Down & feather pillows
The difference between a feather pillow and a down pillow a “feather” and a “down cluster” and how feather pillows and down pillows and even feather and down pillows are different everyone would sleep well.
Down clusters are round and spherical. They look like the head of a dandelion, and depending on the quality of the down, are almost the same size.
This natural spherical shape is what gives a down pillow soft. The loft comes from the down cluster constantly wanting to return to its naturally round shape. The more Hungarian down clusters you use to fill a pillow, known as fill weight and usually represented in ounces, the firmer the pillow will be
Everyone knows what a feather looks like but this goose down feather is smaller. Goose down feathers are soft even though they have a spine down the center, called a quill, with hair like strands radiating from the quill like a sail or filament. Feathers, depending on the bird, help the bird fly, keep warm, and stay dry (so don’t wash a feather pillow).
But when feathers are ‘stuffed’ into a pillow shell, over time, the quills start to align with each other and tend to lay flat. The effect on your pillow is that it too becomes flat. To combat this flattening of the pillow due to the aligning of the feathers, some companies add down clusters to keep the feathers from compacting and the feather pillow becoming hard.
Down pillows, as you might expect, can be very soft but just how soft is largely determined by the design and fill weight of the pillow. Fill weight is the number of grams used to fill the pillow for a given density; soft, medium, firm or extra firm. The issue isn’t the down cluster which as you might expect is very soft and very light but the shell they are stuffed into will greatly impact your pillows softness. Gusseted pillows typically sleep much softer and require more down for a given density level.
Why does my pillow go flat and turn yellow? There are three things that destroy the feathers and down contained within your pillow.
- Compression – This one you really can’t do anything about given that merely using the pillow compresses the down contained within the pillow. Compression, over time, slowly crushes the all-natural fibres that make up the filaments that radiate from the center of a down cluster
- Moisture – The ultimate enemy of down is moisture. Whether that moisture comes from the down not being properly dried during manufacturing, from the humidity the down absorbs while sitting in the warehouse waiting for you to purchase it, or the moisture from improper cleaning
- Oil – Slowly and surely the oils from your moisturizing creams, facial creams, and most importantly the oils from your skin will make their way through the pillow shell and be absorbed by the down fill. Aside from reducing the night creams or making sure you use both a pillow protector and pillow case, you can only slow down the process. The oils from your skin are also responsible for the yellowing of your pillow cases, pillow protectors, and pillow shells.