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Frequently Asked Hotel Bedding Questions

Function and Filling Types

When specifying bedding, it’s important to understand the purpose of the item. Feathers are for support and are typically used in feather beds, pillows and decorative pillow inserts. Down is for softness and insulation, and is primarily used in duvet inserts, pillows and blankets. Most natural filled bedding items have a combination of down and feather content.

For example, pillow inserts that are covered with decorative fabric and not used as a bed pillow probably do not need to be filled with an expensive white goose down fill. A synthetic fiber or 5/95 down and feather blend is appropriate.

Natural filled bedding should outlast man-made fiber filled products. With proper care down comforters and blankets can last up to ten years. Pillows and feather beds should last two or three years. By understanding the purpose of the item, it can better dictate the most appropriate product and the cost associated with it.

Synthetic (Down Alternative) Filled Products

Hotels may choose synthetic bedding items because of budget constraints or allergy and climate constraints. In general, these products are completely non-allergenic and less expensive than their natural filled counterparts. For duvet and decorative pillow inserts, some properties choose to control costs by utilizing a synthetic filled product, then investing money in down filled blankets and upscale down and feather pillows.

In humid climates, many hotels prefer synthetic filled bedding to address concern that the moisture will get trapped in natural-fill bedding and develop an odor.

Synthetic products are generally a batted fiber, continuous filament fiber, or a blowable fiber. Each has its advantages and is designed to offer different features. For a more down-like feel, a slick blowable fiber works best.


The feather bed has been available in Europe for over a century and is now being adopted in the U.S. hospitality market. Feather beds can be manufactured in a variety of constructions (baffle-box, channel construction, down topped, polyester-topped, etc.) and utilize a variety of fill types. Generally, they are filled with a down and feather blend to provide support under the sleeper. Feather beds should be used with a protector and place under the bottom sheet of the bed. This provides additional warmth and softness to the bed.

Mattress Toppers

There are a variety of items that can be place on top of a mattress to add softness, increase mattress loft, protect the mattress, and add insulation to the sleeper, or a combination of the above. Traditionally a synthetic mattress pad is placed on top of a hotel mattress to simply add a protective barrier to the mattress. Mattress toppers are thicker than pads and provide protection against stains while enhancing the sleep experience with additional softness.

Terms for Natural Fill Blends

BLENDS – 5 /95 - 25 / 75 - 50 / 50

What does this mean? These terms refer to the percentage of down and feather content inside of bedding. Typically, the first number refers to how much down and the second to how much feather, are in a given product by percentage of weight. These terms are most commonly used when referring to pillows.


Many of the major U.S. hotel chains have adopted standardized sizing for filled blankets and duvet inserts. It is important that the duvet insert fits inside its respective duvet cover snuggly, so as not to move around. Generally the duvet insert should be a few inches larger in both directions to assure a tighter fit inside the duvet cover.

Typically duvet inserts have attachment fabric loops, so they connect with ties or Velcro strips inside the duvet cover. This helps the keep the duvet insert from slipping around inside the cover. As the mattress industry continues to market thicker mattresses, the bedding on top must also increase in size commensurately.

Sewn Thru Box Construction

Sewn-through-box, or quilted comforters, are filled like big pillows. Once filled, the top and bottom layers of fabric are sewn together into a box pattern to lock the fill into place. This construction of comforter is most common with blowable synthetic fiber comforters and lighter weight down comforters and blankets. This type of comforter construction are more widely used in the hospitality industry.

Baffle Box Construction

Baffle box comforters utilize baffle walls in the interior of the comforter that can connect the top and bottom layers of fabric of the comforter shell. The walls are stitched in a box pattern so the filling material is fixed in place. They are filled with a blowing tube that fills each box separately. These types of comforters tend to be loftier than quilted sewn-through box comforters. This is the more common type of comforter construction in a residential application.

Fabric Types

Typically 100% cotton is used on down filled bedding, as it allows air to pass through the product. A minimum thread count leak of 230 is required to prevent feather & down from escaping through the fabric ticking. All natural and microfiber filled bedding products should utilize fabric casing that is woven down-proof, which can be objectively measured by air permeability. To further ensure more leak proof pillows and comforters our products are finished with double needle sewn edges.

Our decorative fabrics and weaves include jacquard and damask which can feature embroidery.


The term Hypoallergenic refers to the cleanliness of the natural filling. It is only with thorough washing, sanitizing and drying that down and feathers are removed of impurities, dust and allergens. The two most common measurements of natural fill cleanliness are referred to as Turbidity and Oxygen Content. Both can be scientifically measured to determine how clean the down and feather is.

Fill Weight

As the world’s most efficient insulator, down will moderate the body’s warmth even with smaller amounts. Both fill weight and quality (fill power, species, etc.) will affect the insulating value of down bedding. Down traps air ~ which is why the sleeper’s own body heat is what keeps him or her cozy.

Grey vs. White

The color of down or feather has no bearing on its quality. White natural fill is typically more expensive, as most bedding fabrics in which the fill is used are white. The perception that the white look is cleaner has caused the price of white natural fill to be higher than grey natural fill.

What are your Shipping Lead Times?

Typically, we can ship your custom order within 4-8 weeks. Many of our more popular items are available on a FastTrack basis- guaranteed 5 day shipping turnarounds, pending credit approval. Call for a full listing of these products.

What is Fill Power?

The primary measurement for the quality of down is fill power, or how much volume a given weight of down will occupy. This is a measurement of efficiency; the higher the fill power number, the better the down and the greater the insulating value. Fill power is directly related to the size of the down cluster. The size of the bird and the climate in which it lived, determines the size of its down cluster.

Does color of the feathers and down mean anything?

Down and feathers can come in various shades ranging from pure white to black speckled grey. Typically, the industry has placed a premium on white feathers and down due to its ability to visually blend in better when filled into light color bedding products. American perception has also reinforced this premium on white down over grey; however, there are many grades of grey down that rival the best white down, as color of the feathers and down has no relevance to its quality

What is the difference between Goose and Duck?

Although many people consider goose down and feathers superior natural products for bedding, duck feathers and down can be just as high in quality. However, the worldwide supply of goose materials is more limited than duck with greater consumer demand. Geese are normally larger birds; therefore producing larger down clusters – which creates a higher fill power rating. The pricing on goose feather and down is typically around 25% higher than duck.

What is the difference between Down and Feathers?

Down is found only on waterfowl ~ the light fluffy coating found on the underbellies of geese and ducks. Down is a three dimensional cluster with thousands of tiny fibers but no quill. As nature’s most efficient insulator, down is warm, yet light and lofty. Down also has the magnificent ability to breathe, lifting away moisture from the sleeper.

Will my guests notice and appreciate the difference of natural fill bedding?

Yes! Most of our hospitality customers have relayed to us extremely positive comments they have received from their guests after implementing our down bedding products. Who wouldn't want a cozier cover, loftier mattress, and more gentle and supportive pillows on their bed? If your guests don't directly communicate their positive feedback to you… rest assured, they are thinking it!

What if my guest says he/she is allergic to down and feathers?

Some people can have allergies to natural feather and down. The allergic reaction is caused by the dust and dander on the materials ~ not the down or feather itself. With careful and strict washing and sanitizing standards, 99% of these allergens can be removed from down and feather. The cleaner the natural fill ~ the less likely it will cause an allergic reaction.

Do I need to offer heavyweight down comforters to provide real warmth?

No. As the world's most efficient insulator, down will moderate your body's warmth even with smaller amounts. Both fill weight, as well as fill quality (fill power, specie, etc.) affect the insulating value of a down product. Many people are most comfortable with a year-round weight comforter… Not too hot, not too cool.

How can I extend the life of my natural fill bedding?

We recommend covering your bedding products with some sort of fabric cover. Washing a pillow, comforter, or feather bed protector is much simpler than the bedding itself and helps to avoid any over-laundering of the natural fill products. DOWNLITE is proud to carry a high quality assortment of pillow, feather bed, and comforter protectors, as well as decorative duvet covers. Also, we can help educate your housekeeping staff with literature and personal training as to the best and most efficient methods for stripping and making the bed, while preserving the lives of the products to their full potential.

How long can I expect my down bedding to last?

Of course, the answer to this question depends mostly on how well you and your guests treat your bedding. We understand the rigors that hotel bedding must withstand, and have taken extra steps in our workmanship to help extend the lives of the products we make for you. You can expect your down comforters to last for about five years, and your natural fill pillows for about two years. Our PrimaLoft™ and EnviroLoft™ products should have even a longer life.

How do I know that my down bedding will not leak fill?

DOWNLITE takes extra care in the bedding products that we manufacture for the hospitality industry. All of our sewn-through box construction comforters are back-tacked, to ensure a tighter seam at the edges. All of our pillows are finished down-proof and double-needle sewn on the edges. Although there will always be the occasional small feather or down cluster coming out… we do everything possible to prevent any fill leakage from quality bedding.

How exactly should I clean my down comforters and pillows?

You should wash your natural filled bedding in commercial washers, set on delicate, using a mild dish detergent. Avoid using your normal detergent or bleach, as these cleaning agents will leave a residue on the down clusters, thereby reducing their ability to regain loft. It is very important to thoroughly dry the bedding in low heat, and to let it air dry for some time to allow all of the moisture to be removed. Many of our customers place a tennis ball along with the comforters and pillows in the dryers, to help fluff up the products.