Duvets are a type of bedding used on a bed like a blanket. The term comes from an old French word for "down," referring to the down feathers used to stuff the bedding. Duvets made today can be filled with other natural and man-made fibres. Duvets and duvet covers are available in a wide variety of fabrics such as cotton, silk, polyester and velvet. Each of these fabrics has its advantages and disadvantages, so the best fabric depends on the individual's preferences and requirements. However, cotton is generally recognised as the best duvet fabric when taking into consideration maintenance, price and feel.
Cotton duvets are easy to care for as they can be put in the washing machine and dryer. While cotton does wrinkle, it can be ironed on high heat. The cost of cotton varies depending on its quality and thread count. Egyptian cotton with a high thread count provides a smooth and soft feel while still being more affordable than silk and velvet. Since cotton is a breathable fabric, it wicks sweat while providing warmth. Cotton is also good for those with health and environmental concerns, as it is a natural fabric without any chemicals.
Silk is known for its luxurious and smooth feel. It is lightweight, strong and looks nice. Like cotton, silk is a chemical-free natural fibre. However, silk is more expensive than cotton and synthetic fibres. Silk must be hand washed or taken to the dry cleaner. While silk can be ironed, it should only be steam ironed, as silk turns yellow when exposed to heat. Silk is also damaged by sunlight and perspiration, making it a poor choice for summer nights.
Polyester is low-cost, durable and easy to care. Microsuede is actually made from microfiber polyester that goes through a suede finishing process. Microsuede provides the warmth and look of suede while it costs less and is easier to care for. However, polyester is not breathable, so a polyester duvet is less comfortable than cotton on hot nights. Since polyester is made from nonrenewable chemicals, some consumers object to it due to environmental and health concerns.
Velvet is very soft and provides a lot of warmth. Velvet duvets are usually available in deep colours, such as burgundy, chocolate and forest green, which look luxurious and enhance a room's decor. Velvet is made from silk, so it requires special care and typically costs more than cotton and polyester. While velvet is a good choice for the winter months, it can be too warm for summer.