious, more durable, more breathable, and contain the tightest weave to prevent leaking. They are also the lightest and therefore maximize the down’s ability to loft. A minimum of 230 thread count is necessary to be considered a truly leak-proof fabric that prevents down and feathers from escaping.

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