Occasionally we get an email or call from a customer or partner looking to verify if a certain fabric will be ‘noisy’? There are several weaves of fabric used in down and down alternative bedding – each with their own ‘noise level’.
Typically, new fabrics will have the most noise – and then over time they will ‘break in’ (Usually the fibers of the fabric and the ‘starching’ agent will become less noisy). In a very casual format – these are the levels of fabric noise from worst to best:
- Cambric (Plain weave)
- Batiste (Plain weave with fine fibers)
- Dobe/Damask (Lines, checks and 90 degree angle fabrics)
- Jacquard (Intricate patterns – paisley, scroll, flourishes, etc)
- Twill (Think of thick jean material)
- Sateen (Silky and quiet)
Other things can influence the noise level for a piece of bedding – specifically, the fillings (feather fillings are the most noisy – and improve with more down content. Polyester, tends to be consistent in it’s noise level). Other elements that can influence the noise level of bedding include any water proof/barrier fabrics. The treatments on these barrier fabrics can range from crinkly to whisper quiet. Topical fabric treatments like ‘wrinkle release’ or ‘stain blocks’ have a minimal noise effect (Usually, the wrinkle release sedates some noise itself).
Down is a natural by product from the consumption of Goose and Duck in Europe, Asia And North America. In the process of cleaning and processing the filling materials, it is impossible to prevent different colors of fillings to be mixed in short of someone hand tweezering out the stray colors. These color variations usually include darker filling material showing through white fabric but can also be the reverse where a white spot shows through a grey Goose or Duck Down piece of bedding.
Don’t worry there is nothing wrong, in fact color variations have no impact to fill power and are simply a variation. Often times fluffing the bedding and pushing the material inwards can hide it in your article of bedding. Typically, it is more apparent with fine thin fabrics like batiste weaves.
Congratulations – you made it past high school and soon to be attending college! 95% or more of the dorm beds used in dorm rooms at major universities use the Twin XL size bed. Twin XL beds measure 39 x 80 inches and appx 9 inches in height. There are some items you have to buy specially for this size bed including: dorm bed protectors (for bed bugs, dust mites and liquids), mattress pads, feather beds, fiber beds and of course fitted sheets.
Some of the items you may be able to ‘get by’ with include: twin comforters and flat sheets.
Becasue dorm mattresses are 5 inches longer then a typical twin bed – you should consider a twin xl comforter to prevent cold toes!
Bedding basics like pillows can be taken from home – but we are partial to a good goose feather pillow.
Here are some common sizes:
- Twin Mattress – 39 x 75 Inches
- Twin XL Mattress – 39 x 80 Inches
- Twin Comforter - Usually 66 x 86′ish
- Twin XL Comforter – Usually 68 x 92′ish
- Twin Fitted Sheet – 39 x 75
- Twin XL Fitted Sheet – 39 x 80
DOWNLITE gets a lot of feedback from students and parents on the Twin XL sizes that dorm beds require and we hope this was helpful for your ‘dorm move in’ planning.
Here are some additional resources:
http://www.TwinXLBedding.com [Buy manufacturer direct to lock in twin xl savings]
http://www.DormWizard.com [Has over 5,000 dorms cross referenced down to the actual hall at the campus]
If you are faced with a memory foam mattress that is too firm – what do you do? Is there an item you can add on top of it to reduce the firm pressure?
We hear a question like this once a week at DOWNLITE, and a solution does exist to fix it.
First lets cover how memory foam mattresses work. The materiel on a memory foam mattress can conform to your body with the combination of heat and weight on the surface. For many sleepers this is not as comfortable as the slick marketing looked and felt in a store. By adding space between yourself and the memory foam bed you can achieve some degree of comfort. We usually suggest a topper like a featherbed and to add softness and comfort for the hard surface of a memory foam bed. In most cases a featherbed can also increase the circulation felt as feathers allow air to move much easier than polyester (please note a down top featherbed would not achieve this as much and would be comparable toa fiber bed).
Some consumers like a fluffy soft fiberbed – which range from 2-3 inches in height. Most featherbeds are also 2-3 inches in height (some folks – myself included, like to use both in combination for the ultimate softness in bed).
Even if you cover a memory foam bed with a featherbed – be sure to add a protector to the bed to prevent moisture from leaking onto the memory foam – it can ruin it.
If your sleeping partner loves the memory foam density but you don’t – try out a twin xl featherbed on your side. The twin xl featherbed will cover your half of the bed plus be long enough to reach the end.
Sometimes you may also try to use a bed warmer or electric blanket placed below your sleep area to keep the material softer (especially if your skin runs cold).
We also hear from customers that some of the other issues that occur for memory beds include permnanent indentations where the sleeper usually sleeps every night (this them causes a ‘valley’ effect with the foam material not conforming to your new sleep position.
Another less successful trick by some consumers is to use a mattress pad to distance your body from the bed (we have heard that the extra space added does not buffer that much so we suggest a feather bed).
From time to time we get this type of question at DOWNLITE. The quick answer is that it’s really a personal choice. The detailed analysis with more info then you may want to know about is shown below.
A pillow – whether it is down, feathers, down alternative, memory foam or latex will consist of a couple key components:
- The Outside Fabric
- The Inside Filling Material
The Outside Fabric
So on the outside of the pillow is some sort of fabric – whether it be a 230 TC cambric or a 400 TC sateen. The outside of the pillow may feature a bonus pillow protector (common when a nice TC or fabric is featured for the item – thus the inside tends to be a 230 TC Cambric cotton). What we will really focus on here is the inner fabric – regardless of a bonus nicer protector on the outside. Each type of pillow filling requires a certain fabric – so in the case of down, feathers or down alternative – the fabric has to be of a high enough thread count and treatment to resist down or feathers from coming out. Other items like cheaper polyester pillows or foam/latex products are not limited to the fabric choice – but usually you see a 150 TC or higher on those items – often paired with a plush or terry like cover in the case of foam/latex.
On your bed each item of bedding receives different usage – with the pillow and mattress receiving the majority of the repeated heavy pressure (whether your torso or your head). Although the weight of the average human head is appx 9 pounds – it is the snoring, drooling, nose bleeds and other life events that will impact the fabric. While most products are machine washable (except memory foam/latex and some cheaper polyesters) – most of us don’t like the looks of a 10 year old pillow speckled with drool spots, old makeup that leaked through or yellow sweat stains.
The Inside Filling Materials
The inside of the pillow will alter the pillows longevity based on the filling of choice. Notably and in order of ‘toughness’ you have: feathers, down, polyester and down alternative [Foam or Latex products are pretty different - but also covered in this post on the bottom]. We separated ’polyester’ pillows into two groups – one we call ‘polyester’ the other is’ down alternative’.
Feathers tend to be pretty resilient due to the quill providing strength. It is very common to hear about a 25 year old feather pillow on our phone calls with customers. Although resilient – feathers alone don’t feel great to most folks – thus they are usually blended with down. Overtime feathers will break and soften – which in our opinion lend themself well to a nice lumpy pillow [lumpy in a good way - like grandma's old pillow].
Down itself comes from the underside of the bird’s chest area and is very light weight, fluffy and soft. A good down pillow can last decades and overtime the down clusters do break or pull apart due to the friction of your head on a pillow.
At DOWNLITE we make two distinct types of pillows – the one called ‘polyester’ is made using an semi automated machine which spins, collects and turns strands of polyester into a ‘bun’ that is inserted into a shell. The down alternative polyester on the other hands features a loose polyester that is usually a microfiber and can move freely inside of a pillow (Much like down). The ‘polyester bun’ type pillows [also called garnetted pillows] are very durable and hold their shape due to the polyester forming a web and being glued or melted into place. These type pillows can be used many times over and over [often a choice at some 2 and 3 star hotels due to their durable nature and cheaper price point]. They don’t wash so great so care is needed, unlike the down alternative pillows. The polyester ‘garnetted pillows’ can last 3-4 years and then some.
The down alternative pillows require a thread count and fabric treatment much like a down or feather pillow [due to the microfiber polyester]. These pillows – at least the ones from DOWNLITE’ can be machine washed and dried for ease of care. Examples of down alternatives include: PrimaLoft Support, EnviroLoft, MicroLoft and other fine denier staple polyesters. Down Alternative pillows can last about 2-3 years before their ‘hand’ changes so much, that the user notices the change enough to warrant a different option.
Last on the list of filling choices we have memory foam or latex products. They behave a bit differently, but are generally not machine washable and are rigid. The rigidity overtime breaks down and the molded form they started with tends to react to your head weight and form indentations. The chemicals used for memory foam products also tend to be pretty noxious and turn a yellow’ish color overtime. Because memory foam products are so new, no one knows how long they will last- but an educated guess is several years of ‘good’ use [Unless you spill something on them and they get wet which would ruin them].
What About Folding A Pillow?
We don’t like the pillow fold test as it is meaningless because some people like soft pillows and others have large king pillows (Both of which can cause a pillow to not fold over like you see on TV). The main criteria for a pillow’s like is subjective. Unless it is leaking or poking you – you can keep using a pillow as long as you like or at least until it does not look so great to the eye. In terms of dust mites and pillow care – we have two great websites that cover those kinds of questions: beddingcare.com and dustmitefacts.org.
The life of a pillow and whether it is too flat or too old are subjective and really up to the end user at the end of the day.