Things You Should Know About Bedding
The importance of thread count
Thread count is calculated by summing the number of threads found in 1" of the weft and in 1" in the warp. It gives you an indication of the quality of the fabric since a higher thread count can normally only be achieved by using finer threads, offering a softer, smoother and more stable fabric.
However thread counts are not a true indicator of a sheets’ quality. This depends more on the quality of the cotton, the thickness of the thread, the type of weave (percale versus sateen) and how the threads are woven together (single threads or multiple threads). For example a 200 thread count Egyptian cotton percale would be a much better sheet than a 600 thread count sateen cotton sheet with a multiple pic weave. (ie. such as when 5 threads are woven together in 1 pass of the weft thereby effectively reducing the “true” thread count and tightness of the cloth).
So keep in mind that thread count is only one indication of quality as other factors such as weave pattern, fibre content, dyeing and finishing processes also play important roles in the overall quality of the fabric. In short, buying bed linens is highly technical and the marketing of such is rampant with smoke and mirrors. Often the best indicator of a sheet’s quality is its price and the seller's reputation.
The softness of a sheet depends on both the smoothness of the cotton yarns and the weave of the cotton yarns. Better quality long staple cottons, such as Egyptian cotton, are smoother than other cottons and give a softer hand to the sheets. In addition, a sateen weave will feel softer to the hand than a percale weave. In general, higher thread counts above 300 which use finer yarns to weave, will feel softer than lower thread counts of 200 and below, however there is not a direct relationship between thread count and softness. Another issue with thread count is single ply vs. double ply. Some companies twist two yarns to create a single yarn that is then woven into the fabric. They then claim 2x the thread count, so a 600 thread count sheet could actually be only 300 thread count, which is misleading to the consumer. North American governments are trying to eliminate this type of claim. Sheets with thread counts higher than 600 tend to be substantially thicker (due to the extra threads) and are less permeable to air. This causes them to be hotter to sleep under and heavy. In addition, to reach these higher thread counts more threads must be woven together in one pass of the weft which does not really result in a tighter weave. Thread count is not always indicative of a better quality sheet.
Egyptian, Pima or plain old Cotton
Egyptian cotton is cotton that has extra long fibers or ‘staples”. It is grown in humid conditions and rich soil which are the perfect conditions to grow this type of cotton. Their long length allows them to be spun into fine yarns that are very strong and durable. Egyptian cotton is sold to mills world wide where it is woven into luxurious sheets. Pima Cotton is similar to Egyptian cotton but is sourced in the United States, Peru and Australia.
Unfortunately, there has been a lot of fraudulent claims of bedding being made of Egyptian Cotton, so price is an indicator of truth as well as the reputation of the seller.
Hypoallergenic claims - True or False
True and False - Hypoallergenic, means "below normal" allergenic. It is a term used to describe items (especially cosmetics and textiles) that cause or are claimed to cause fewer allergic reactions than normal.
Daniadown applies Ultra-Fresh, an antimicrobial and hypoallergenic treatment, during the down cleaning process to add a powerful benefit. Ultra-Fresh actively discourages and destroys many of the bacteria and fungi that create unpleasant smells and staining, keeping items cleaner and fresher. It even helps control dust mites which are a trigger for allergens and asthma. It’s an assurance of long life for the product, and lasting freshness for you and your family.
The following information regarding allergies and down has been taken from www.downmark.ca website
Concern about allergies to down is a bit of an old wives tale. True allergies to down and feather are quite rare. Most people who believe they are allergic to down or feather are actually allergic to dust mites. We know people who were told they were allergic to down and feather who have been using modern down products for many years with no problems.
High quality downs are put through rigorous cleaning processes which finish with special treatments to insure the down is hypoallergenic. People are usually allergic to dust mites rather than to either down or feather. Using a mite proof pillow protector on new or newly cleaned pillows will eliminate most of these problems.
Some people are under the impression that polyester is a better choice than down for those with allergies. Several independent studies now show that this is not the case. Polyester pillows support dust mites to a greater extent than do down pillows. A study quoted in the British Medical Journal showed that asthmatics did better with down bedding than with polyester.
Link to British Medical Journal studv
Link to New Zealand study
The European Down and Feather Association has a very good article on their web site: they include all sources for the information given. You can read that article at:
True or False - Down & Feathers are the same thing.
False - Feathers are flat and two dimensional with a heavy spine down the center. They are not good at insulating as they cannot trap air. They are good at providing support and are often used in pillows. In comparison down is three dimensional and is able to trap air. A thick layer of trapped air is what insulates a sleeper against the colder outside air.
Fill Power and or loft numbers.
Loft or Fill power is a measure of the loft or "fluffiness" of a down product that is related to the insulating value of the down. The higher the fill power the more insulating air pockets the down has and the better insulating ability. Higher fill powers are associated with a larger percentage of down clusters and a larger average down cluster size.
Down (or any insulation) provides warmth by trapping a layer of air that separates the cold side from the warm side. A thicker layer of trapped air gives more insulation.* 750+ fill is quite different from 400 fills. Almost all down commercially available is a secondary product of geese raised for consumption. It would be prohibitively expensive to raise geese for down alone. The geese that are the source for lower fill down are about four months old when they are "harvested" for food. Down from these geese can be carefully sorted, washed, and blended, but it will never loft like really mature down. The 700+ down fill comes from a small number of birds kept for breeding purposes throughout the year. These geese molt naturally in the spring. While their down is loose it is collected by hand. It is very rare and, of course, expensive. The larger individual plumes are what gives the greater loft. The only way to get down of this quality is by careful hand selection which is the major factor in its scarcity.
Pure Down - Fact or Fiction
Fiction - Except for Eider down which is hand picked, almost all commercially available down is machine sorted. Machines separate the down from the small feathers, by air suspension, lighter materials floating into higher down content chambers, while heavier materials (feathers) fall to lower chambers. It is difficult, time consuming and costly to separate small neck feathers from down so by law are allowed to be included in the down up to a specified % by weight. In North America, in order for a product to be labeled as down, it must contain a minimum of 75% whole cluster, the remaining 25% can be small neck feathers or broken down fibrils.
Useful Life span of a duvet or pillow
Down and feathers are a natural product and all things natural degrade over time. However , a good duvet that has been properly cared for should last you 10-20 years and a good pillow should last you 5 years. Pillows do not last as long because of the natural oils in human hair and that it is under compression while a duvet is not. To increase the longevity of your products you should use protectors and covers that you wash regularly.
Synthetic duvets and pillows do not last as long as the man-made fibres will compress over time and unlike down they do not regain their loft through simply fluffing of the product. A synthetic duvet should be expected to provide reasonable comfort for 5 years while a synthetic pillow should last up to 2 years.
Note: Chiropractors recommend that you change your pillow every 2 years to ensure it provides you with proper hygienic support. When was the last time you changed your pillow?