Few things in life are better than curling up under a cozy duvet and getting a good night’s sleep. But what if your duvet is off-gassing toxic chemicals and/or contributing to pollution and animal cruelty? Sadly, most duvets are the stuff of environmental and ethical nightmares, filled with petroleum-based polyester or forcibly plucked feathers sterilized with formaldehyde.
I love my sleep, and I’m happy to say that I rest easy thanks to an eco-friendly duvet and non-toxic organic bedding. If you can’t say the same, you’ll want to check out the carefully curated comforters and eco-friendly duvets in the Leaf Score directory.
Before you pick a new duvet, though, you’ll want to think about a few key questions, such as how warm you tend to sleep, the size of your bed, and how much time and energy you have for upkeep. Some eco-friendly duvets are easier to clean than others, which is an especially important consideration if buying a duvet for a child (or, let’s face it, if you, like me, have a dog who likes to ‘towel off’ on the bed after a walk).
If you’re looking for a new duvet, it’s smart to ask the following questions:
- What is the duvet made from?
- Are the materials recycled and/or recyclable?
- Has the duvet been treated with toxic chemicals?
- Does the manufacturing of the duvet harm humans, other animals, and/or the environment?
When it comes to the warmth and heaviness of a duvet, a lot depends on the fill. The fill also determines whether the duvet is naturally flame retardant, machine washable, cruelty-free, or hypoallergenic (or if you need a hypoallergenic duvet cover).
If you’re in the market for an eco-friendly, non-toxic duvet, I highly recommend the Savvy Rest Organic Wool Duvet Insert (View Price on Savvy Rest). It’s made with certified organic wool and covered in a certified organic cotton sateen fabric. It is sized to drape over the side of the bed for complete cozy coverage while you sleep. This duvet insert is ideal year-round as it contains around 6 lbs of GOTS-certified organic wool and is approximately 1.5 inches thick. You can read our full review here.
First things first, though. Chances are that if you’re buying a new duvet, there’s something awry with the one you currently have. So, what can you do with an old duvet or comforter?
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
As with every household product, before you even consider sending a worn-out comforter to landfill, think about ways to repurpose, upcycle, or recycle it.
You could donate lightly used duvets to a nearby retirement home, shelter, or social housing for those in need. A duvet can be folded and sewn into a new cover to make a comfy bed for your cat and/or dog or donated to an animal shelter. You might also remove the filling and use it to stuff a cushion or for crafting purposes. Or, if you brew beer at home, like I do, use your old duvet as a carboy cozy during fermentation.
If you like to camp (or should I say, ‘glamp’), consider cutting up an old duvet into strips and resewing the edges to make plush camping mats. Or, if you’re car camping and sleeping in the car, use your old duvet as a base layer to cushion those bumps and such where seatbelt attachments and so forth stick out. Speaking of cars, you may even want to use an old, worn, thin, comforter as an emergency blanket to stow in your trunk in winter, just in case you ever get stuck in the snow and need to stay warm. Or, use it as a blanket for your car windscreen, to make it really easy to deice and get going first thing in the morning.
Once you’ve figured out what to do with your old duvet, it’s time to choose a new one.
How to choose a new duvet
Regardless of which bedding set-up you prefer, choosing a duvet made with natural materials is better for breathability, comfort, durability, and all-round health. A quality duvet can easily outlive your mattress and may last for several decades without needing to be replaced. If more people chose an eco-friendly duvet this would help to keep millions of tons of material out of landfill.
I look more closely at the best materials for duvets here, but suffice it to say that my top choice for a duvet material is kapok, a natural fiber. Sadly, kapok duvets remain somewhat elusive; I only found one good one to include in my recommended products. I suspect, however, that kapok duvets are likely to become more popular in the next little while as they are lightweight, soft, and sustainable and make a good alternative to down duvets. Kapok pillows are already catching on, so why not a whole duvet? Step it up, bedding companies!
Down and kapok are excellent all-season duvet materials as these help with temperature regulation. In general, the more down there is in a duvet, the better it will be at regulating temperature. Wool is also excellent for temperature and humidity regulation, but wool duvets are best if you like a thinner, heavier duvet that drapes more closely over your body.
You might also consider a pair of seasonal comforters instead of a single all-season comforter. For instance, a thicker kapok or down duvet in winter and a thinner kapok, cotton or silk duvet in summer. Or, you could choose to go with a cooler duvet suitable for summer and pair this with a coverlet or seasonal blanket when the weather cools down. That might mean a light kapok or down duvet, or a summer wool duvet in summer paired with a heavier, warmer blanket in winter.
As I’ve said, I love my sleep. And I have definitely found that I sleep so much better when I use my newer non-toxic, natural, organic bedding to go with my organic mattress. While it’s a slow process, I’m gradually switching over all the bedding in my home to organic materials that are either undyed or dyed naturally. That way, I feel a lot better about welcoming guests, especially friends and family with infants or small children whose systems are more vulnerable to toxic chemicals. I sleep more soundly knowing that the people I love are not breathing in harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
If you want to find out more about VOCs and other problems with conventional duvets, I cover that here. You can also read in depth descriptions of the green certifications for duvets. If you want to cut to the chase, you can skip right to the reviews and see my top picks for the best cotton and wool comforters.