The Complete Guide to Buying Down Bedding

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The Complete Guide to Buying Down Bedding

Nothing in the world compares to the warmth and softness of true down bedding. Even the bite of cold and chilly winter nights can be tamed by snuggling underneath a thick down comforter. The superior comfort, warmth, and softness of down have been used for bedding over many centuries, dating back to even mediaeval times. Essentially, all down bedding is simply two layers of sheets woven together and filled with down in the centre.

Down comforters differ based on the filling, the fabric, and the construction methods. A high quality down comforter that is properly taken care of, should last well over 10 years, making it well worth the initial cost. Therefore, customers need to carefully choose the right down bedding that fits their needs by examining each piece for its down qualities, fabric weaves, and construction methods. Down bedding is often sold in department stores and bedding shops, but can also be purchased online through eBay.

Understanding Down

Down refers to the small insulating feathers found on waterfowl, such as ducks and geese. These tiny pieces of down, no larger than a fingernail, are hidden under the outer layer of feathers to help keep the bird warm even in freezing water. It is nature’s insulation jacket, and it does wonders as a filling material for blankets. Down quality varies, but most experts seem to agree that the highest quality comes from the Eiderdown Duck. Some areas of the world, such as Hungary, Poland and Canada tend to produce high quality down, while lesser quality down typically comes from Asia.

Down Allergy

Before proceeding any further, customers need to know that down is not suitable for everyone. Some people are allergic to the tiny allergens contained in down feathers, and this makes sleeping underneath a down comforter a truly miserable experience. Others may have allergic reactions to the microscopic dust mites that dwell in the down feathers. For these reasons, doctors recommend that anyone with allergies stay away from down bedding altogether. However, this does not mean the sufferer has to live a life deprived of fine bedding. Purchase hypoallergenic bedding made from synthetic material that feels almost as fabulous as the real thing.

Down Bedding and Fill Power

When shopping for down bedding customers often run across labels that proclaim the blanket has 550 fill power or 700 fill power. This can be confusing without understanding exactly what the term fill power actually means. Fill power simply refers to feather density. Greater density equals a softer, more lightweight comforter with extraordinary insulation. The best examples of down bedding have a fill power of 650 or better. The bigger the number, the better the bedding.

Fill Power and Fill Weight

While fill power and fill weight are related, they are not the same thing. Fill weight refers to exactly how much down is inside the bedding regardless of how dense it was. A down comforter with a fill power of 650 or better can use less down and still provide incredible warmth without all the extra weight. Many lightweight summer comforters have high fill power and low fill weight, resulting in a blanket that keeps the sleeper comfortable, even on balmy nights. Winter comforters should have both, a high fill weight and a high fill power.

Goose Down vs. Duck Down

Both duck down and goose down are used for down filling. Goose down has a higher quality, and fill power, than does duck down. Furthermore, duck down sometimes has a slight odour that sensitive sleepers, especially pregnant women, will easily pick up while they are trying to sleep. Unfortunately, some of the cheaper down bedding that originates from Asia claims to use goose down on the outer label, when it is truly made from duck down. The only way to honestly tell what type of down is inside is to read the law label attached to the bedding. If it simply states the comforter contains down, then it uses duck down. Goose down bedding always specifically mentions that it is made from goose down on the law label.

Down Bedding Fabrics

Choosing the right fabric is essential when dealing with down bedding. Since the down feathers are so small, they can easily leak through low quality weaves and fabrics. Ideally, the comforter should come with a down proof weave, one that is extra tight that prevents even the smallest feathers from escaping. However, some manufacturers try to cut corners by down proofing the fabric with starch. The problem with this is that the starch will wear off, eventually causing the feathers to start to leak out.

Spotting Poorly Made Down Bedding

One of the easiest ways to recognise a starched blanket is to examine the care label. Oftentimes, if care instructions only recommend dry cleaning, then chances are the fabric has been starched. While it is always best to dry clean down bedding, it is not the only acceptable method unless starch was added to the fabric.

Fabrics and Thread Count

Thread counts, the measurement of how many fabrics are in a square inch, has reached unbelievable heights in recent years. It is now possible to go out and buy a comforter that states it has a 1000 thread count. However, high thread count does not equal high quality. In fact, to reach incredibly high thread counts manufacturers have to use extremely thin threads that fall apart easier than their thicker counterparts used for lower thread counts. Do not expect a down comforter with a thread count above 700 to last for much longer than 10 years. In fact, anything above a 400 thread count can start to leak feathers, since the threads are not thick enough to prevent leaking. Choose a comforter with a thread count between 260 to 380 for the best results.

Down Bedding Construction

Besides worrying about fill and fabric, customers need to also understand the importance of down bedding construction. This refers to how the comforter is sewn together. The best construction processes, like baffle box construction, allows for the down to maintain its high loft, or fluffiness, over the years with a minimal chance of leakage. Baffle box simply refers to strips of fabrics, known as baffles that are sewn on the interior of the comforter in a box pattern for additional support. Beware of quilted down comforters, which are sometimes marketed as cross stitched comforters. Instead of having baffles sewn on the interior, the quilted comforter simply sews the two separate fabrics together, mashing the fill inside and ruining its loft.

Down Bedding Care

Dry cleaning down bedding, is always recommended because these comforters can easily get damaged in a washer or dryer. In fact, the fewer times a down comforter is cleaned, the better. This is why many homeowners purchase a duvet cover for their down bedding. The duvet cover protects the comforter from spills and stains, and it can be washed at home.

Washing With Care

When it does come time to wash the down bedding, only use a washing machine that does not have a paddle or agitator inside. Paying a little bit of money to use a large washing machine at the laundromat is the best bet, since most home washing machines are too small for down bedding. Air dry the comforter outside for at least a day, and then dry it in a dryer on a low setting to ensure that all moisture is removed. Wet down feathers inside the bedding can lead to mould, so always make sure the comforter is perfectly dry after washing.

Buying Down Bedding on eBay

When it comes to shopping for down bedding, most brick and mortar stores seem to have a paltry collection. On average, you may find a few pieces of bedding with 650 fill power, but most seem to be in the 500 to 600 range. Even the fabric options may seem disappointing; with many stores going for the glamour of high thread counts, while ignoring the impracticality of these threads to last over the years. For buyers who want high quality down bedding, eBay is their best option. eBay’s electronic platform has items for sale from all over the world, including some of the finest pieces of down bedding. The prices are extremely affordable when you consider the quality you are buying, and in some cases these superior blankets may even be cheaper than their low quality retail counterparts.

Finding Down Bedding on eBay

Search for down bedding using the terms you read about in this guide to help ensure that you purchase the best down comforter possible. For example, if you want a down comforter with at least a 650 fill power, then search for "down bedding 650 fill". If the results are too broad, you can narrow the topic further by adding additional terms. For example, if you prefer cotton comforters over silk, but you still want a 650 fill power, then search for "down bedding 650 fill cotton". Adding and removing search terms adjusts the auction results, allowing you to explore different auctions to find the best deals.


An exquisite down bedding can bring a touch of luxury into any bedroom. Filled with soft down feathers, this bedding is absolutely remarkable at being both warm and soft at the same time. When searching for down bedding, eBay is the best place to begin due to the enormous selection of bedding of all kinds. Start by searching down comforters for fill power. The higher the fill power, the better the comforter. Choose bedding with a high fill weight for wintertime, while a light fill weight works best in summer.

Select high quality fabrics with a down proof weave that keeps the feathers from leaking out, and aim to purchase a blanket with a thread count between 260 to 380. Construction is also important, so try to find down bedding made with a baffle box weave. Finally, by protecting the bedding with a duvet cover, and only occasionally washing the comforter itself, customers can preserve their purchase for many years to come.

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