The smell of down feathers....

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The smell of down feathers....

Postby Guest » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:17 pm

Can someone educate me if it is true that down feathers smell bad, like that of someone who has laboured the entire day without a shower?

I have recently walked into a few winter clothing shops and the shops sent out such a "stench". Initially I was appalled that the shop did not do its basic hygiene maintenance. However, after going to a few, I kept smelling this. Only in some occasional shops, I don't get such "stench". So is it really due to the down feathers?

Arrrrggggggggggghhhhhhhhh, I really HATE my nose!
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Postby mathsparks » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:10 pm

My sis bought 2 down throw cushions from ikea and threw them away by the 2nd day. It just smells darn bad. :sick:

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Postby Guest » Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:04 pm

mathsparks wrote:My sis bought 2 down throw cushions from ikea and threw them away by the 2nd day. It just smells darn bad. :sick:


Thanks mathsparks!! Sounds bad eh? But what I don't understand is I had a downs feather comforter before when I was living overseas and this smell did not hit me straight. Are there downs that are treated and downs that are not?

Any expert can advise if downs that cost more are the less smelly or no smell ones? I really want to know the reasons and the differences and I prefer to hear from users of downs than the salestalk of the retailers..
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Postby Eagle-Ladybird » Sun Dec 20, 2009 4:30 pm

I'm no expert in down feather products, be it pillow or duvet/quilt. But I have used them all when I was overseas, in much cooler/temperate and low humidity conditions/weathers.

To share with you, I questioned the wisdom of using such products in these part of the world. Downs are known for their insulation properties, when dry. Absoluely under-perform when it's damp. In fact, it's very difficult to dry if it gets wet.

My guess would be, for our weather of high heat and humidity, the "smell/odour"really does not surprised me.

Some hotels that I go to, do offer down products. But their aircons are 24/7 (or almost anyway). And even then, you can still have that "slight musky.

My guess would, if you really need to have one - maybe regular direct sunning would help - just my guess
Last edited by Eagle-Ladybird on Sun Dec 20, 2009 4:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Guest » Sun Dec 20, 2009 4:35 pm

Eagle-Ladybird wrote:I'm no expert in down feather products, be it pillow or duvet/quilt. But I have used them all when I was overseas, in much cooler/temperate and low humidity conditions/weathers.

To share with you, I questioned the wisdom of using such products in these part of the world. Downs are known for their insulation properties, when dry. Absoluely under-perform when it's damp. In fact, it's very difficult to dry if it gets wet.

My guess would be, for our weather of high heat and humidity, the "smell/odour"really does not surprised me.

Some hotels that I go to, do offer down products. But their aircons are 24/7 (or almost anyway). And even them, you can still have that "slight musky.

My guess would, if you really need to have one - maybe regular direct sunning would help - just my guess


Thanks Eagle-Ladybird, your analysis makes sense. So if those retailers never keep their aircon cold enough, the bad smell thing could happen.
Wah...I hope they know this as it is such a turn-off for customers, especially customers like me....I could not linger even 1 minute in the store....
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Postby Jennifer » Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:52 am

My SIL bou a paior of down feather pillows for her new home. Was discarded after a few days becos she n hubby cant stand the smell.

DH loves down feather bolster and pillow. We bou the bolster at Giant @Turf City many years ago at an affordable price. It did not smell bad. So we were very surprised to hear of SIL's experience.

We got the down pillow at Robinsons some months ago (costs >$100). Also no bad smell.

According to the Robinsons saleslady, some of these down pillows are purely feathers (very soft), pure feathers with synthetic down (medium), pure feathers with the bones (firm).

Could the smell be a result of the composition?

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Postby Guest » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:57 am

Jennifer, that is interesting observation from you.

This down mystery is really baffling.

So pure feathers with synthetic down and bones have no smell?
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Postby Way2GO » Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:00 pm

I supposed it depends on the type of bird the down came from.
Duck feathers would have a strong smell.
I heard that the smell comes from the oil secreted by the bird.
But u can't wash away the oil completely otherwise the feathers become brittle.

I bought a couple of down pillows some years back from I can't remember where now, maybe Robinsons.
There was a slight smell to it. But the quills started sticking out and was poking into various parts of the face when you turn your head in the pillow.
I thought this odd since down feathers shouldn't have hard quills right?Opened then up and discovered there was a certain amount of feathers inside mixed with down.
Hiaz...threw them away.

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Re: The smell of down feathers....

Postby ChiefKiasu » Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:38 pm

ks2me wrote:Can someone educate me if it is true that down feathers smell bad, like that of someone who has laboured the entire day without a shower?...


I had a down jacket that I used for 5 continuous winters without any smell. Come to think of it, I don't recall ever washing it either :!:

Then again, as part of the avian breed, I don't think my views should be taken seriously in this discussion.

PS. My sense of smell should not be questioned here, though, since I can easily identify the guilty party who let off gas in a room occupied by my wife and my 2 kids.

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Postby Guest » Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:26 am

Way2GO wrote:I supposed it depends on the type of bird the down came from.
Duck feathers would have a strong smell.
I heard that the smell comes from the oil secreted by the bird.
But u can't wash away the oil completely otherwise the feathers become brittle.

I bought a couple of down pillows some years back from I can't remember where now, maybe Robinsons.
There was a slight smell to it. But the quills started sticking out and was poking into various parts of the face when you turn your head in the pillow.
I thought this odd since down feathers shouldn't have hard quills right?Opened then up and discovered there was a certain amount of feathers inside mixed with down.
Hiaz...threw them away.


Ah BINGO way2go!!
I think you have helped me solve the mystery.
I checked out the goose down and the duck down and the smell came from the duck one.

:thankyou: :D
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