Essential for snuggling on winter nights, covers include quilts (filled with cotton or polyester batting; some are machine-washable and some aren’t), decorative coverlets, and simple blankets (note: Blankets with borders tend to hold up best). Comforters are usually filled with cotton, silk, synthetic fibers, or down. Not sure which material to choose?
- Cotton is breathable.
- Fleece is plush (and often composed of polyester fibers made from recycled plastic bottles).
- Wool is dense, warm, and a natural insulator. (Virgin wool, which has never before been processed into a textile, is especially supple.)
- Down is warm. Always ask about the product’s “fill power,” or the space an ounce of down fills (550 is good; more than 800 is considered luxury). Also ask where the down hails from. “Geese from cold regions have bigger tufts of fluffy down,” says Ursula Terrasi, owner of Scandia Down, a down retailer. For an ultrasoft option, Terrasi recommends eiderdown, which is collected from the eider, a Northern European sea duck. Opt for a lining that’s downproof, meaning it has a weave tight enough to prevent feathers from poking through.
How to Care for Them
Wash duvet covers weekly, once a month if you use a top sheet. Launder down comforters twice a year, or every three to five years if covered. Throw a few clean tennis balls into the dryer to prevent the down from clumping, and fluff the comforter when you make the bed to redistribute the down.