Down is the light, fluffy undercoating that geese, ducks, and other waterfowl grow to keep warm. Land fowl such as chickens do not produce quilt-worthy down. Down consists of clusters of filaments growing from a central quill point without a quill shaft, making it softer and lighter than feathers. It looks much like a dandelion pod.
Feather, the principal covering of birds, has a flat construction. A feather has a hard quill shaft running the length of the feather, with a series of fibers joining together into a flat structure on each side of the shaft.
Feathers are flat and two dimensional. Larger feathers are used for flying; smaller feathers are for protection. Down is a three dimensional cluster that is grown for warmth.
Because of its three dimensional structure and ability to "loft" (trap air), each down cluster traps more air for its weight than any synthetic material. Every ounce of quality down has about 2 million fluffy filaments that interlock and overlap to form a protective layer of still air that keeps warmth in and cold out. Because of down’s ability to re-loft, a down duvet can be crumpled or flattened and then return to its natural shape with a good shake.
Down and feathers are carefully washed, rinsed, dried, and then separated into different grades by weight.
Generally speaking, the best down comes from larger, more mature birds. In general, goose down is better than duck down, and white goose down is better than grey goose down. A high quality white goose down cluster has an extraordinarily high warmth-to-weight ratio. A duvet or sleeping bag filled with this down will be very light and incredibly warm, and will last for decades. Down from younger birds tends to have poor fill power, and will not last as long due to the fragility of the fibres.
The best down comes from colder regions of the world (such as China, Europe and Canada). Cold weather makes the down thicker and therefore better able to trap air.
Down gives approximately three times as much warmth per ounce as synthetics. Synthetics also tend to mat and lump together over time, leaving empty cold spots, while down continually re-lofts, and has superior drape so as to mold itself to the body. Down also has the ability to breathe and wick away perspiration, so the sleeper doesn't experience the clamminess which often occurs with synthetics.
There are many factors which can affect the quality and therefore the price of down. Most relevant is the type of down used in the duvet. Is it duck down or goose down? Is it white goose down or grey goose down? The species of down will always determine the price. In general, white goose down is superior to all other types of down.
Always look for the Down Association of Canada hang tag or label. When you see the trademark, you know that the manufacturer has had to meet strict requirements for quality.
The Down Association of Canada is a national, non- profit organization, headquartered in Toronto, and dedicated to maintaining quality standards for down products. For years the Down Association of Canada has had its own program of surveillance within the industry, where items are randomly purchased and tested for quality. This program encourages all processors, manufacturers and retailers to comply with Canadian labeling standards.
For baffle box constructed duvets, each row of boxes has a "blowing chamber". This chamber runs from one side of the duvet to the other. During manufacture of the duvet, a tube is inserted into the blowing chamber and the down is injected into each box. This opening is approximately 5 cm wide. Down should not shift through the blowing chamber openings during regular use and care of the duvet.
However, repeated folding or sitting on the duvet may cause the down to shift away from the point of pressure. To move the down back, find the small blowing chamber opening and clap the down back through. This can also be done by laying the duvet on a flat surface and banging on the fuller parts in the direction of the empty boxes. Always aim for the blowing chamber to ensure the down will shift back to the depleted spots. To reduce shift, rotate the duvet on a regular basis and try to not to lay or sit on it too frequently.
A duvet cover will prolong the life of your duvet and eliminate the need for frequent washing. When washing, be sure to follow care instructions closely.
1. PRIOR TO USE: Down duvets are vacuum packed at the factory and therefore do not appear as fluffy as the store sample does. To activate (fluff up) the down, shake your duvet a few times. Full lofting of the down will usually occur within 24 hours. Your body warmth will enable it to loft even more. A duvet cover is recommended with all duvets in order to prolong the life of the duvet and eliminate the need for frequent washing
2. GENERAL CARE: Change the position of the duvet within the duvet cover with each duvet cover change. This will ensure even wear, as there is more abrasion and soiling at the edge closest to the face. Air out your duvet periodically away from the sun’s damaging rays. This will freshen it, and optimize the duvet’s insulating properties. Small spots and stains can be spot cleaned. Shift as much down as possible away from the stain, then spot clean with a non-detergent solution (such as Woolite or Zero) diluted with water. Rub fabric to loosen stain, and squeeze excess moisture out with a dry towel. Rinse the same way using just water. Use a hair dryer to ensure the area is completely dry.
3. WASHING: With careful use, a down duvet should only require washing every 5 to 10 years, if at all. A small duvet can be laundered in a domestic machine without an agitator. Larger sizes will require a commercial machine without an agitator. Set the washer to gentle or delicate cycle and use a cool water wash and rinse. Set the machine to the maximum load capacity and add an appropriate amount of non-detergent liquid soap (such as Woolite or Zero). Allow the machine to fill and the liquid soap to dilute. Do not use any type of fabric softener. Submerge the down duvet into the water, spreading it evenly. Allow the cycle to complete, and then put through a second rinse cycle. This will ensure all soap residue has been removed. Always wash alone.
4. DRYING: Drying a down duvet is time consuming. Always dry at the lowest heating setting, ashigh heat may cause the shell to shrink. Shake the duvet prior to putting it in the dyer to fluff up the fill. Tumble at the lowest heat setting until dry. The addition of dryer balls or couple of white towels with a clean tennis shoe will keep the duvet moving and help to draw out some of the moisture. Frequent checks should be made to ensure the down duvet has not clumped to one side of the dryer. Remove the duvet from the dryer and shake it out several times during the drying process. This will aid in fluffing up the fill and ensure all parts of the duvet are drying evenly. The final bit of drying may be done by air-drying the duvet. Be sure the duvet is thoroughly dry before using, otherwise mold or mildew may form inside.
Silk is a naturally hypoallergenic protein fibre, harvested from the cocoons of silk worms. All our duvets are made from Mulberry Silk, which is the finest grade available and one of the strongest natural fibres.
Silk is harvested by unravelling the cocoon of Mulberry silkworm pupae reared commercially for this purpose. Long strand (Grade A) silk is harvested by unravelling the cocoon as one continuous thread, resulting in the strongest possible cloth when woven. Short strand (Grade B) silk is harvested in shorter threads.
Produced by mulberry silkworms, mulberry silk is the strongest and purest white silk. Mulberry silk fabrics tend to be softer, last longer, and are praised for their tensile strength & colour retention.
Silk was first developed in ancient China, as early as 8,500 years ago.
All QE Home silk duvets include an easy view access zipper, so you can see and feel for yourself the quality of silk fill used. All woven silk products are available to be handled in store prior to purchase to ensure the softness of the fibers and quality of weave.
If properly protected with a washable cover, silk filled duvets should almost never require cleaning. As silk duvets are naturally free from dust mites and tend to cause less perspiration, it should be unnecessary to thoroughly clean them. Sun cure your duvet once per year by hanging it in direct sunlight for one to two hours. Because silk has the ability to absorb moisture, this process will dry it out, making it fluffy and lighter, and improving its insulating properties. Spot clean as needed with a mild solution of Woolite or similar, being sure to rinse and let the area dry thoroughly before replacing the cover. If professional cleaning is necessary only wet cleaning is recommended.
Naturally, some shifting will occur. However, the construction of our duvets and quality of silk used ensure the minimum amount of shift, allowing for even coverage and insulating power. To reduce shift, rotate your duvet on a regular basis, do not sit or lay directly on top of it too frequently, and avoid leaving your duvet folded for long periods of time.
Silk is one of the strongest natural fibres in the world, making a silk duvet one of the most durable and long-lasting bed linens you can buy.
Temperature Regulating: Silk is a natural insulator. Depending on the temperature, silk duvets either draw heat away from the body, or trap in warmth. In cold weather, the large fibres insulate to reduce heat loss from the body. In warm weather, the silk fleece helps the sleeper shed surplus heat by absorbing as much as 30% of its weight in excess moisture from the body – without ever feeling damp. This also means that one silk duvet will satisfy two sleepers of different temperatures, settling the age-old covers up covers down argument once and for all.
Hypoallergenic: Silk is naturally hypoallergenic. Silk duvets are resistant to dust, house mites, mildew, mould, and rot that can attack other fibres. Sufferers of asthma, blocked sinuses, hay fever, and other respiratory symptoms may find relief in silk bedding, as well as those with allergies to down, synthetic, or other materials.
Obviously every sleeper is different, and those with specific allergies may find silk is not the right choice for them. However, those with allergies to other natural fibres often find silk to be non-irritating, due to its hypoallergenic properties and resistance to dust mites and bacteria often found in other natural fibres.
A synthetic duvet is any duvet whose fill is made from a non-naturally occurring fibre. Our synthetic duvets are filled with polyester, microgel, TENCEL® or some a combination of the above.
POLYESTER: Polyester is our most economical option for a synthetic duvet, and is best for casual use. Polyester is hypoallergenic.
MICROGEL: Microgel is a synthetic fibre 100 times finer than polyester, leading to a more down-like feel in terms of loft and comfort. Virgin 3D Microgel has siliconized fibres, which are more pliable and silk-like, resulting in less likelihood of clumping or compacting. Microgel is hypoallergenic.
TENCEL®: TENCEL® is a unique, eco-friendly fabric derived from cellulose of the eucalyptus tree. TENCEL®’s hollow fibers regulate the absorption and release of moisture, ensuring a comfortable body temperature all night long. TENCEL® is hypoallergenic.
Synthetic duvets are our most easy care option, being both machine washable and dryable. They are also an excellent choice for sleepers with allergies to natural fibres.
Our duvets range in insulation power from light warmth to year-round warmth. A lighter weight duvet is best for warm sleepers, while cold sleepers will likely prefer a heavier weight. We recommend visiting one of our 75 locations in person in order to feel each duvet for yourself and consult with our in-store stylists before making a decision.
Always consult individual washing instructions for your specific synthetic duvet. All synthetic duvets are machine washable and dryable. Low or no heat and delicate cycle with a gentle detergent is recommended.
Wool is a textile fibre obtained from sheep. Due to its crimped texture, wool has greater bulk than other textiles, and retains heat exceptionally well.
Our wool duvet uses 100% pure Australian wool.
Wool comes from a renewable resource that is animal-friendly and completely bio-degradable, and is therefore considered a sustainable textile. Wool helps to regulate body temperature throughout the night, allowing for longer periods of deep, healthy sleep. Pure wool absorbs 30% of its weight in excess moisture from the body, helping to maintain a fresh and dry sleep environment. This unique moisture management also creates an environment that is inhospitable to dust-mites, who thrive on humidity, and is a great choice for allergy sufferers. A wool duvet maintains its loft exceptionally well, and insulates evenly, with no cold spots.
Obviously every sleeper is different, and those with specific allergies may find wool is not the right choice for them. However, those with allergies to other natural fibres often find wool to be non-irritating, due to its hypoallergenic properties and resistance to dust mites often found in other natural fibres.
Dry clean only, do not wash. To eliminate odors and/or stains, gently spot clean using a mild detergent, and then expose to direct sunlight, allowing the duvet to dry completely. With good day-to-day care a wool duvet can last years without needing to be dry cleaned. Always use a duvet cover to protect from dirt and dust. To freshen your wool duvet, expose it to direct sunlight and air. Sunshine brings out the natural lanolin in wool, allowing it to self-deodorize. As an alternative, your wool duvet may be placed in the dryer on AIR cycle with a few dryer balls for 10 minutes. DO NOT use heat.