SOUTHDOWN DUVETS

Frequently Asked Questions

What's so special about a Southdown Duvet?
It is all the wool.

There are a number of perfectly acceptable wool duvets on the market and they all will give you the benefit of wool’s astonishing physical properties.

In general, other duvets are usually made from Texel, Cross Breed or other wools, each with different fibres.  These other wools are denser, having longer and thicker individual fibres, resulting in a heavier product which is less soft, cloud-like, bouncy and comfortable. 
Will your duvets be warm enough in winter. If so, will they not be too warm in summer?
Wool is nature’s insulator and buffer against temperature variations.

In colder times of the year, it is a very effective insulator, keeping you warm. In summer, you will not overheat under the duvet and the wool fill will “breathe” wicking moisture away from your body, preventing disturbed sleep caused by sweating.

When you first meet one of our duvets, you may think that it is too light and too thin to do the job properly. But sleep under one and you will immediately appreciate its remarkable thermal qualities.
How should I care for my Southdown bedding?
The Southdown Duvet
In the absence of any serious spills or accidents, the duvet is protected in your duvet cover. Air your Southdown duvet once a week when you change your bed linen and you will find it remains fresh.

Remember that the moisture that the wool absorbs from your body just evaporates away and therefore your duvet will remain fresh and clean.

But if there is an accident (toddlers and puppies seem to be the main culprits) we offer the following advice:

Dry clean only with JOHNSONS (now owned by Timpsons) and insist on their GREEN EARTH process. We have done a lot of work with Johnsons testing how our products respond to their dry cleaning and we are satisfied with the result.

There are 200 branches of Johnsons throughout the UK. All will send the duvet to their head office for treatment. So you will have to wait about 2 weeks to get your duvet back. Once back, lay the duvet flat on a spare bed for a couple of days to allow the dry clean smell to dissipate.
 
The Shepton Duvet
Your Shepton duvet can occasionally be machine washed in a wool cycle at no more than 30 degrees. NEVER tumble dry the duvet – leave to dry flat.  

We cannot take responsibility for cleaning companies who fail to follow our care instructions which are clearly labelled on the duvets.

 
The Southdown Pillows
The outer cover of your Southdown pillow can be unzipped and the wool pocket removed.

The wool pocket will need dry cleaning (see instructions for the Southdown Duvet) but the outer cover can be machine washed at 30 degrees. We also sell spare cotton outer covers to speed up linen change over.


The Southdown Mattress Cover
Dry clean following the instructions and advice for the Southdown Duvet.
If the Southdown Duvet is made from British wool, how come it's made in Italy?
When we researched the whole Southdown duvet project, we had lengthy discussions with the British Wool Marketing Board, folk who know a lot about wool.

Their advice was clear – the Italians have the expertise and experience to treat superior quality wool to its highest specification. They have been doing this in the foothills of the Alps for generations, building up their experience and optimising on the freshest cleanest Alpine mountain waters which are best for washing our precious wool.
 
Our manufacturing partners in Italy are similar to us: small family businesses who pay attention to detail, take pride in what they do and have built up expertise in their niche activities.

No mass producing sweat shops here! And no compromise on quality.
How is the wool sewn into your duvets?
The scoured and carded wool, which looks like a thick layer of creamy-coloured bouncy cottonwool, is sewn into the cotton cover in one huge continuous piece that spans the entire length and width of the duvet.
 
The Southdown duvet first has an outer frame stitched to anchor the whole duvet. Then channels about 8-10 inches are sewn down and across the cotton cover anchoring the wool in perfectly symmetrical snug squares. The edges are then hand finished.
 
The Shepton duvet is stitched in diamond shapes of about 6 inches, across the whole area of the duvet, quilting that anchors the filling. The edges are then hand finished.
 
So with either a Southdown or Shepton duvet there can be no bunching of filling like feathers and no hot and cold spots in your duvet, just an even layer of soft bouncy comfort.
How can these duvets benefit asthma sufferers?
Over time, feather/down filled duvets begin to disintegrate. This generates dust which aggravates all kinds of breathing problems and conditions as well as encouraging the presence of dust mites.

Wool does not disintegrate like this and therefore does not generate dust.
What about other health benefits?
Wool wicks moisture away from your body from where it evaporates through the fibre. This means that not only you, but also the duvets, remain comfortably dry.

Therefore, there is no build up of dampness which might encourage the growth of mildew or mould.
What are your returns / exchange policies?
We want you to be delighted with your purchase, but if you are not, you can return or exchange any item within our returns period which varies from product to product as follows:

The Premium Southdown Duvet
12 calendar months from date of purchase. We will arrange for a courier to collect the parcel at no charge to you.

The Shepton Duvet
45 calendar days from date of purchase. We ask you to either post the product back via Royal Mail (with proof of postage) or we can arrange courier collection but would have to charge you standard carriage.

Southdown Pillows
45 calendar days from date of purchase. We ask you to either post the product back via Royal Mail (with proof of postage) or we can arrange courier collection but would have to charge you standard carriage.

Southdown Mattress Covers
45 calendar days from date of purchase. We ask you to either post the product back via Royal Mail (with proof of postage) or we can arrange courier collection but would have to charge you standard carriage.
 
Return address:
SF Enterprises – Southdown Duvets
Marsh House
119 Marsh Lane
Yeovil
BA21 3BZ
 
Once the returning items are received, we will immediately issue a refund.
There's a large choice of wool duvets available, what should I look out for to ensure I get the best one for me?
Need a buyers’ guide to wool duvets? Read more here
What are the warmth / togs of your duvets?
Our bedding warmth in tog or gsm (grammes of wool per square metre) are as follows:
 
The Southdown duvet:
The Ultra Lite 150gsm  or 1-2 tog
The Lambkin 200gsm or 4 tog
The All Year 350gsm or 7.4 tog
The Woolly Mammoth 500gsm 10 tog
The Yeti 700gsm 13 tog
 
The Shepton Duvet
Light weight (summer/spring) 150gsm
Medium weight (All Year) 300gsm
Warm weight (autumn/winter) 600gsm
What is tog?
Tog is a measure of warmth (not comfort) of an item of bedding, especially duvets. It is a quintessential English standard of measure, not found in other parts of the world.
 
Wikipedia has the following to say about it: The tog is a measure of thermal resistance, commonly used in the textile industry, and often seen quoted on, for example, duvets and carpet underlay. The word may come from toga, a Roman garment from which the English slang togs (meaning clothes) is probably derived.

The basic unit of insulation coefficient is the RSI, (1 m² K / watt). 1 tog = 0.1 RSI. The Shirley Institute in Britain developed the tog as an easy-to-follow alternative to the SI unit of m2K/W.

Launched in the 1960s, the Shirley Togmetre is the standard apparatus for rating thermal resistance of textiles, commonly known as the Tog Test. A tog is 0.1 m2K/W. In other words, the thermal resistance in togs is equal to ten times the temperature difference (in °C) between the two surfaces of a material, when the flow of heat is equal to one watt per square metre.

According to British retailer, John Lewis, tog guidelines for duvets are as follows:
  • Lightweight summer duvet: 4.5 tog
  • Spring/Autumn weight duvet: 9.0 – 10.5 tog
  • Winter weight duvet: 12.0 – 13.5 tog
 
Fun fact: the material with the lowest tog rating is cement and the highest is bubble wrap. Can you imagine how uncomfortable either would be to sleep under!
 
The tog rating of an item is affected by a number of factors, not least the type of fibre under consideration. Some manufacturers of wool duvets maintain that tog ratings should only be applied to synthetic fibre and not natural fibres like wool.
Important Fact: tog measures thermal resistance and not levels of comfort which, with duvets, are two totally different things. A very warm duvet with a 13.5 tog might appear to be ideal but can turn out to be very heavy if its alpaca, for example, or it might result in disturbing night sweats if it’s synthetic. A feather/down duvet with a medium tog might offer the right warmth but the fill might clump, and cause hot and cold spots in the duvet or aggravate asthma or allergies.
Isn't it cruel to shear sheep?
Absolutely not.

In fact, shearing is a vital part of sound animal husbandry necessary for the sheep’s health and survival.

Without being sheared, sheep would be subject to fly strike in summer. This is a horrific natural event where flies burrow into the thick fleece and lay their eggs against the skin of the sheep. The maggots then hatch out some 36 hours later and begin to literally, eat the sheep alive. If not treated quickly, the sheep will die a painful and slow death. The thicker the fleece the more difficult it is to spot strike.
Are your duvets moth proof?
Moth-proofing adds a chemical intervention we would prefer to avoid.

Our duvets are therefore not moth-proofed so are not treated with any harmful chemicals such as pentachlorophenol (nasty stuff that causes eye infections, breathing difficulties and skin problems among other horrible ailments). Since our duvets are designed to be used all year, moths are not an issue.

If you are planning to store your duvet for some months in a cupboard then we recommend dry-cleaning it and storing it in the original carrier bag which it will have arrived in. Some sandalwood or moth balls in the cupboard won’t go amiss.
Top Tip: have a moth problem? Have your duvet dry cleaned. Place it in the original carrier bag or a large plastic bag and then freeze it overnight. The freezing will kill off any moths or moth eggs.
Is wool bedding kinder to the environment than synthetic / man-made duvets?
Wool ticks many, if not all, the climate change-eco issues that we are now faced with.
 
  • Wool is sustainable. The sheep regrow their fleeces annually and Mankind has been making good use of the fleece for thousands of years. And shearing is not cruel, but an essential part of maintaining ovine health. In addition, wool fibre production consumes less energy than man-made fibres.
 
  • Wool is 100% biodegradable so unlike synthetic duvets they won’t clog up landfill sites for hundreds of years after you have finished with them.
 
  • Wool does not shed micro-fibres or plastics. Unlike synthetic bedding, the wool duvets will not release harmful micro particles in the water system every time the duvet is cleaned.
 
  • Wool “breathes” so unlike synthetic and feather/down bedding, our duvets require less in the way of maintenance cleaning. We say clean only when necessary (like when there is an accident or spill on the bedding), otherwise just air your bedding weekly during linen change and your wool bedding will stay fresh and clean. Less cleaning means less pressure on the environment.
 
  • Sheep are not the major culprits when it comes to methane production and greenhouse gases. It is estimated that only 14% of greenhouses gases come from agriculture in the form of methane and carbon dioxide. It is sourced from a number of agricultural activities ranging from the gas generated by ruminants (mainly cattle and sheep) but also from the slurry generated from intensive farming of cattle and pigs.

    Cows produce on average 70-120 kgs of methane per annum and there are 1.5 billion cows on the planet. Sheep produce 30kgs of methane annually and there are 1 billion of them. So based on less methane produced by less animals, cows produce 4-6 times more methane than sheep.
You say wool is environmentally friendly, but what about the methane that sheep produce?
Sheep are not the major culprits when it comes to methane production and greenhouse gases. It is estimated that only 14% of greenhouse gases come from agriculture in the form of methane and carbon dioxide. It is sourced from a number of agricultural activities ranging from the gas generated by ruminants (mainly cattle and sheep) but also from the slurry generated from intensive farming of cattle and pigs.

Cows produce on average 70-120 kgs of methane per annum and there are 1.5 billion cows on the plant. Sheep produce 30kgs of methane annually and there are 1 billion of them. So based on less methane produced by less animals, cows produce 4-6 times more methane than sheep.  
Tell me more about your offer to recycle my duvet in the future
Your Southdown or Shepton duvet should last years, if not decades. However, if at some stage during its life, you feel it is beginning to look a little frayed, contact us. Post your duvet back to us and we will offer you 20% off a brand new one.

We will then recycle your old duvet. The cotton cover will go to a charity, who dye, sew and then sell all kinds of things out of the cover. The wool is then 100% recycled for future use. We vac pack it and send it on for washing and scouring in exactly the way we would treat newly shorn fleece.

Sadly, we cannot recycle any other duvets from other manufacturers.
Anything else I should consider?
Buying a duvet is very much an example of you get what you pay for.
After all your research we hope that you will buy one of ours.

But if you elect not to, at least do yourself a favour and spend the absolute maximum you can afford because anything else over time will prove false economy.

A poor quality duvet could result in disturbed sleep and nightly discomfort which will impact on your wellbeing.

What price can you put on a really good night’s sleep? 

 
But here are some other pointers: 

If you settle for a cheap synthetic duvet on the basis of “oh that will do”, think again because your long term health and wellbeing, linked to the quality of your sleep, is at stake.

You will sweat under a synthetic duvet and it probably will not keep you warm enough in winter. Like feathers and down it may cause allergies, blocked sinuses and result in a stuffy nose and difficult breathing.
 
If you are considering a duvet filled with down and/or feathers, watch out for feather/down ratios: we have seen apparently good value “down” duvets which actually contain more feathers than down.

Feathers are inferior insulators and their little quills often poke through the covers, causing much annoyance.

Consider also the animal welfare of buying down and feather bedding.