August 7

Why Down Feather Cleanliness Verification is Important

Maintaining thoroughly and professionally cleaned down and feather products is part of IDFL’s promise on safety and cleanliness. The down feathers that make up your pillows, your comforter, etc. will undergo extensive washing and sterilization before they end up in your home or place of business. Down feather cleanliness verification is important to us as a business because you deserve the cleanest, freshest products available. 

Down Feathers and the Avian Flu

The down feathers used in many products that you enjoy daily come from birds. Birds can get sick with what is known as the Avian Influenza. Contracting the Avian Flu can happen through direct contact with a sick bird or through contact with another sick person who’s already infected. The Avian Flu is considered extremely rare, with less than 1,000 cases in the United States each year. In most cases, strains of the flu won’t even infect humans at all, even if they come in contact with it. 

Geese gaggle grazing on green grass on farm

While much of the scientific research conducted on the subject indicates that the vast majority of humans won’t ever become infected by the Avian Flu, there have been concerns among companies regarding this illness and subsequently the cleanliness and process of cleaning down and feather products, particularly those from Asia. 

This concern is understandable given recent occurrences with the pandemic and world-wide shut down. To provide customers with peace of mind—as well as to stick to our own evergreen guidelines of cleanliness and high-quality fillings—IDFL is committed to providing clients with top-quality products that have undergone top-quality cleaning and sterilization. 

Washing and Sterilization of Down and Feather Products with IDFL

We’ve compiled a list of commonly asked questions relating to the washing and sterilization process of down and feather products used by processing plants connected to IDFL. Please see below for more information on each subheading. 

Down Products and the Avian Flu

Scientifically speaking, there is no hard evidence or proof that down and feathers are a source of the Avian Flu. That being said, our down and feathers still undergo rigorous cleansing and sterilization in a high-pressure, high-temperature washing and drying system. This leaves them thoroughly cleaned, with no living organisms on them. 

The Washing and Sterilization Process

Impurities exist on down and feathers naturally—they used to on birds that were dirty or otherwise unclean. The first step is to wash them. Once they’ve been washed, they go through a drying process that doubles as sterilization. High pressure and high temperatures are applied to the down and feathers.

Any processing plant has to have a sterilization permit from the United States that says they are qualified to sell down and feathers. Most of these permits come out of the state of Pennsylvania. IDFL is authorized by the state of Pennsylvania to conduct inspections at processing plants and check to see if they have a sterilization permit. 

How We Ensure Our Products Meet Our Requirements

We verify the products have been properly cleaned based on their:

  • Oxygen Number: The oxygen number refers to the amount of forgien organic matter on the product. To meet our standards, the oxygen number must be less than 10. 
  • Turbidity: Turbidity refers to the amount of dust in feather and down products. To qualify as clean, products must have a turbidity rating of greater than 300mm. 

How Products Meet the “Hypo-allergenic” and “Super-clean” Claims

If a product claims to be “Hypo-allergenic” and “Super-clean,” they have an oxygen number of 4.8 or less and a turbidity rating of 500mm or greater.

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