Down Vs. Synthetic Comforter

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There are several options to consider when putting together a bed. The comforter is one of the more important elements and acts as the main blanket, which covers the sheets, and is used to keep you warm at night. Down and synthetic comforters are two options you may face when selecting a comforter and it is important to know the difference.

Basics

  • A down comforter is packed with goose down, which is the feathery, fluffy undercoating to a bird's feathers. Down is often seen on chicks before they develop full feathers. In a comforter it provides insulation and keeps users warm just as it would on a bird. Synthetic comforters are conversely made from synthetic fibers that are manufactured in a plant. The synthetic down is made of polyester or lyocell threading that is either stretched into long threads or short staples to mimic natural down. Long threaded synthetic down is more durable while short stapled down is warmer.

Allergies

  • Low quality down comforters may cause allergic reactions in some people. The goose down often contains dust allergens which are removed from higher quality down products via professional cleaning by the manufacturer. Synthetic comforters are manufactured in a sterile environment, so they are usually hypoallergenic.

Water Resistance

  • Synthetic comforters shed water better than down. As such, they are much easier to dry and can be machine washed. Down, on the other hand, is very difficult to dry when it absorbs water. It is also very sensitive to detergents and could be damaged in a normal washing machine and dryer. Natural down comforters must be professionally dry cleaned or cleaned only with very mild detergents.

Expense

  • Synthetic comforters are much less expensive than natural down. Synthetic comforters can be produced in factories and plants en mass while natural down must be harvested from water fowl. Harvesting the down from the water fowl may be considerably more expensive because of the extra labor required for plucking the down as well as maintaining the birds. The price of a down comforter may run up to $100 more than for a synthetic comforter of the same size.

References

  • Photo Credit Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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