Down comforters are elements of coziness, keeping you warm through cold winter nights. However, one must not assume that just every down comforter is a high-quality option, therefore it doesn’t matter which one you buy. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered before spending money on such a product. What is filling? Why does the construction of the comforter matter? How do I wash it? Can I put a down comforter in the dryer?
Only by answering all the important questions, you will be able to make an informed shopping decision. That’s because comforters come in different sizes, with different filling power, but also the various external fabric that will make one product more suitable for you than another.
What Is Fill Power?
One of the most important characteristics of a down comforter is filled power. It is a number that reflects how much space an ounce of down occupies inside the comforter. The higher this number is, the more qualitative the down comforter is. When a down comforter has a high fill power, it has better insulating properties, which means that it does a better job in keeping you warm throughout the night.
Another important term associated with fill power is a loft, which is another form to introduce the fluffiness of a comforter. Typically, a fill power of up to 400 indicates a lightweight comforter, but one that’s located at the lower end of the spectrum.
Down comforters with fill power between 400 and 800 do a good job in keeping people warm throughout all seasons, but comforters with a fill power over 800 provide the best insulation, and are perfect for winter nights, especially when your bedroom has heating problems or you’re just one of those people who are always cold.
Tip: Paired with a well heated mattress pad, a down comforter can keep you nice and warm on those cold nights and helps with circulation problems.
How to Care for a Down Comforter
Normally, every down comforter manufacturer should write a clear set of instructions on how to care for the product. This helps the customer enjoy the product for as long as possible while making sure cleaning and maintenance are done by the book. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind, as far as washing and drying your comforter is concerned:
- It’s best to use a machine with generous load options. Because down comforters are bulky and heavy, they will occupy a lot of space inside the washing machine. Top-loading machines are generally smaller than front-loading ones, plus they can stress the comforter’s fabric due to their construction.
- Fitting the comforter inside the washing machine does not equal stuffing the thing inside. There should still be some extra air space when you’ve added the comforter. If the machine’s washing chamber doesn’t have the extra space, it will be harder for the detergent and the water to reach the entire surface of the comforter.
- Mild laundry detergent is the best option for cleaning a down comforter. Pair this detergent with warm water plus a delicate washing cycle, for the best results.
- Since down comforters are pretty large and heavy, they will absorb a load of water when they’re being washed. You may need to use the rinse cycle twice. This ensures that the detergent is completely washed out.
- Air drying the comforter might sometimes be the most intelligent choice. Of course, it’s also a lengthier process compared to electrical drying. However, air-drying keeps the fabric of the comforter safe.
- If you do decide to use a dryer, make sure that you opt for a low heat setting. When the temperature inside the dryer is too high, there are great chances of the comforter shrinking.
- Checking the comforter constantly as it dries might be a very useful thing to do. You need to make sure that the fabric dries out smoothly. Shaking and kneading the comforter can ensure that the down is evenly distributed across the entire surface of the comforter.
- Never put the comforter back on the bed with wet patches. The correct order is dry, fluff, and then putting it back on the bed. Remember that drying a comforter is a process that requires patience, and can take anywhere between 4 to 12 hours.
Why Different Constructions Matter
The construction and stitching of a down comforter can make all the difference in the world. There are six common designs to choose from, and each one brings its own perks:
- A baffle box construction is when the strips of fabric get sewn together, connecting the top and bottom side of the comfort. This design will divide the surface of the comforter into small squares, filled with down. The particular construction will make sure that the loft of the comforter reaches its maximum potential, providing a lot of cushioning.
- Gusset constructions are pretty similar to baffled boxes, but they also have their outer edges reinforced with walls. Because of these edges, the comforter has some extra loft.
- The diamond-quilted construction is characterized by diagonal stitches that connect the top and bottom layers of the comforter, making sure that fill doesn’t shift around inside.
- Karo-step construction has cross stitches, which have a double role: they prevent the fill from moving around through the entire inner space of the comforter, while also making sure that open compartments leave some space for fill shifting.
- Ring stitches connect the top and bottom side of the comforter, only this time, they are sewn in small circles.
- The sewn-through channel stitch design makes sure the top and bottom layers are connected through vertical or horizontal stitches. This particular type of construction provides more fill movement compared to comforters made with box stitching.
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Caring for a down comforter may be somewhat of a time-consuming process, but it’s something that you’re only required to do twice per year. To answer this article’s most important question: Yes, you can put a down comforter in the dryer, as long as you take into account the fact that keeping an eye on it might actually ensure a smoother process. The most important thing to avoid when drying your comforter is the fabric drying in patches, or the down filling losing its fluff.