Selecting the Right Comforter Cover

With comforters sometimes costing upwards of hundreds of dollars, a comforter cover (more commonly known as a duvet cover) can play an essential part in keeping your comforter clean and in good condition, saving your money and giving you peace of mind.

What is a Duvet Cover?

The word "duvet" comes from the French word for goose down, so a goose down comforter became known as a duvet. Eventually, duvet came to refer to any comforter, no matter what it was filled with, and a duvet cover is another word for a comforter cover.

Why Should I Use a Comforter Cover?

Good quality comforters are an investment. Using a cover will protect your investment and make sure it lasts as long as possible. Unprotected comforters collect build up from dirt, dust, insects, oils, and other bodily fluids. But the more often a comforter is cleaned, the shorter its life. With one of these beautiful covers, you need to wash or dry clean your comforter only every three to five years.

Another advantage of using a cover is that it allows you to change your decor and color scheme easily and inexpensively. Rather than buying a new comforter, you can buy a new cover at just a fraction of the price and instantly give a whole new look and feel to your bedroom.

You can even change the material and weight of your cover seasonally so you can stay warm in the winter and comfortable in summer.

Size

When deciding what size duvet cover to select, make sure it matches the size of your comforter, which, of course, should be the right size for your bed. Some comforters are slightly longer or wider than normal. Additionally, you will need to allow for shrinkage during laundering if you are buying a natural-fiber comforter cover.

Fasteners

Comforter covers come with a variety of types of closures. Most covers have an opening at one end into which you slip the comforter and a closure with ties, snaps, buttons, or zipper. Some have closures on two or three sides. If you are an allergy sufferer, you can purchase a zippered duvet casing that zips tight all around for maximum protection from dust mites and other allergens.

Materials

Covers come in a variety of materials, both natural and man-made.

Organic or 100% natural cotton covers usually come in white, beige, and other natural colors. These chemical-free materials absorb dampness and are breathable, allowing you to keep warm in the winter while staying comfortable in the summer time. The unbleached covers are a great choice for the environmentally conscious. They are subject to shrinkage when laundered, so treat them carefully.

Alpaca or llama wool is typically combined with sheep's wool to make a cover that is a natural disinfectant and insect-resistant. The South American wool fibers are hollow, making them natural insulators and one of the warmest materials available.

Silk covers are made from natural threads generated by silk worms munching on mulberry leaves. These soft, smooth, luxurious covers come in bright, jewel-tone colors as well as intricate patterns.

Comforter covers are also available in a range of synthetic materials such as polyester and polyester micro-fiber. These man-made materials are generally less expensive than the natural fiber covers, but they can be of equal quality. One advantage of synthetic materials is the wide array of patterns available, such as flowers, geometric patterns, stripes, polka dots, and even animal prints, allowing you to quickly, easily, and inexpensively change the atmosphere of your bedroom. Another advantage of synthetic covers is that they are easy to care for. They can be machine washed and dried. Allergy sufferers will appreciate their hypoallergenic quality.

Other materials for comforter covers include soft suede, super-soft micro-suede, and even bamboo, for an Asian decor.

Quality

When purchasing a duvet cover, never sacrifice quality to save a few dollars. You can buy inexpensive covers, but the better the quality, the longer your cover and your comforter will last. Thread count, material, and construction are all areas to take into consideration when choosing a cover.

Care

Clean your cover when it becomes soiled or annually, following your manufacturer's instructions.

Generally, silk and wool covers should be professionally dry cleaned.

Cotton and synthetic covers can be washed, but many home machines are too small and not gentle enough to handle large, bulky items. If you decide to wash your duvet cover, take it to a laundry with a commercial front-loading washer and no agitator.

You can also hand-wash a large comforter cover in your bathtub. Let it soak for about half an hour, wring it out gently, and place it in a tub filled with clean, cool water to rinse.

For either method, use cool water and a mild laundry detergent or a couple of drops of gentle dish soap, wool soap, or baby shampoo. Avoid using fabric softener.

If you have or are planning to buy a comforter, make sure you protect your investment by using a beautiful, comfortable, luxurious cover.

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