One of the biggest concerns of users of down comforters is leaking feathers. Instead of the leak happening through rips in the fabric or seam tearing, this is actually common on completely undamaged products.
A number of things can actually cause this problem or allow it to occur like the type of feathers, fill rating, fill weight, usage habits, fabric thread count, fabric quality, and fabric weaving.
Why do down feathers leak?
Ultimately, there is one simple reason why these comforters can suffer from leaking feathers. They are natural feathers that were once on a living bird, like a goose, duck or other type of waterfowl.
When it comes to down feathers, most people think about the fluffy part, but all of the fluff is held together by the quill. With down, the quill is very small and pointy on the end.
Since comforters contain thousands of feathers that each have a tiny quill, it is simply a matter of time before the point end works its way in between the threads of the fabric holding the feathers. When this happens, they can just slide right out.
Avoiding Leaking Feathers
Although this problem happens because of the structure of a feather, it is actually able to slip through the fabric cover of a comforter because of the way it is built. Tighter weaves are the most effective at stopping the leakage of down since it squeezes the potential gaps that the quills can work their way through.
Other obvious design flaws can also cause the issue. This could be over-stuffing of fill material, which would be more common in a lower fill power and/or higher fill weight product.
The usage of a down comforter can play a major role in whether feathers leak out or not. Everybody has different sleep habits – some toss and turn violently all night while others sleep like a rock. Some people may even lounge around their couch with their cozy comforter. This varied usage of the same product can cause drastically different results when it comes to feathers getting out of the comforter and ending up all over the floor.
Thread count, the quality of a fabric, and the weaving design play the largest roles in this problem. Higher thread counts are often better at containing the quills, although the actual design and material of these threads can still cause a high rating fabric to leak feathers.
Pacific Coast Barrier Weave Fabric
Finer threaded fabrics that are tightly woven are the best solution. The main problem is that this quality may not be apparent to a consumer that is simply looking at the product in a store or online.
Pacific Coast brand actually has their own specialty fabric designed for this exact purpose – to keep the down feathers inside of the comforter where they belong. The main secrets to this solution are tightly woven threads, a high quality Egyptian cotton material, and a special fabric finish.
The quality fabric and design of their comforters also results in a durable fabric that is soft and comfortable too. If you’d like to learn more, take a look at our Pacific Coast page.