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The best down comforter used to be my gold standard for the kind of cover I wanted to sleep under.
PHOTO: Even the best down comforter is NOT cruelty-free! Those feathers look better on the goose, don't you agree?!
Many years ago, on a trip to Europe, I slept one night in what must have been a very new feather bed, under the best down comforter.
It was lightweight yet indescribably warm and cozy. It was a profound experience. I still remember just how heavenly it felt to drift off to sleep that night.
When I was in my 30’s, I looked for the best down comforter I could find and bought my first one. The criteria were that it had to be encased in fine, strong, tight woven cotton sateen so the stuffing would not work its way out. The tiniest, softest feathers were to be the fill - and the method of harvesting the feathers humane.
NOTE: I must have been rather naive; as far as I can tell, there IS no way to ‘humanely’ harvest goose down! Either it would be taken from live birds, which would be cruel, or it is taken from birds used for food. In contrast, shearing wool from a sheep can be done humanely - it is just a haircut. Assuming care is taken to assure that the sheep are calm, harvesting wool IS humane.
The product I selected was from a high-end company. I assumed it would last so well I would never need to buy another.
I took good care of it, shaking it regularly a few times a week to distribute the fill, never washed it, aired it out and always used it with a flannel case over the whole thing.
I had to admit after a little more than 5 years that the best down comforter was no longer such a pleasure to sleep under. I would shake it out but the fill never seemed to fluff up and distribute smoothly. It felt lumpy - no longer feeling like a soft cloud.
Also the warmth-retaining qualities were virtually gone. No longer was it toasty and warm - some parts of it definitely let the chill in, disturbing what should have been a sound night’s sleep.
To my chagrin, I also learned that dust mites find feather fluff a VERY hospitable home!
When I slit it open to take a look, it felt so dirty and unhealthy inside that I decided not to give it to my beloved dog to sleep on! The ‘best down comforter’ ended up thrown in the trash.
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