Feather Beds

Written by Shirley Parker
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Feather beds conjure up pictures of old-fashioned living and heirlooms listed in old Wills: "And to my beloved wife, I bequeath my feather bed." Mine, not ours, since wives themselves were too often treated as chattel, having few, if any, property rights. Many people today, though, have been pleasantly surprised that it's still possible to purchase brand new feather beds.

Today's feather beds are made of thoroughly cleaned feathers, which minimize sneezing and other allergic reactions often caused by dust. A tightly woven fabric, usually cotton, encases them. To keep feathers in place, tightly stitched channel baffling usually runs the length of the mattress.

If possible, purchase a feather bed with a removable cover that can be washed and dried thoroughly. Taking the mattress itself apart for cleaning is impractical and not recommended, since frantic restuffing may not be at all successful. However, you may not have a choice of cover when choosing the luxury mattress your heart is set on, and almost all will be well made and come with a substantial guarantee.

Are Feather Beds Really High Maintenance?

As in days of old, a feather bed must be treated with care, so it won't develop mold or rot. Avoid plastic covering of any kind, since the feathers and fabric must be able to breathe. If there is no removable cover, you can spot clean very carefully, with a light touch, if needed. Otherwise, you'll need to locate a dry cleaner with experience in cleaning feather items, possibly not an easy person to find, certainly not an inexpensive proposition. Getting the mattress to the dry cleaner or the dry cleaner to the house will have to be worked out between the two of you.

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