by Bambi Turner
A good comforter is an essential item for any comfortable bed. Down comforters are an especially popular type of comforter in many homes, though down alternatives offer many benefits for allergy sufferers. Although both offer durability and warmth, there may be some debate between down comforters versus alternative down comforters concerning which one is right for you. When choosing a comforter, consider factors such as cost, warmth and aesthetic appeal to help you make the right selection.
Features: Contrary to popular belief, a down comforter is generally not filled with feathers. Instead, it is filled with the soft, fluffy undercoating found beneath the feathers on ducks and geese. Down alternative comforters are filled with synthetic materials, like rayon or polyester, rather than traditional down. Manufacturers may also use wool in place of down and synthetics, since wool in naturally resistant to dust and allergens. The exterior fabric on both of these types of comforters may be made from silk, cotton or synthetic blends.
Drawbacks: While down is very warm and comfortable, it can also be problematic for allergy sufferers. Some people may be allergic to the undercoating used to fill down comforters, while others are allergic to the dust mites that tend to live within the down. Down comforters can also be fairly difficult to clean, and dry cleaning is suggested. While resistant to allergens, down alternative materials are usually much heavier than regular down, which can be uncomfortable for some people who prefer light bedding.
Benefits: One of the primary benefits to purchasing a down comforter is its superior level of warmth. No man-made material or alternative product has been found that can compare to down when it comes to warmth. Down bedding is also breathable, which helps to wick moisture off the body. Down tends to hold its shape well and can be expected to last for many years. Down alternatives are safe for allergy sufferers and are usually fairly resistant to water and moisture. Down alternative comforters keep their shape well, even when wet, and are machine-washable. Wool and synthetic comforters are also highly resistant to fire and dust mites.