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?

I wish it were true.

To skip directly to my vegan bedding recommendations click here. To learn more about the dark side of traditional duvet materials such as down, silk and wool – read on.

Note that this post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on a link and make a purchase a small percentage of the sale goes to yours truly. Please know that I only link to products that are good for the earth, good for the soul, or both!

The Not So Fluffy Side of Down

While the down industry claims the majority of down is a by-product of the meat industry (meaning it was plucked from already dead birds), website Care 2 reveals that 50%-80% of down still comes from live birds. Plus, 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.” That mental image alone should be enough to convince anyway to say “no thank you” to down bedding.

Help protect these happy geese and their feathers by purchasing vegan bedding.
Down collection may not necessitate the death of a goose, but that doesn’t mean the animal isn’t suffering.

How Silk is Made is Much 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.

Wool: A “Natural” Alternative?

Once upon a time, sheep grew only enough wool to protect themselves from weather. Humans would then collect the wool the sheep would molt and use this to make clothing. However, as so many consumer products today – a high demand meant the development of highly questionable practices to maximize output and profit. Many sheep are now bred to continuously produce wool and live in flocks that number in the thousands, which limits their individual care. As PETA reports, it’s considered “normal” for four percent of lambs to die every spring due to malnutrition. And while there certainly are those in the wool industry dedicated to humanely producing what is considered a natural material, separating the humane from the inhumane isn’t always easy.

Bedding made from wool may be a "natural" choice, but that doesn't mean sheep don't suffer during the collection process. Choose vegan bedding instead!
As website Gentle World puts it, breeding sheep to overproduce wool has “in effect, turned the sheep’s body against the sheep.”

Vegan Bedding Option 1: Bamboo Duvet

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet, meaning it’s not only a great began bedding option, it’s also super sustainable. Most bamboo duvets are filled with bamboo from viscose, which is essentially the wood pulp from a bamboo tree, or a similar bamboo-fibre filling. Bamboo is also naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and odour resistant.

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 - like this bamboo duvet by Cariloha.

Vegan Bedding Option 2: Microfibre Duvet

Microfibre duvets are usually made from synthetic fabrics like polyester or rayon. Synthetic fabrics often come with their own set of issues (i.e.: formaldehyde is used to keep fabrics wrinkle-free and moisture-resistant). However, microfibre tends to be the most affordable vegan duvet option, which is important when you’re on a tight budget. Sometimes you have to weigh the pros against the cons and make the best choice for you!


Vegan Bedding Option 3: Microgel Duvet

There are also microgel duvets, which is what I myself finally ended up getting. Like microfibre duvets, microgel duvets are often made from a man-made fabric. However, you can also find ones that are made from cotton. Even better if you can find a microgel duvet that is Oeko-Tex certified. Then, you can rest assured beneath a duvet that contains no harmful substances – and was produced in an environmentally friendly manner.

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 - like this microgel duvet by Spring Air.

Vegan Mattress

If you’re in the market for a new mattress too, don’t forget to veganize it! Avocado Mattress has a vegan mattress option made with certified organic cotton instead of wool. Plus, Avocado’s mattresses are made without the use of toxic chemicals or petroleum-based foam. A win for vegans and for planet earth!

The story behind the manufacturing of a comfy bed isn't always pretty, but thankfully vegan bedding is a readily available option - like this vegan mattress by Avocado.

And finally, don’t forget to check out your local secondhand shop for gently used bedding. Depending on your stance, you might be okay with purchasing a down, silk or wool filled duvet as long as it isn’t new.

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


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 February 21, 2019)

14 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!

  • September 26, 2019 at 9:45 am

    I have enjoyed reading your interesting article so much I have pinned to my Pinterest for others to read and share.

    • October 6, 2019 at 11:29 pm

      Thanks Tiffany!


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