Down is used widely in quality bedding and cold-weather clothing. Some people are allergic to down or do not wish to use animal products. To meet this need today, there are a wide range of fill products on the market that function in place of down and still others that are designed to mimic down's loft and softness. These materials are used in pillows, comforters, furniture and jackets, and are primarily made from polyester, silk, rubber, cotton and various microfibers.
Natural Fill Alternatives to Down
Down alternative bedding such as pillows, comforters and duvets are manufactured with a wide array of natural material fillers and sometimes in mixed combination to achieve a desired loft or firmness. Readily available are products with silk, buckwheat hull, natural rubber, cotton and spun bamboo microfiber fills. Warm weather clothing that is traditionally filled with down, such as parkas and puffer vests, can occasionally be found with silk and spun plant fiber fill such as Tencel. There are also companies that have proprietary processes to wash and treat down feathers to remove the allergenic elements that make down problematic for some people, and these are made into pillows and bedding.
Man-Made Alternatives to Down
There is a wide variety of synthetic material alternatives to down that range from polyester products to microfiber, extruded plastic, Dacron, foam and rubber. These are used widely in down alternative bedding, pillows, furniture and cold-weather clothing products. Many companies produce higher-end proprietary down--such as products under names like Primaloft and Synthetic Down that don't just seek to replace down but mimic its softness, loft, long life and malleable comfort.
What Is the Difference Between Feather and Down Pillows?
Down and feathers are not the same. Only waterfowl produce down, primarily used in pillows, bedding and clothing for its insulating qualities.