By Camilla Swart


Although my blog’s title sounds like the start of a nursery song, it’s really not! 

We are speaking about the difference between down and wool filled duvet and pillow inners.  My previous blog, ‘Don’t Get Weighed Down’ (https://www.linendrawer.co.za/dont-get-weighed-down-0 ) touched briefly on the different duvet fillings.

However, you need to know the following to make an informed choice:

Wool and down are both natural products.

They are supremely resilient, giving you years of use. 

Both are sustainably harvested – wool from sheep who have to be shorn, and down/feathers from ducks or geese killed for the food industry. Both are entirely and safely biodegradable.

Both down/feathers and wool and excellent thermal properties – which means that they are able to warm you very well relevant to their weight.

Thermal insulation depends on the following-

  • The filling material – how much air is trapped in the filling material (bulking capacity)
  • The weight of the filling – lighter duvets are suitable for summer, heavier for winter
  • The stitching construction – channels or baffle box design
  • Drapeability – the ability of the duvet to adapt to the shape of the sleeper.

Having looked at what unites them, let’s look at their individual characteristics:

Down is nature’s best insulator and offers warmth without weight.  Down is the light fluffy coating found beneath the feathers of ducks and geese. 

Down is a three-dimensional cluster with dozens of soft filaments which trap air; the bigger the down cluster the more air is trapped and the more it insulates against cold.

Goose down has bigger clusters which means that it is warmer than duck down.

Down is very pliable so that it drapes over your body and leaves no space for draughts.

Down is breathable – meaning it can release moisture (sweat) while you sleep.  It keeps you warm in winter without weighing you down.

Down is washable and should be tumble-dried. All down is washed, and sanitised, and has to meet rigid cleanliness standards before it is used in bedding products.

Down is hard-wearing. A down duvet or pillow inner will last much longer than a man-made product. 

Wool is possibly the oldest fibre known to humans, and has been spun into yarn and woven into fabric for centuries. 

The construction of the wool fibre mean that it is elastic, anti-wrinkle and anti-static.

Wool is fire retardant and doesn’t burn easily.

Wool is soft and traps air very well in its coil-like structure.  This means that it is warm and insulating.   

Wool is exceptionally breatheable, ensuring you never feel overheated when sleeping.  It reacts to changes in body temperature.

Wool is naturally stain and odour resistant. It is not advisable to wash your duvet inner, rather air it regularly and shake vigorously.

Wool is naturally hypoallergenic.  It is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction because it does not support the growth of mould, dust mites and bacteria.

Wool is extremely durable.  A woollen product, if cared for, should last a life-time.

I would hate to choose between the above alternatives, as both have such wonderful properties!  However, I really hope the above information helps with the tough choice. Please contact Linen Drawer should you require any additional information info@linendrawer.co.za