Are There Chemicals In Duvets?

Have you become concerned that the chemicals used in manufacturing duvets could harm your and your family’s health? Is there a safe option?

Let’s take an in-depth look at what chemicals are used when manufacturing your duvet and why they are used.

If you would like to know how to avoid:

  • Respiratory conditions 
  • Allergies
  • Skin rashes and more

Let’s jump straight in.

Do duvets have chemicals?

It’s hard to say, but yes. Even if you go to the experience of buying the best goose feather down duvet available, you can be exposed to chemicals from the process.

Why are chemicals used for feather-down duvets? It’s a simple answer, the birds live outdoors, have terrible toilet habits, and their feathers are covered in oil for waterproofing.

Waterproof feathers may seem ideal for some duvets; they have to be cleaned sufficiently, so odour or bacteria cannot grow.

To achieve this, they are washed and scrubbed in toxic chemicals until they are sanitised. Of course, they are rinsed multiple times, but some residue remains.

Then we come to the duvet cover. If it’s cotton, it has been sprayed in the fields, treated with pesticides and many more chemicals that are dangerous to health.

What type of chemicals are used in duvets?

Formaldehyde, VOCs, and many more. If you have a super slick duvet that doesn’t crease and slips off your skin like silk, and it’s not silk, it is possibly treated with formaldehyde to give it these properties.

And to add insult to insult, formaldehyde is an odourless, colourless gaseous compound considered highly toxic. It can cause skin irritation and trigger allergic reactions.

It’s classified as a carcinogen!

Let’s not forget the VOCs in the cocktail. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are hazardous and can cause central nervous system malfunctions when inhaled.

VOCs irritate your nose, throat and eyes and can affect your internal organs; It is also carcinogenic.

Can your duvet make you ill?

Yes, you can get feather duvet lung. Feather duvet lung is an inflammatory reaction called hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

How about synthetic duvets? Hollow fibre and microfibre are polyester products that have been recycled and repurposed.

Polyester contains ethylene glycol, easily absorbed through the skin or inhaled. It can cause respiratory problems and damage the central nervous system and kidneys.

Both are regulated as toxic chemicals.

Polyesters will make you sweat, and they don’t have the best breathable construction, which traps moisture and encourages mould to grow, which in itself could make you sick.

Cold comfort! Polyester duvets are often made in substandard factories where working conditions are hazardous to the employees.

Are synthetic duvets toxic?

100% yes. Synthetics is another name for plastics and long-chain polymers derived from oil, chemical splitting and other processes.

On top of the plastic in your duvet, the duvet is also treated with a fire retardant that is now under debate since it is found to emit noxious fumes when it’s ignited.

The problem is that there is no precise measurement for the number of toxins leaching out onto your body or into the air you breathe.

These vapours can give you a terrible day with a runny nose, bleary eyes, and a sore throat. In the summer, you may attribute these signs to pollen.

If you wake coughing and wheezing or with asthma, the reason could be your duvet.

How do you avoid respiratory conditions from your duvet?

If it’s severe, ditch the duvet. If your symptoms are intermittent and you can associate your respiratory problems with your bedroom, you should first launder your duvet and other bedding.

Many allergies are found to come from duvets that are not well maintained. It’s important to wash your duvet at least once every 12 weeks or in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.

If your duvet is brand new out of the box, leave it to air for a few days. If possible, place the duvet in a well-ventilated room so it can off-gas.

After a few days, it should be perfectly safe to use.

How do you avoid allergies from your duvet?

Maintain cleanliness. It’s easy to dismiss synthetic duvets, but they are commonly used, to take advantage of their inherent properties.

Synthetic duvets are easy to wash (you may need a large drum) and easy to dry. By washing your synthetic duvet regularly, you will dispel allergens hidden within the fibres and prevent any chemical buildup.

This advice is not just for synthetic duvets. More expensive duvets made from natural materials need to be washed regularly and frequency to keep them fresh and allergen-free.

Do you have skin rashes when you wake?

It could be formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is one of the flame retardants used on duvets and household furnishings.

However, if you are not washing your duvet frequently, the formaldehyde may become too much for your skin to tolerate, and hence you wake with skin rashes.

A decent cotton duvet cover should help resolve the rashes, and the cover will be easier to wash weekly.

Are hypoallergenic and anti allergens the same?

No, they are very different. When choosing a duvet, it is important to know the difference between the two definitions.

Hypoallergenic means that the actual material and filling of the duvet isn’t made of a known potential allergen, like feathers or wool. But other allergens, mainly dust mites, can still develop on these duvets.

Anti-allergy means the filling of the duvet has been pre-treated to resist and dispel the development of dust mites, which is a must for eczema and rhinitis.

If you do have allergies, it’s worth noting that a duvet that can be washed at 60℃ will kill off dust mites and any other potential allergens.