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Not a Fan of Down and Feathers? We Have the Luxury Alternative.

Our CentroClean™ cleaning process removes the allergens from the down and feathers we use in all of our products. Often when people are allergic to down and feathers, it has not been cleaned properly or the product has not been cared for properly and has developed dust or mold, which can cause allergic reactions. For this reason, we recommend laundering after you have experienced any moisture build up in your bedroom. We further recommend thorough drying of all down and feather products.

However, simply because you are not a fan of feather and down does not mean you should not sleep on a wonderful pillow or under a deliciously cozy comforter. Luxury hotels who offer their guests the Pillow Butler® experience always include a down and feather alternative pillow on their pillow menu.  You should experience the same options for a great sleep experience at home with our down and feather alternative pillows and bedding.

Sleep health and wellness is critical to overall health and wellness. Make 2022 the year of great sleep by investing in fresh, new bedding for the fresh, new year whether it includes down and feathers or their hypoallergenic alternatives. You can read the rest of the posts in our Fall 2022 Bedding Buying Guide series including "5 Factors to Consider When Purchasing New Sheets." If you are just starting out on the down and feather alternative bedding journey, contact the Pillow Butler® Team at Down Etc with any questions. We love to talk bedding. 

An Alternative to a Feather Bed for Extra Cushion

Feather beds offer several benefits for both your wallet and your sleep. They also have an interesting history you can read about in "Experience Hotel Luxury at Home with a Feather Bed."  Often seen only at the most luxurious hotels, feather beds are a wonderful alternative to immediate investment in a more expensive mattresses as they are placed on top of the mattress and deliver an extra level of cushion and comfort. We continue to recommend a waterproof mattress pad, but the feather bed provides an additional layer between you and your mattress.

If you are not interested in a Feather Bedthere is another way to add cushion and softness when your mattress is too hard, our Lily Pads® Waterproof Mattress Pad (15 oz). As we noted in the first of our series of posts for our Fall 2022 Bedding Buying Guide, "Begin with a Waterproof Mattress Pad," we highly recommend the use of a waterproof mattress pad to protect your mattress and bed hygiene. Down Etc spent years developing and perfecting our Lily Pads® line of mattress pads to meet the need for a waterproof, motionless, soundless, and breathable mattress pad. Our ultimate waterproof mattress pad has a 100% polyester nonwoven backing to provide a waterproof barrier, a 100% cotton twill face to provide a soft and silky base for the bottom sheet, and 5.5 oz of polyester fill per square yard in between for cushioning. The layers are diamond-quilted together for strength and durability to last through laundering. The fitted skirt prevents the pad from moving. We also manufacture our Lily Pads® with 15 oz of fill for extra cushion and comfort. It is a great choice when you are looking for the added comfort of a feather bed but not the feathers.

Choice of Comforter Depends Upon How Hot You Sleep

Comforter and duvet are used synonymously by Down Etc to refer to the feather and down (or alternative fill) blanket that is placed in a removable cover as the top layer of bedding.  The removable cover is the duvet cover. Elements to consider include fill (natural or down alternative); warmth rating (high or low); stitching (baffle, box, or sewn-through); size, and required care. Your location, the change in season, and personal preference will influence your selection.  

The Choice of Fill Is Yours

Many luxury and boutique hotels have chosen Down Etc’s down comforters recognizing they provide the maximum level of comfort and luxury; however, they have also chosen our down and feather alternative comforters for those clients who request them

Down alternatives, such as Down Etc’s Aquaplush® Hypoallergenic Polyester Comforters, have all the luxurious warmth and comfort of a down comforter without the down. They provide several benefits for those who prefer a fill other than down including plushness, comfort, warmth, ease of laundering. They are generally heavier than down, do not pack up as tightly, and may not hold their loft as long as down. Down Etc’s best-selling Aquaplush® comforters have 100% combed polyester Aquaplush® fiber fill covered in classic 235-thread-count, super-fine, 100% cotton ticking. Sewn-through construction and a 4" frame around the border keep the fill in place. Attention to detail is reflected in the double stitching and German cotton piping for strength and long-lasting durability through washing and drying. These comforters arrive packaged in an individual white cotton bag with handles for easy storage. They come in all standard sizes.

For those who sleep hot or live in warm climates, we offer the Aquaplush® Lite Polyester Comforter, which is a slightly lighter comforter due to less fill. Our Aquaplush® Microfiber Polyester Comforter is covered in super-soft microfiber polyester ticking fabric 

Understanding the Warmth Rating 

 A comforter’s warmth rating is determined by the comforter’s ability to trap warm air. The higher the warmth rating, the warmer the comforter.  Natural comforters have better thermal properties than alternative fill comforters, so they need less filling to achieve the same level of warmth. A medium warmth natural comforter will be as warm as a medium warmth alternative fill comforter, but it will be lighter. We offer the Aquaplush® and Aquaplush® Lite to provide differing degrees of warmth. 

Stitching Holds It All Together

The fill is held in place with sewn-through stitching or baffle-boxes. With sewn-through stitching, the two sides are sewn together in some pattern to leave pockets of feathers preventing the feathers from moving to one side. With baffle-box, a thin strip of fabric is sewn between the two covers to create a three-dimensional box for the feathers to allow them their full loft or fluffiness. Baffle-box construction prevents stitching over the down or feathers. Our Aquaplush® comforters are manufactured with sewn-through construction and a 4" frame around the border keeps the fill in place. Attention to detail includes double stitching and German cotton piping for strength and long-lasting durability through laundering.

The material from which the sack containing the down of your comforter is made is called the ticking.  The ticking can be manufactured in a variety of fabrics but is most often woven from cotton.  The key factor is durability.  The last thing you need to worry about is down or alternative fill floating around your bedroom every time you hop in bed because your comforter is coming loose at the seams or the down and feathers are poking through the ticking. For this reason, Down Etc utilizes "down-proof" ticking. Although ticking can be found in a variety of colors, it is most often found in white or cream.  They are the standard of hygiene and cleanliness as they make it hard to hide stains and damages. Thread counts in fabric ticking will vary from 235 to 300. Aquaplush® comforters are made with 235-thread-count ticking in white.

Size  Depends on Your Bed and Your Taste

Each Down Etc comforter is available in a variety of sizes.  Your choice of size can depend upon several factors including the size of your mattress, the type of bed frame, and your aesthetics. The size of your mattress and how you want your comforter to hang will be the main determining consideration in the size of the comforter you choose.  If you want the sides to hang to the bottom of the box spring, you will need to calculate a size above your mattress size. 

The Perfect Pillow for the Head and the Bed

The right pillow is essential for a comfortable and healthy night's sleep. Down Etc considers every detail in the manufacture of its pillows to ensure the luxurious sleep experience and return on investment for which Down Etc has become known in the hospitality industry.  Details include 100% down-proof cotton ticking, double-stitching, and German cotton piping for strength.  Each of Down Etc’s pillows is shipped to you packaged in its own white cotton fabric bag with handles. 

Finding your perfect pillow comes down to your shape and size and the position in which you sleep.  In picking the perfect pillow, you should consider fill, firmness, size, and shape

Alternative Fill Options Are Varied

Pillows with natural fill contain feathers, down, or a blend of the two, sourced from either geese or ducks. The feathers and down trap air to create a pillow that can support your head and neck and offer restorative sleep.  Many luxury and boutique hotels have chosen Down Etc’s white or grey goose down and feather pillows as they provide the maximum level of comfort and luxury. They have also chosen Down Etc’s array of down and feather alternative pillows for a complete pillow menu.

Alternatives to feathers and down such as Down Etc’s  Aquaplush® Hypoallergenic Polyester Pillows and Aquaplush® Hypoallergenic Polyester Pillows, Firmprovide several benefits for those who prefer something other than down.  They can offer the plushness, comfort, and warmth of down in a hypoallergenic product. Our Aquaplush® pillows are covered in 235-thread-count, cream ticking.

Down Etc makes a variety of down and feather alternative pillows for the way you sleep. The Fairfax Hypoallergenic Polyester Pillow is 100% hypoallergenic 7D polyester fill, which is a bigger and firmer fiber than the fiber blend used in our Aquaplush Hypoallergenic Polyester Pillow®. It has one layer of 235-thread-count, 100% super-soft, preshrunk cotton ticking fabric and one layer of polyester ticking underneath. Like all Down Etc pillows, it is well-crafted for strength and durability with double stitching and German cotton piping and arrives packaged in an individual white cotton fabric bag with handles for easy storage.

The AirDuci®Latex Surround Pillow is a great alternative to a traditional foam pillow for side sleepers. It is firm like a foam pillow, but air holes throughout the pillow give it a light and airy feel. The Opal Essence Cloud Pillow is two pillows in one depending on which side you choose to sleep: the smooth surface or the loftier baffle box cushioning.  We also offer unique pillows like the Bamboo Charcoal Pillow with its ability to absorb and disperse moisture, and Coconut Charcoal Pillow. If you love the full neck support of memory foam, we offer the Essential Memory Foam Pillow with Pillowcase.

Firmness Depends on Your Sleep Position

How soft or firm your pillow feels depends on the fill. In a natural pillow, firmness depends on the ratio of feather to down as feathers are firmer and down is softer.  The larger the down cluster, the softer the feel of the pillow. With down and feather alternatives, the firmness may depend on the type of amount of fill.

The position in which you sleep most often, your body shape and size, and personal preference, will determine which pillow will offer you the right balance of cushion and support.

Size Is Up to You

Typical sizes for pillows include standard, queen, and king, which are rectangular, but vary in length, as well as the square Euro size.  The size of your pillow is more than an aesthetic decision.  Different size pillows serve different functions.  While a standard size pillow might suffice for a back sleeper, if you sleep on your side or stomach, you might prefer a queen or king size pillow that will allow you to situate your arms and legs more comfortably.     


Our  Aquaplush Hypoallergenic Polyester Pillow® comes in all standard rectangular sizes plus the Euro square.  

Pillow Protectors Are Always Recommended

Once you have invested the time and money in selecting and purchasing the perfect pillows, protect your investment and your new pillows from mites, sweat, and spills with our cotton pillow protectors. As you may have guessed, protective covers are mainly designed to keep stuff out. The oils from your body and the products you use on your hair all find their way onto your pillows. In addition, there are plenty of environmental elements like dust, mites, pet hair, and other allergens that find their way onto your pillows. Pillow protectors will protect your pillows from these contaminants and reduce the frequency of machine washing your pillows.  We recommend protectors with zipper enclosures, preferably hidden zipper enclosures so the protection is invisible. It is much easier to strip off the pillow protector and throw it into your washing machine than it is to wash your pillows.  You will increase the longevity and maintain the hygiene of your pillows.

Although keeping allergens, pollutants, and other particulates away from your pillows is probably your top priority, you might be interested to know that pillow protectors can also keep important things in. Feather and down pillows can lose some of their stuffing when you squeeze them, squish them, thrash around, and generally beat them up all night long. Even well-made products can suffer from long-term use. With protectors to cover your pillows, there is a much better chance of avoiding the damage to seams that can exacerbate leakage and ensuring the fill stays right where it belongs—inside your pillows. Down Etc’s Essential Cotton Pillow Protectors keep your pillows clean and fresh with a 235-thread-count, 100% cotton fabric beautifully constructed with an invisible zipper and teardrop pull.  

Take Care of Your Bedding, and It Will Take Care of You      


Down Etc’s AquaPlush® Hypoallergenic Polyester Comforter should be machine washed in cold or warm water with mild detergent. Tumble dry low. Do not use bleach or fabric softener.

As mentioned above, comforters or duvets are intended to be used with covers.  We encourage you to use comforter covers to create the most hygienic bed and to protect your investment.  It is easier to remove a cover for washing than it is to wash the comforter.  A cover will also allow you to get the customized look that matches your décor.

Comforters should be washed upon soiling or in the event of a buildup of moisture in your room. Keeping down bedding clean and thoroughly dry will prevent the buildup of dust or mold. When it is time to launder your comforters, we suggest washing most brands of natural comforter in a front-load washer in warm water. Use a front-load dryer at its lowest heat setting and include three fresh tennis balls or a dryer ball to agitate the fill. You may have to reposition the comforter in the dryer as it begins to dry. It is very important that you dry your comforters thoroughly to avoid mildew.

While you can wash and dry your comforters at home with the proper machines, we strongly recommend professional laundering if you do not as a large machine is required to properly tumble dry. You should always follow the laundering instructions on your comforter.  And remember, dust mites are killed at around 57°C (134.6°F). 


Down Etc’s AquaPlush® Hypoallergenic Polyester Pillow and Fairfax Hypoallergenic Polyester Pillow can be machine washed in cold or warm water and tumbled dry in a front load dryer. Down Etc’s AirDuci® pillow should be spot cleaned only.

Pillows should be washed upon soiling or in the event of a buildup of moisture in your room. Keeping pillows clean and thoroughly dry will prevent the buildup of dust or mold. When it is time to launder your pillow, we suggest washing in a front-load washer on warm at up to 40°C (104°F). Use a front-load dryer and include three fresh tennis balls or a dryer ball to agitate the fill. You may have to reposition the pillow in the dryer as it begins to dry. It is very important that you dry your pillows thoroughly to avoid mildew. This may take some time.

While in theory you can wash and dry your pillows at home, if you do not have a large enough front-loading washer and dryer, we strongly recommend professional laundering as a large machine is required to properly wash and tumble dry. You should always follow the laundering instructions on your pillow.  To kill dust mites and fluff pillows, toss them in a tumble dryer for 15 minutes once a week. Dust mites are killed at around 57°C (134.6°F), which is typically the medium heat setting of a dryer. 

Pillows take a beating whether they are supporting your head or propping your back.  As a result, the lifespan of pillows is two to four years, much shorter than the lifespan of comforters.  Pillows at the end of their lifespans can no longer give your head and neck the support they require.

We wish you a great night’s sleep on fresh, clean bedding in 2022!

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