What is down? What is the difference between down and feathers?
Feathers on geese or ducks, are the outer covering of the skin that makes up the protective and decorative plumage. It has the quills, repels water and makes it possible for the ducks and geese to fly. The down is underneath the feathers, it looks like little cotton balls, and has a round center called plumule, with thousands of tiny fibers radiating from its core. Those fibers link to other down plumules creating air pockets, which in turn trap heat. This provides the insulation that keeps the ducks and geese warm. Down is what makes it possible for the ducks and geese to swin around in freezing water without turning into popsicles. Down is mainly found on the bellies and chest and only makes up approximately 12-15% of the birds overall feather weight. Down is washable, feathers, which by their very nature repel water, are not. Most people who are allergic to feathers are not allergic to down.
What is fill power and how is it measured?
Down is measured by its fill power. Which means that if you take one ounce of down and compress it, when it is released it will expand and fill so many cubic inches. Hence the term fill power. For example one ounce of Hungarian white goose down will expand (also known as loft) and fill 650+ cubic inches of space. The higher the quality of down, the higher the fill power. The higher the fill power, the more warmth is trapped by the down inside a comforter; so the warmer the comforter. You should note that comforters filled with the higher fill power downs may contain less ounces of down inside. That is to keep the comforter from being to warm. If you have two comforters, one with 50 ounces of 575+ down, and the other with 30 ounces of 700+ down, not only will they both keep you equally warm, but the 30 ounce comforter will weigh much less on top of you. That might not seem like much of a difference, but in the larger size comforters (King,Queen) it can make a big difference to the person making the bed or turning the comforter.
Let talk about the different types of down. These can be divided into two groups Live harvested down, and down which is the by-product of the food industry.
FILL POWER=800+ SIBERIAN WHITE GOOSE DOWN:
Our very best down is what we refer to as Siberian White Goose Down. It is considered to be the finest white goose down available. It comes from older mature geese that are raised in very cold climates specifically for down production, thus creating the very large down clusters. The down is harvested from the live geese several times a year. It is removed by hand from the chest area, while not making the geese particularly happy, they are caused no real harm. After each harvest the down grows back stronger and fuller. Because of the live harvesting, only a small of down is collected from each goose, that fact combined with the very large cluster produced, make this down more expensive than the other types. Siberian Goose Down is extremely durable and given the proper care should last a lifetime.
FILL POWER=700+POLISH WHITE GOOSE DOWN:
Our Polish White Goose Down is the fill we use in some of our finest products, such as the Mirage comforters and pillows. It is both lofty and warm. This live harvested down also has a very large cluster, making it strong and durable. Products filled with this down will become a treasure to pass down through the family.
FILL POWER=650+ HUNGARIAN WHITE GOOSE DOWN:
Hungarian White Goose Down is also a large cluster down. These geese are raised for their down as well as for food production. Double duty geese are usually not as mature as geese raised only for down production, so their down clusters are slightly smaller. This down can also be harvested from live geese. Hungarian White Goose Down is considered to be of an excellent quality and provides a warm loft product. Hungarian White Goose Down should last 20 years or more with proper care. This down provides an excellent value, combining top quality and long life.
FILL POWER=575+ WHITE GOOSE DOWN:
White Goose Down comes from several sources. It can come from China, Canada, or also from Europe. It is usually a by-product of the food industry. Since the geese are usually raised for food, the down comes from younger less mature birds, hence the smaller clusters of down. We use only the highest quality of white goose down that is carefully washed and tested. We add no feather or crushed quills. As the down is less lofty, it takes more down to fill up a comforter. This results in a slightly heavier comforter but one that is less expensive than using the higher fill power downs. The life span of the down is considerably shorter because of the less mature clusters.
Now for the fabric themselves:
The thread count of fabrics is determined by counting the number of threads contained in
one square inch of fabric. The finer the threads the higher the thread counts possible, as more threads can be woven into the square inch. The finer threads, the lighter and more breathable the fabric becomes. Only fabrics that are 100% cotton should be used to make down comforters and pillows. Fabric should be judged on the hand (the feel of the fabric)
as well as the overall quality of the finished product. The stitching, piping, as well as the down fill and thread count all contribute to the finished quality of the products.
For our finest comforters we use ticks from Sanders of Germany, a German based company, considered to be the finest manufacturer of down ticks in the world. Their state of the art technology in the finishing, as well as in the weaving of down proof fabrics make them the industry leader. They have recently added a new finishing process called SanProCare to their fabrics. SanProCare greatly improves the hydrophilic (wicking) characteristics of the fabrics used in the production of the Sanders of Germany ticks. The fabrics have a much better and faster absorption and release of moisture than untreated fabrics. However, the hydrophilic characteristics achieved with the SanCarePro finishing method do not entail any additional chemicals on our fabrics. In other words better breathing, without any chemicals.
You can rest assured that all of the Sanders of Germany fabrics are made of 100% cotton. Their products are ecological digestible and exhibit a highly consistent quality. Why are we so sure? Our Sanders of Germany fabrics show the label: “Confidence in textile: passed for harmful substances according to Oeko-Tex Standard 100”. This examination seal is given by the research institution Hohenstein. It is the institution of the international Community for Research and Checking, responsible for the branch of textile ecology. The consistent quality of manufacturing is guaranteed by a system of strict monitoring and controlling regulations, that are united in the EKO- quality symbol. The EKO-quality symbol is awarded by the international inspection organization.
To ensure you enjoy maximum benefit from your product, please follow these simple instructions.
Pillows and comforters should always be used inside a cover.
Comforters may be spot cleaned for spills and aired out occasionally.
Pillows should always have on a protector in addition to a cover.
While frequent washing is not advised, down products may either be washed or dry-cleaned.
Dry cleaning should only be performed by a company experienced with Down products, as dirty cleaning fluid will cause the Down to clump, lose its lofting ability and occasionally develop a mild odor.
We recommend washing ONLY in a front-loading commercial capacity washer. No machines with agitators as these are too rough and will tear the baffles, which would void the warranty. Use a low sudsing detergent or a product specifically designed for washing down products. Run through the rinse cycle twice to remove all soap. Place in large capacity dryer on lowest heat setting and dry for several hours. This step is very important, because if down is not thoroughly dried, it may develop mold and odors.