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Problems with down? We can help!

June 29, 2013

Down ComforterDuring 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 “downproofed,” in which an inner coating is applied to the fabric.

However, some “downproof” 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 drycleaning. 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 recleaning the item several times, or by wetcleaning. Keep in mind that not all articles respond to these processes.

For more information on caring for down items, please call Sarni Cleaners at 1-800-727-6475 or visit our website at We are more than happy to help.