Can Down Bedding Be Hypoallergenic?

 By: Stefan Hunter
Down bedding consists of pillows, comforters, blankets and throws. Sometimes down is used interchangeably with feathers - although they are really different filling materials. Down provides warmth while feathers provide support. Several down manufacturers claim their down bedding as being hypoallergenic. To be considered hypoallergenic the article of bedding must not induce or cause any allergenic reactions for the general public. It is impossible to make something 100% allergy free because there are many unique forms of allergens - from the use of bleaching of the fabric to true down or feather allergies. So the phrase hypoallergenic really means 'mostly' non allergenic for most consumers.

What Makes Down Bedding Hypoallergenic?

There are really two sub topics to cover - the outer fabric and the filling material. Down bedding requires a higher thread count fabric which is very allergy resistant because it blocks many household allergens from entering the bedding. This high thread count fabric has to be woven so tight because it has to block the down from coming out. The other topic of consideration is the filling material - down, feathers or both. The Federal Trade Commission has specific cleanliness standards for down and feather fillings. These guidelines make sure that organic materials are eliminated below a specific level as well as making sure inorganic material is kept to a very low level.

Who Actually Cleans The Down Fillings?

Most down fillings are processed by companies that specialize in washing down fillings - these include DOWNLITE, Pacific Coast Feather, United Feather and Down, Hollander and a few other smaller companies. These down manufacturers have industrial grade washing and drying machines specially made to wash, clean, sanitize and dry the very soft down fillings. Usually the soap used by these down processors is a unique German grade soap specially made for sanitizing down fillings. Some of these manufacturers use their own quality control labels and all of them usually undergo third party verification audits by companies that specialize in down testing (IDFL is one example).

How To Keep Down Bedding Hypoallergenic?

It is recommended that regular washings will help keep your down bedding in hypoallergenic form. Actually washing any of your linens regularly, in hot water and high heat dry cycles are a great way to remove household allergens, dust mites and other sources of allergies. Because down bedding should be dried extra to remove all moisture - you may not want to wash weekly - so we suggest considering using protectors and duvets to keep your pillows and comforters hypoallergenic. When you do wash the down bedding you need to make sure to use a degreasing soap - a good example is Dawn liquid soap. It is very important that the down bedding is dried at least twice and in between dryings the filling is fluffed to make sure the filling is loose and equally dried.
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