FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions

DOWN COMFORTERS

Down is very easy to care for.  Throw the down comforter in the washing machine to clean with a specially formulated down cleaner that will freshen while it cleans. The cleaner is non-toxic and biodegradable so that it will not cause damage to you or your comforter.  It is also a good idea to fluff your comforter at the same time as drying. This can be done with fluffers, see-through rubber rings that use heat to fluff. Comforter - Sleep in luxurious comfort with down alternative (hypoallergenic) white comforter.  End to end box stitching looks great and keeps the fiber in place for even distribution.  A good quality alternative down comforter will provide lightweight warmth and be allergy free.  Although when most people say they are allergic to down comforters, they are actually allergic to the dust and dirt from an improperly cleaned down comforter. Regardless of preference a down alternative comforter will do the trick. To ensure its long life, a down alternative comforter should be used with a duvet cover.  Not only will this protect the down from dirt and impurities, it will allow you to introduce change, color and style into your bedroom.  Duvets can be used to cover any blanket or comforter.  It's like a big pillowcase to protect and decorate your comforter.  Down alternative products are packed tightly during shipping.  Upon receipt, remove them from their packaging, fluff gently, and allow several hours to recover their full loft. In addition, being sealed in plastic packaging sometimes causes the scent of these products to concentrate to a disagreeable level.  A few hours of airing usually removes the odor. 


FILL POWER, THREAD COUNT and BAFFLED. There are three key elements to look for when choosing a down comforter.  
FILL POWER: The quality of down is measured by its fill power.  Down with a higher fill power will be lighter, fluffier and loftier making the comforter cloud-like.  Higher fill power will also provide better insulation. 
THREAD COUNT: This is the number of threads per square inch. A higher count provides a softer, more durable product. It also keeps dirt from getting in, and down from sneaking out of your comforter.  
BAFFLED: Baffling is simply a type of construction, specifically sewn in cloth walls to keep the down from shifting and clumping. Down and feather-filled products are packed tightly during shipping. Upon receipt, remove them from their packaging, fluff gently, and allow several hours to recover their full loft. In addition, being sealed in plastic packaging sometimes causes the scent of these natural products to concentrate to a disagreeable level. A few hours of airing usually removes the odor.

PILLOWS  - The best natural fill pillows consist of down and will conform comfortably to your head and neck. These are long lasting and durable. Down and feather-filled products are packed tightly during shipping. Upon receipt, remove them from their packaging, fluff gently, and allow several hours to recover their full loft. In addition, being sealed in plastic packaging sometimes causes the scent of these natural products to concentrate to a disagreeable level. A few hours of airing usually removes the odor. Machine wash zippered cover, dry clean pillow.

DUVET - A DUVET cover is another name for a comforter cover. It is essential to cover and protect your down comforter with one. A great reason to buy a duvet cover is that it's a quick, easy way to redecorate your room. You can also use your duvet cover alone in the summer for a lighter feel and use it to cover your comforter or blanket during the colder times. Duvets come in different styles, colors and patterns and are a snap to use.   

EGYPTIAN SHEETS - Rest in comfort with this soft and elegant sheet set made of high quality, 100-percent Egyptian cotton. The fitted sheets have a fully elasticized edge and deep, 16-inch pockets, which fit any mattress up to 20 inches thick.

SATEEN - COMFORTER - Experience a fabulous night's rest with our luxury sized, hi-loft down alternative comforter. Baffle box design eliminates shifting for evenly distributed warmth. Side gussets provide maximum loft. Filled with a hypoallergenic highly slickened fiber for superior loft and year-round comfort. A good quality down comforter will provide warmth, serve as a natural insulator keeping in your body heat, be allergy free, and last but not least, make for a cozy, inviting bed.  

EURO - COMFORTER - A good quality down comforter will provide warmth, serve as a natural insulator keeping in your body heat, be allergy free, and last but not least, make for a cozy, inviting bed. To ensure its long life, a down comforter should be used with a duvet cover. Not only will this protect the down from dirt and impurities, it will allow you to introduce change, color and style into your bedroom.

HOW TO CHOOSE A DOWN COMFORTER

Not all down comforters are the same. Here are the different variables for down comforters explained in simple terms to help you choose the perfect down comforter for you, your family, and friends.
In layman's terms this means how fluffy-puffy the fill is. Higher fill power means your down comforter will last longer.

Fill Power = the space one ounce of down occupies in cubic inches.

800+ = superb quality comforters, but expensive

700+ = excellent quality comforters

600+ = good quality comforters How are Comforters Fill Power Tested?


AMERICAN STANDARD TESTING +++++ 

One ounce of down is placed in a cylinder and stirred. The loft is measured in cubic inches. The sample is compressed. The down is left alone to "rest" for 24 hours. After the resting period, the down is re-measured. The down remains undisturbed and should regain its original loft within 72 hours.

COMFORTERS - THREAD COUNT - BARRIER WEAVE FABRIC ++++
The comforters thread count is the number of threads that are contained in one square inch of fabric. Higher thread counts in a comforter's fabric mean it is lighter and softer. The tightness of the weave also prevents leakage of the comforters fill to the outside air. The lightness also helps the fill to " loft"- or "puff up" in layman's terms. The comforter down proof ness is measured in millimeters. Lower numbers mean better down proofing. The industry standard in '10'. An air porosity test (how much air can pass through a fabric) is a measure of "down proof ness". Higher thread counts are obviously better. In other words- no little feathers poking through the comforter's fabric.

COMFORTERS CLEANLINESS ++++
There is acceptable government standards for the cleanliness of feathers and down used in down comforters. This cleanliness is a primary variable in determining the hypoallergenic nature of some down comforters. Some comforter fills are washed as many as fifteen times to get rid of dust, dirt and organic matter. There are two "cleanliness" tests in the industry.

(a). An Oxygen test determines the amount of organic matter left in the material being tested. The industry acceptable standard is 10. Better products have lower numbers than that.

(b). Turbidity tests. Turbidity is a measure of suspended solids, dust, dirt etc suspended in the comforter's material. The scale goes from about 60 (unwashed feathers) to 550 best.

COMFORTERS CONSTRUCTION WITH BAFFLE DESIGN ++++
Comforters Sewing Quality. Better sewing means more durability, less tendency for sewing to break. Comforters are generally sewn through or baffled. The baffling is an internal fabric wall which allows the fill to "loft" more. It also adds strength to the comforter. Comforters which are sewn through are generally better for lighter weight comforters only. Our comforters come in checkered or true baffled wall construction. Comforters Piping A comforter can be made with material sewn around the edges. The piping is the type of material that runs around the entire exterior edge of the down comforter.

COMFORTERS WEIGHT ++++
A comforter can be made warmer in two ways. Fill power and weight. Clearly the aim is to get the maximum warmth at the lightest weight. To get this you would choose a higher fill power number. Feathers are a great deal less warm than high grade down. Once you have selected the fill power then add weight for extra warmth.

Average Bedroom Temperatures and Comforter Weight Recommended: 

70+ ° F Summer Fill - light weight (Southern)

55-70° F Year Round Fill - medium weight (Classic)

Below 55° F Winter Fill - heavier weight (Arctic)

TYPE OF DOWN FOR COMFORTERS +++

Please note that in some comforters labeled "pure down" or 100% down are not pure, as some feathers remain in the fill. As long as the comforter is 75% down it can be labeled 100% in many states!

TYPES OF WOOL

Merino Wool  --
Merino wool comes from the USA
Hand wash – air-dry or dry clean
Make winter weight and thermals.
Made in twin, full/queen, and king sizes.
Softer than coarse wools. 

Lambs Wool --

First shearing of sheep
Lambs wool comes from the United States.
Hand wash - air dry or dry clean
Made in twin, full/queen, and king sizes 


Washable Wool --

100% wool that is treated to enable washing.
Cool dry or air dry.
Made in twin, full/queen, and king sizes

BAMBOO BEDDING AND TOWELS

Bamboo fiber is 100% made from bamboo through a high-tech process.  The raw material bamboo is selected from non-polluted areas in Asia.  The whole distilling and production process produces natural and eco-friendly fiber without any chemical additives. Bamboo fiber is also a unique biodegradable textile material.  As a natural cellulose fiber it can be 100% biodegraded in soil by microorganisms and sunshine.  It is a common fact that bamboo can thrive naturally without using pesticide.  Scientists have found that bamboo owns a unique anti-bacteria and bacteriostatic bio-agent.  This substance is combined with bamboo cellulose during the process of being manufactured into bamboo fiber resulting in a naturally antibacterial fabric.  This antibacterial property means fabrics stay fresh and keeps away odor causing bacteria.  It is proven that wash after wash, bamboo fiber fabric still possesses excellent function of anti-bacteria. Bamboo fiber’s natural anti-bacteria does not cause skin allergy as can sometimes happen with chemical antimicrobial.  Another benefit of bamboo fiber is its unusual ability to breathe and ventilate.  A cross-section of the bamboo fiber will show that it is filled with various micro-gaps and micro-holes, giving excellent moisture absorption and ventilation.  With this unparalleled micro-structure, bamboo fiber fabrics can absorb and evaporate moisture in a split second, making people feel extremely cool and comfortable in the hot summer.  Bamboo fabrics are made from pure bamboo fiber yarns which have excellent wet permeability, moisture vapor transmission property, superior strength and durability over time, soft and comfortable hand, better drape, easy dying, and splendid colors. It is a newly founded, great prospective green fabric.  Bamboo fiber is praised as "the natural, green and an eco-friendly new-type textile material of the 21st century".

TWILL WEAVE

In a twill weave, each weft or filling yarn floats across the warp yarns in a progression of interlacing to the right or left, forming a distinct diagonal line. This diagonal line is also known as a wale. A float is the portion of a yarn that crosses over two or more yarns from the opposite direction. A twill weave requires three or more harnesses, depending on its complexity. Twill weave is often designated as a fraction—such as 2/1—in which the numerator indicates the number of harnesses that are raised (and, thus, threads crossed), in this example, two, and the denominator indicates the number of harnesses that are lowered when a filling yarn is inserted, in this example one. The fraction 2/1 would be read as "two up, one down."  The minimum number of harnesses needed to produce a twill can be determined by totaling the numbers in the fraction. For the example described, the number of harnesses is three. (The fraction for plain weave is 1/1.)

About Egyptian Cotton

Through out the past two centuries, Egyptian cotton has prevailed as one of Egypt's biggest competitive advantages.  With an established reputation of being the "best" cotton in the world, its softness, strength and superior characteristics, have positioned products made of Egyptian cotton as the worlds finest.

Egyptian cotton sheets have not gained such a reputation without reason.  Egyptian cotton "is" the world's finest cotton and the following characteristics are what sets Egyptian cotton apart from other natural fibers:

1-The length of the fiber makes it possible to make the finest of yarns without sacrificing the strength of the yarn.

2-The strength of the fiber makes fabrics more solid and more resistant to stress.

3-Its ability to absorb liquids gives fabrics made of Egyptian cotton deeper, brighter and more resistant colors.

4-Its softness increases with each washing.

Egyptian cotton is hand picked which guarantees the highest levels of purity.  In addition, hand picking puts no stress on the fibers - as opposed to mechanical picking - leaving the fibers straight and intact.  All these factors have resulted in the Egyptian cotton being by far the best cotton in the world.  Fabrics made of Egyptian cotton are softer, finer and last longer than any other cotton in the world.

It was thought for ages that cotton was cotton and thread count was king when choosing quality sheets.  That is no longer true.  Consumer guidelines for buying bedding suggest that cotton from Egypt is superior to other cotton.  Is this true and, if so, what is the big difference?

Egyptian cottons are used to create bedding of all types from sheets to pillowcases to comforters.  The long staple or long fiber of Egyptian-grown cotton means that there is more continuous fiber to use when creating threads or yarns.  This yarn is smaller in diameter yet stronger than other cottons.  Smaller yarn means that more threads per square inch can be use to create stronger fabric that is light in weight yet breaths well.

More threads per inch mean that the thread count on the bedding label will be higher.  Many buyers think that choosing high thread count sheets is the only gauge of quality.  This is not true, but in the case of cotton grown in Egypt, the higher thread count means the fabric will be incredibly strong and will last for years and years.  If cared for properly, Egyptian produced cotton fabric used for creating bedding products can last for decades.

The hand or feel of the sheets created from Egyptian grown cotton is a bit harder than other cottons when the bedding is new.  However, with every single laundering, the cotton sheets from Egyptian fibers become softer and softer.  Like a fine wine, age improves the Egyptian fiber cotton bedding and, unlike many products, you will prize your Egyptian fiber sheets of cotton more and more as they age and become soft and cuddly.

Cotton grown in the Egyptian fields will also produce less lint and therefore will not pill after repeated washings as some materials may do.  At one time, the only way to obtain Egyptian fiber cotton sheets was to shop in high-end expensive stores.  This is no longer true and most department stores and online bedding stores carry a selection of Egyptian produced cotton sheets and other bedding items for the buyer seeking this quality product.

King Cotton was once the name for the cotton grown in the Deep South of the United States.  This cotton has much shorter fibers or staple than the Egyptian produced cotton.  Egyptian fiber is now considered the king of all cottons for its durability and luxurious feel.  After all, we spend almost one-third of our lives in our beds and our bedding should be comfortable and durable.  Choosing the right sheets made from the king of cotton, Egyptian produced fibers; you will experience a bed that is comfortable and cozy.

A word of caution regarding bedding labels: if the package says "cotton rich" the actual amount of cotton, whether Egyptian or other cotton, is not stated and can be a very small amount.  It is better to select products that state 100% cotton or, if choosing a blend fabric, that clearly state the exact proportion of cotton in the bedding.  This will ensure your product composition is one that you will be pleased with.

PERCALE

Percale stands for the weaving process in which the fabric is woven by. In percale the yarns are woven in one over one, unlike Sateen where it’s four over one. The one over one (percale) weave create a much even, stronger, denser & softer fabric, which can stand the test of time and gets better and better feel the more you wash it. It’s just like your favorite old shirt, the more it’s laundered the softer and durable it gets.  

Superior single pick insertion of 300 Thread count Percale make this better than a 600 Thread count with 4 pick insertions as most of the T600 are. Insertions means when weaving the fabric, you have the vertical yarns being inserted or hemmed by the horizontal yarns. If the horizontal hemming yarns are being done with 1 yarn at time , it’s called single pick insertion, if it’s using 4 yarns, it’s called 4 pick insertion. The higher the number of insertions the faster the weave and the less quality fabric gets. Have you ever wondered why your old 200 or 300 thread count feels better than your new 600 Thread count sheets?  The reason is simply because new high thread count sheets are being woven with a higher and higher insertion to save money. This is not the same thing as 2-ply sheets. The 2 or 3 ply sheets refer to the yarn being used in weaving and not how it’s being woven.  

Finally, this superior weave, woven in the best authentic way is done using the best cotton in the world. Egyptian cotton, it’s not just cotton grown in Egypt - it is a particular type of long-staple cotton originally grown along the Nile.  Egyptian cotton has the longest fibers.  That is, when you pull the cotton from the cotton plant and remove the seeds and waxes, Egyptian cotton has longer fibers available for spinning into yarn than other cottons.  When intertwining strands of yarn to make a larger product, long-staple cotton has fewer connection points, and therefore a greater percentage of area is the natural softness of the cotton. 

Silk 

History credits the Chinese Empress Hsi-Ling-Shi, The Goddess of Silk, with the discovery of silk and its potential in the 27th century BC. Since then, and for thousands of years, the processing of silk filaments and weaving silk fabrics was a closely held secret known only to the Chinese. Although silk production has spread throughout the Far East and Europe, Chinese silk produced by the Bombyx mori (a specialized silk producing worm) is smoother, finer, and rounder than other silks and to this day – the most coveted.

Processing Silk  --- Producing the world’s finest silk is a lengthy process demanding close attention to exacting conditions and times. For example, specific temperatures that are gradually increased are essential for silkworms to hatch. In addition, the only food source for silk worms is handpicked and chopped mulberry leaves. If fact, silk is so important to China’s economy, and mulberry leaves so essential to the production, that farming the mulberry bush is, itself, a very large and essential industry.

Silkworms feed so voraciously on mulberry leaves that it will increase its weight by 10,000 times within a month prior to beginning the cocoon stage. To create its protective cocoon, the worms produce a protein based, jelly-like substance from silk glands – a silk filament, which hardens upon contact with the air. The cocoon process requires about eight days for completing.

The silk filament, which can reach lengths of up to one mile, is unwound from the cocoons through the process of reeling of filature. First, the cocoons are heated in water to dissolve the outside, gummy substance. Next, the silk filament is unwound from the cocoon from one end. This single filament of one cocoon is joined and twisted with the filaments of four to eight other cocoons. Finally, these filaments are joined and twisted again with other similarly twisted filaments to make a thread. The silk thread is continuous and is comprised of very long fibers – unlike other natural fibers such as cotton or wool.

Silk Fabric  -- Now as a thread, silk is woven in many different was to create fabric. For example, silk charmeuse, also referred to as silk satin is very popular, and most often recognized for its ultra-smooth feel and vibrant sheen. Silk is also woven into, jacquard, matelasse and other fabrics – each with its own unique characteristics.

Momme Weight  --- You may be familiar with the term "thread count" when grading cotton fabrics as an indicator of quality. Silk is graded by a different standard - referred to in the industry as the "momme weight" system. The momme weight of silk is simply the weight, in pounds, of silk fabric measuring a standard 100 yards by 45 inches. For example, a standard measure of silk fabric weighing 2 ounces per linear yard would be a 12.5 momme weight (2/16 x 100) silk fabric. Higher momme weights indicate that more silk is used in the weaving process. Silk fabric is woven in varying momme weights based the desired look, feel, drape and use of the fabric.

CARE

Empress designs with easy care in mind. All our silk sheets are designed to be machine washable and dryable however, each fabric is unique and it might require different cleaning methods, please see each product's cae label for specific care.

Hand Wash:  The preferred method is hand laundered in lukewarm water with mild detergent or soap using a gentle hand movement. Do not soak too long. Rinse in cool water and roll silk in a towel to remove excess water. Never wring water from Silk.

Machine Wash:  Larger items can be machine washed. Wash in cold water with mild detergent, no bleach, set in gentle cycle. Wash silk separate from other items and do not overload wahser to avoid any unnecessary wear to the fabric. Silk dries quickly. Tumble dry on very low heat if necessary.

Dry Clean:  All silk floss filling are dry clean only. This apply to Silk Comforter and other silk filled products.

Ironing:  Silk has a resistance to creasing or wrinkling, most will smooth out naturally. If ironing should become necessary, press the damp silk on the reverse side with an iron set on low. Silk Charmeuse (satin) requires a cool iron to bring back the sheen.

Note:  These are general care guidelines for silk.  Please refer to specific care instruction on each product's care label.  


If you have a question about any of our products, can't find what you are looking for, or just want to chat, let us know at elkmeadowsenterprises@msn.com  We would like very much to have your comments about our site and about our products.  We take every comment very seriously.

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