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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to commonly asked questions about our company, feathers & down, linen and bedding products in general.

Buying from Cotton Traders
General information regarding the ordering process.

Allergies: Feather / Dust Mite / Synthetic
Myths and facts regarding allergies

The differences between feathers and down
All about feathers, down and the variances

The differences between duck and goose feather inners
Information to help you make your decision.

Buying from Cotton Traders

We sell the raw materials (feathers & down and fabrics) as well as finished products (duvets, pillows, linen etc.) Being a large manufacturer we only supply to the trade such as retailers, hotels and other manufacturers. Please contact us to discuss your needs and we will send you a quote.

  •  15 - 19 Goud Street, Brackenfell, Cape Town
  •  (+27) 021 9827890
  •   info@cottontraders.co.za
  •   Mon - Fri / 9:00AM - 5:00PM


(See our Allergies Page for more info)

Unfortunately, the "Feather Allergy" myth still persists. Whilst it is possible for a person to be truly allergic to feathers the majority of those who appear to be allergic to feather are, in fact, allergic to the excretions of the house dust mite. A poorly constructed pillow could lead to dust mites finding their way inside and this is where the alleged "feather allergy" stems from.

As long as your feather/down product has a downproof (tightly woven) casing and the feathers/down are washed and treated properly before filling dust mites will not be able to infiltrate the product.

All Cotton Traders cc down & feather products are 100% hypo-allergenic. We also regularly regularly test our products with the Featherite M.I.D. Free Laboratory (check for the Featherite M.I.D. Free symbol on feather and down products in your nearest bedding retailer).

More info on our Allergies Page.

The Differences Between Feather & Down

Basic Feather Structure
A feather has an almost tree-like structure. It has a rachis (like a tree-trunk) off of which barbs (like branches) branch off and off of which branch, in turn, tiny barbules (like twigs). In feathers, these barbules have small finger-like appendages (called barbicles) which link each barbule to the the barbules of the barb above and below it. This gives a feather it's rigid shape. The structure described here is illustrated in the line drawing further down the page.

Small White Duck Feather

Feather Structure

Basic Down Structure A down cluster (an individual "down feather"), by comparison, has an insignificant rachis and fewer barbs than a feather. The barbules on a down cluster's barbs also have no barbicles attaching them to the other barbs and so the barbs float freely from one another, giving down it's soft feel and allowing it to trap pockets of air very efficiently for it's size and weight.

Down Cluster

The differences between duck and goose feather inners

The primary difference between goose and duck, as far as bedding is concerned, is the size of the down cluster. In geese, the down cluster is generally larger and the barbules are spaced farther allowing the cluster to trap air more efficiently than a smaller duck cluster and giving thereby cluster a higher rate of insulation compared to it's weight. Goose down duvets therefore usually have better insulation or a higher tog value for the same fill weight than their duck down counterparts. Both, however, are far better insulating materials than synthetic alternatives.

There are also different types of goose and duck and one rule of thumb is that the colder the climate the birds frequent, the larger the down clusters will be and the more insulation you will get per gram of that filling.