Comfort(er) cotton or wool?
June 29, 2008 2:42 PM   Subscribe

Buying a new comforter: cotton or wool?

After years with a synthetic comforter from Ikea we are planning to upgrade. Down is not a viable option and it never falls below 45 degrees where we live so we are leaning toward cotton; organic preferably. A friend suggested wool as an option. Any feedback with regard to brand, comfort, wool vs. cotton and maintenance (washing) would be appreciated.

Bonus for suggesting where to purchase online.
posted by Sagres to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have several wool blankets, and they're a bit of a PITA, to be honest. At least the ones I have can't be washed in regular water; they need to be dry-cleaned. Given that, we do what we can to keep them clean and almost never get them washed. (They only get hauled out when it's very, very cold anyway.) If you get one, check ahead of time what its use-and-care instructions specify. I've never had anything made out of wool that you could just toss in the washer and then in the dryer.

Maybe I'm not imagining the right thing, but "wool comforter" and "never falls below 45 degrees" don't seem to really match up in my mind. To me, a "comforter" is something that's even heavier and thicker than a blanket; one made out of wool seems like it would be very toasty.

I've had lots of cotton comforters (most with sythetic batting); they're pretty nice for all but the very coldest nights, and are easy to wash. I'm not sure if that's the same sort of thing you're talking about, though.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:42 PM on June 29, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks Kadin. I agree - wool is too hot.. I would like to find a cotton (pref organic) comforter with cotton batting or filler.
posted by Sagres at 4:45 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Wool batting traps air very effectively, due to the natural "crimp" of wool fibers, making it a very good insulator (bedouins wear wool clothing in the desert). It won't be hot if you get the proper weight for summer. Wool is hygroscopic, which means that it absorbs moisture, preventing you from feeling sweaty. It repels dust mites, and is fire retardant. I would personally choose light weight wool over cotton, if you live somewhere humid. Wool comforters need to be dry cleaned.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:27 PM on June 29, 2008

Neither, go with a duvet. I adore mine, and I'm a a guy. If you have an Ikea nearby, they usually stock duvets of different weights, choose one that suits the season.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 6:06 PM on June 29, 2008

I know you discounted down, but I find that my down duvet is warm in winter but sits lightly and isn't uncomfortable in warm weather - especially a light one. I find it more comfortable than my old synthetic duvet in warmer weather.
posted by jimmythefish at 6:19 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Silk is another option. Lightweight, hypoallergenic, and supposedly "adjusts to your body temperature" (I've not tried one -- down is just fine IMO). Garnet Hill has a nice one.
posted by libraryhead at 6:34 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Light weight down is my first choice as well (and The Company Store has a number of them), but you can find information on cotton and wool and suggested retailers here, including Heart of Vermont.
posted by gudrun at 9:27 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Wool is lovely, it breathes and wicks, and many wool products (especially socks) are made from "superwash" yarn, chemically treated to permit machine washing so they don't felt and shrink. They often have a sizing on them when brand new, so they'll feel a little too crisp at first. But that washes out in one cycle.

Woven wool in blanket form is not going to trap air as effectively as batting, so a light drapey blanket won't feel like a quilt.

Here's one washable wool blanket.

Look for "merino" if you're worried about it being scratchy; merino is wonderfully soft.

Wool wants NO BLEACH! and low heat tumble dry.

Of course, you could get the best of both worlds.

Here are some comparisons between cotton and wool, organic versions included.

This looks promising.

If you're interested in organic cotton, you might be interested also in looking out for naturally colored cotton products, which had lost favor for many years because of the demand for white. Anyhow the naturally colored cottons come in an interesting variety, and the colors deepen and change as you wash them.
posted by Lou Stuells at 9:58 PM on June 29, 2008

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