This is our ultimate guide to Hungarian goose down and why you should choose goose down as your duvet or pillow filling. Plus the 7 elements that we believe make up the best goose down duvet!
10 things you need to know about goose down before buying your down duvet or pillow:
- What is Hungarian goose down?
- Why is goose down the best duvet filling?
- What is down fill power?
- Is goose feather or goose down better?
- Is duck down or goose down better?
- Where does goose down come from?
- White down vs grey down
- Down vs synthetic fillings
- Is goose down anti-allergy?
- Which down accreditations to look for
What is Hungarian goose down?
Goose down is the soft layer of fluffy insulation underneath the geese feathers that keep the geese warm and dry. Hungarian goose down comes from Hungarian geese and is widely recognised as one of the best sources of down. Hungary produces mainly white goose down and semi-white goose down.
Why is goose down the best duvet filling?
Down has evolved over 1000s of years to be the world’s best natural insulator. It provides approximately three times the warmth as synthetic insulators and the greatest warmth to weight ratio, which is why mountaineers use down jackets and sleeping bags. Every 30 grams of down has around two million fluffy filaments that interlock and overlap to create insulating pockets of air; which is what keeps you warm. Goose down is finer, warmer and softer than duck down. If well cared for, down retains its loft (fluffiness) for up to three times longer than most synthetics. It's also natural, biodegradable and recyclable!
Down is naturally breathable so it reduces the moisture trapped in our bedding as we sleep. This makes it unpopular with dust mites (the most common bedding allergy) who like to live in humid environments.
As well as using the best quality down, we take extra care when we handle it. scooms down is washed and dried without using any harsh chemicals, just spring water.
What is down fill power?
Down fill power measures the quality and effectiveness of down and feather. Higher fill power means that the down has more air chambers and therefore better insulation. So duvets with higher quality down actually need less down to provide an equal amount of insulation. Fill power is a great indicator of the quality of a duvet. A duvet with high fill power will recover its fullness more easily when shaken in the morning and is more durable, so it will last longer. A good fill power is 600 CUIN, (cubic inches per ounce), and above.
scooms duvets have 700 CUIN fill power, which is the highest fill power for down that is a by-product of the food industry.
Is goose feather or goose down better?
The structure of down is finer than feathers, which have stiff hard quills. Down has more fluffy filaments so it's softer. This means that gram for gram it has better temperature regulating properties; keeping you warm whilst being naturally breathable.
We selected 90% Hungarian goose down for our scooms duvets with 10% small white Hungarian goose feather. Feathers are heavier than down so this addition helps give the scooms duvet the right weight and drape to contour to your body. 100% Hungarian goose down duvets can feel too light and floaty and you might find that your duvet floats off during the night!
Is duck down or goose down better?
Not all down is the same quality. High quality goose down is finer than duck down with more fluffy filaments. Essentially, geese are bigger so they have larger down feathers (plumules)! These wispy spherical structures of down trap more air, making it warmer and just that bit softer.
So, as duck down is not as large or dense as goose down, a duvet made from duck down will be heavier and thicker in order to provide the same amount of warmth (tog rating).
Where does goose down come from?
The country of origin should make little difference to the quality of the down produced. Geese in colder climates produce a higher quantity of down rather than better quality down. However, other country factors are important indicators of quality. Key factors:
- The age of the goose - the more mature the bird, the more insulating the down.
- The way the down is harvested, cleaned and processed.
Not all types of goose down are the same:
Chinese goose down: The majority of goose down comes from China but it is generally low quality as the down is harvested from very young geese which means the feathers have not matured into large, dense plumes. The harvesting process in China is also largely unregulated unlike Europe and Canada.
European down: The main countries in Europe that produce down are Hungary, Poland and the Pyrenees area in France. This is high quality down produced in regulated conditions ensuring that the key processes of harvesting, sorting, cleaning and quality control are well monitored.
Canadian and Hutterite goose down: Another area that produces high quality down in smaller quantities is the Western region of Canada. Hutterite down is produced by the Canadian Hutterite geese in Alberta.
Siberian goose down: It’s a myth! It doesn’t exist! Siberia is far too cold for geese farming. So, Siberian goose down is really a marketing term or ploy depending on how you look at it. Siberian down could come from anywhere and be a combination of different down from Europe or China, as well as being any quality - low or high. Something to think about if you are considering buying a Siberian goose down duvet or pillow!
White down vs grey down
Goose down can be white or grey in colour, depending on the age of the goose and what time of year it is harvested. The colour of the down has no impact on its quality or warmth. However, as grey down may show through the duvet or pillow casing white down is preferred in good quality duvets and pillows, and is therefore more expensive. Grey down is often used in lower quality duvets as a way of keeping costs down.
Down vs synthetic fillings
Natural fillings are soft, warm and more breathable than synthetic materials. Naturally breathable goose down provides three to four times more air circulation than synthetic materials, helping any moisture to escape more easily which is unappealing to dust mites. Hollowfibre and Microfibre duvet fillings can produce lightweight, durable and inexpensive duvets but they can’t match the loft and body contouring attributes of down.
Is goose down anti-allergy?
Contrary to popular belief, synthetic duvets are not necessarily better for bedding allergies than natural duvets. More people are allergic to house dust mites rather than to down or feather. Synthetic bedding can harbour more dust mites due to a typically looser weave casing and limited breathability.
scooms duvets have a 100% cotton casing with an especially tight weave which helps prevent dust mites passing through.
Which down accreditations to look for
The best down duvets are accredited by leading authorities. At scooms we insist on this. Our duvets and pillows are guaranteed Hungarian down and feather from a single country source and a by-product of the food industry. Our duvets and pillows are accredited by:
The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) is an independent, voluntary global standard which ensures that down and feathers come from geese that have been treated well and never suffer from live plucking. The geese are able to live healthy lives, expressing innate behaviours, and not suffer from pain, fear or distress. The standard follows the chain of custody from farm to product, so you can be confident that the down and feathers in scooms duvets and pillows are truly RDS.
Downafresh confirms that the feathers and down used as filling material comply with EN 12935. This regulates the requirements for hygiene and purity for feathers and down. To meet this standard the down has to have to been examined by a hygienic laboratory.
The NOMITE mark is an anti-allergen standard that indicates that a product is suitable for house dust mite allergy sufferers. The scooms pillow and duvet are NOMITE approved, certifying that they are suitable for house dust mite allergy sufferers.
The Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX is a worldwide consistent, independent testing and certification system for the screening of harmful substances in textile products. It is recognised as the global leader in eco-labelling. Oeko-Tex 100 is the standard verifying that the scooms duvet and pillow have undergone extensive testing for harmful toxins and chemicals. We are licensed to use the registered Standard 100 by Oeko-tex® on all scooms duvets and pillows.
The 7 key elements that make up the best Hungarian goose down duvet
Best duvet in the world! Yes, we think so! The scooms duvet is filled with authentic Hungarian goose down washed in thermal spring water and certified with the top independent industry standards, then delivered in plastic free packaging.
After rigorously researching materials, exploring construction techniques and examining sleeping preferences, we identified the 7 key elements that we believe make up the perfect Hungarian goose down duvet:
Click here to get The scooms Hungarian goose down duvet