Cruelty-Free Duvet Options

Vegan Bedding by Of Houses and Trees | What goes into collecting the down or silk used for duvet fill? The story isn't pretty, but thankfully vegan bedding is a readily available option.

Back when I was redesigning our master bedroom, I had a hard time answering a kind of silly question. Do I want a duvet? Now, is it important whether we fall asleep beneath a duvet, a quilt, a comforter, or a pile of dirty clothing? No. Of course not. What’s important is that we fall asleep in a warm home in a safe neighbourhood where our biggest problem is what type of bedding to buy. I know this. However, there is a dark side to everything – even blankets. Impossible, you say? Read on…

My original reason for not wanting a duvet was that they’re lumpy. No, that’s not the dark part. I’m still getting there. Every duvet I’ve encountered in the past wouldn’t lay flat and what’s the point of making your bed if it looks like there’s a bunch of turtles hiding beneath the covers? (Ummm, I love turtles so that would actually be awesome.) I also tend to like myself a heavier blanket to help calm my wiggly legs and duvets are pretty fluffy.

So I looked around for a heavy quilt that I liked, but when I came across a linen-coloured duvet cover at The Country Pumpkin, I began to rethink my duvet disdain. I knew I didn’t want a down duvet, because I was pretty darn sure there wasn’t a humane way to de-feather a goose. Still, I was curious about the down collecting process and – since I have an un-scratchable research itch – I did some poking around.

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The Not So Fluffy Side of Down

Unfortunately, I was right about the inhumanity. Turns out goose down comes from live birds. According to Peta, “undercover video footage shows employees on goose farms pulling fistfuls of feathers out of live birds, often causing bloody wounds as the animals shriek in terror.” Thank god the images on the page didn’t load while I was reading the article. The words were horrifying enough. The down industry claims the majority of down is a by-product of the meat industry (meaning it was plucked from already dead birds). But this website reveals that 50%-80% of down still comes from live birds.

Help protect these happy geese and their feathers by purchasing vegan bedding.
Happy geese doing geese like things – feathers intact. (Image Credit: The Telegraph)

So no down-filled duvet for me. But what are the other options? Well, there’s silk, but if a goose deserves my sympathy, than a silk worm does too. As the saying goes, “everything under the sun…”

How Silk is Made is Creepier Than the Worms

Silk bedding is often pitched as an excellent alternative to down duvets due to its hypoallergenic properties. But, just as with down – the production of silk has a disturbing side.

According to Earth Divas, the silkworms used in the production of human goods have now been farmed for so long they can no longer exist in the wild. If allowed, a silkworm would follow the natural stages of metamorphosis. However, the majority of silkworms are boiled alive or gassed inside their cocoons before they can further mature.

Silkworms may not be cute, but they don't deserve to die to make bedding. Choose vegan bedding instead!
According to PETA, “approximately 3,000 silk worms die to make one pound of silk.” Silkworms may not be cute and fuzzy, but humans aren’t so cute and fuzzy either. (Image Credit: Silkworm Store)

The creepiest aspect is that if a domesticated silkworm were allowed to live to its moth phase (Bombyx mori), it would be blind and lack the ability to fly. This not-so-fun fact reminds me of reading about KFC chickens being bred without beaks or feet. Thankfully, according to Snopes, this is a false accusation as this practice “is still beyond the reach of modern science for the time being.” Hmm, “for the time being”…? Reassuring.

But I digress. There is a product called peace silk, made by wild moths allowed to pass throughout all metamorphosis stages and go on to die a natural death. However, I wasn’t able to find whether there are peace silk duvets. But I was able to find a few alternatives to down, silk or and other animal-based materials such as wool. Turns out vegan bedding is a thing!

Vegan Bedding Options

Bamboo duvets are made from one of the fastest growing plants on the planet. Microfibre duvets are usually made from synthetic fabrics like polyester or rayon. There are also microgel duvets, which is what I ended up getting. Synthetic fabrics often come with their own set of issues (i.e.: formaldehyde is used to keep fabrics wrinkle-free and moisture-resistant). However, if you get Oeko-Tex certified vegan bedding you can rest assured it was produced in an environmentally friendly manner and contains no harmful substances.

Did you know bamboo can be used to make vegan bedding?
It’s okay. The bamboo doesn’t feel a thing. (Image Credit: Guadua Bamboo)

Phew. That was a lot of talk about blankets. I think I’ll go take a nap…

While I’m napping beneath my Oeko-Tex certified microgel duvet, tell me – what kind of sustainable products do you own? Doesn’t have to be sleep related. Perhaps you own a bamboo bra? A peace silk purse? Something else I’m not clever enough to alliterate about?

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Vegan Bedding | What goes into collecting the down or silk used for duvet fill? The story isn't pretty, but thankfully vegan bedding is a readily available option.

Posted on January 19, 2015 (Last Updated on July 6, 2018)

12 thoughts on “Cruelty-Free Duvet Options

  • January 22, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    The ethical treatment of the creatures we harvest for food is very important to me. When it comes to using creatures for our goods (duvets, silks, paper, ect.) I even find it to be impractical these days. Almost everything can be made synthetic now, so why brutally tear out goose feathers for bedding… Skin animals for fur… Why?

    I also hope silk worms are treated well… And also that we don’t end up learning silk actually comes from genetically modified goats who secrete spider silk.

    • January 30, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      The thing about synthetics though is that nasty chemicals may be used in the creation process. Also, the companies that make said products may test on the very animals you’re trying to protect by purchasing these so-called “alternatives.” Now I sound like a conspiracy theorist… which I kind of am.

  • February 3, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    The only earth sustaining product I can think of right now that we own are some toys that are made of recycled materials as well as the little about of packaging it comes in (as opposed to a lot of the toys where the packaging has a million wires, ties, plastic pieces, etc.). I haven’t researched the process of these toys, so I cannot say for sure.

    And speaking of bras, some days I don’t even put one on. Nothing more earth sustaining than au naturale!

    You always open my eyes with all your facts Larissa!!

    • February 17, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks for the comment Leo! Yes – no bra equals saving the world, I totally agree. As for toys – yikes. I fear they are sometimes the worst. Especially, as you say, the packaging. It’s like childproof wrapping on a child’s toy. Crazy.

  • February 24, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Poor silk worms, I had no idea of their sad fate:( I may continue to smell my way through the silk garments hanging in the clothing boutiques, old habits are hard to break, but will now, armed with new information, check the label for the harvesting friendly peace silk label.

    PS… Are they sure the bamboo doesn’t feel a thing?

    • February 24, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      I suppose we can’t be sure about the poor bamboo… perhaps we should ask it?

  • February 28, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Hmmm an interesting question. I bought bamboo socks the other day and I love them! Does that count? c.

    • February 28, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      Yes bamboo socks count!

  • September 27, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Hi, I hope you don’t mind me asking but did you purchase the microgel duvet from the company whose link you have posted on Amazon and if so, how is it. Does it specify on the duvet that ot is OEKO-Tex Certified?

    • September 28, 2018 at 11:55 am

      I don’t mind you asking at all! I got something very similar from a store in my hometown. It’s very lightweight, but still warm. The only thing that bothers me about it is it did end up getting a little lumpy, which is why I was hesitant to get a duvet in the first place. That only impacts the look of it though, not the comfort. The packaging said that it is Oeko-Tex certified, but the tag does not. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

  • November 11, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    We do not want our bedding or clothing plucked from a duck or goose. We could not live with ourselves knowing we caused crulity to any animal. Is the comforters that say Downs Alternative, actually mean feather free? We have tried to research and are confused.

    Thank you for your time in this matter.
    Steve & Marti

    • November 17, 2018 at 3:35 pm

      Hello Steve and Marti and thanks for commenting! Yes, if something is called a “down alternative” that means it was not made using down/feathers and instead was made of another material such as bamboo, cotton or a synthetic fabric.

      That being said, always take a look at what the duvet is actually made of either in the description if you’re buying online or on the packaging/tag if you’re buying in a store. For example, you’d want to look for materials such as “100% bamboo,” “100% cotton” or “100% polyester.”

      Another option is to look for a duvet at secondhand stores. If you found something that did include goose feathers secondhand, buying it wouldn’t be telling the duvet industry that they need to make more down-filled duvets like it would if you were to buy a brand new down duvet. It’s kind of like buying something leather that is secondhand versus buying something new.

      I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions!


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