Problems with Down

During the fall and winter, many of us depend on down comforters, sleeping bags, and apparel to keep warm and cut down on energy costs. Although down has superior insulating properties, it can present problems that require special care. Fine down and feathers can puncture and work through the shell fabric, causing holes or tears in the outer shell layer.

To prevent damage, down garments are “down proofed,” in which an inner coating is applied to the fabric. However, some “down proof” coatings may dissolve in washing or dry cleaning. Once the coating is removed, darker-colored feathers and any other impurities in the down or feathers may show through the surface of the fabric. Since it is impossible to detect nondurable coatings before cleaning, the cleaner may not be able to prevent damage to the item.

If the protective coating is damaged, restoration is no longer possible. Another problem with down-filled items is the appearance of dark, shaded areas on the shell fabric after dry cleaning. In many cases, this staining is caused by excess oil from the down itself, due to poor processing during manufacturing.

This oil may react to the cleaning fluids and penetrate the shell fabric, causing discoloration. Sometimes the oil can be removed by re-cleaning the item several times, or by wet cleaning. Keep in mind that not all articles respond to these processes.

Therefore, this is why we ask your permission to process these items with your acceptance of responsibility. If such results are experienced, your recourse is to your retailer or manufacturer.

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