Placed as the top layer of bedding, comforters offer warmth with style. Many people have a wardrobe of comforter covers that allow them to change the look of the bed as often as they choose.
Comforter and duvet are both common terms for lush bedcoverings filled with down, feathers, cotton, wool, silk, or hypoallergenic synthetics.
Duvets are made to be encased in a removable duvet cover -- a giant pillowcase -- to protect the duvet and keep it clean.
Down Fill: Unless you are allergic to down, consider a quality down-filled comforter. With proper care, a down comforter will last 8 to 10 years. Goose down is best because the large clusters have better (fluffing) than duck down. Although white and gray goose down give the same service, gray may show through a light-colored duvet.
To eliminate blankets, a bedspread, and perhaps even the top sheet from your bed-making routine, choose a duvet covered with a washable duvet cover. The cover acts as the top sheet (it should be laundered at least weekly), thus allowing you to make the bed by giving the entire duvet a good shake and smoothing.
Cleaning Tips: Down comforters used daily should be dry-cleaned at least annually. Duvet covers should be laundered weekly if used in place of a top sheet; or, several times a year at the very least.
Synthetic comforters generally can be machine washed following manufacturer's directions. If you own another type of natural-filled comforter, such as wool or cotton, check the label or launder at a professional laundry that has larger-capacity machines and experience in cleaning bedding.
Continued on page 2: Down's Fill Power