How to choose a doona

white doona and pillow on bed

Sarah Marinos

Posted June 29, 2019

What’s the difference between down and feathers, and what do warmth ratings mean?

Getting a good night’s sleep depends on many factors – and one of them is having the right doona.

Doona fillings are usually microfibre, cotton, wool or goose down and the choice primarily depends on how warm you like to be. As a guide, most Australian doonas have a simple numerical warmth rating – the higher the number, the warmer the quilt.

Understanding doonas: a guide

What is the difference between cotton, microfibre and feather doonas?

Microfibre quilts are lightweight, easy to care for and can usually be handwashed or machine washed. They are ideal for anyone who doesn’t like to be too hot in bed and many of these doonas are treated to reduce the risk of allergic reactions, too.

Cotton filled quilts are a good choice if you don’t like to overheat in bed and prefer natural fibres. Wool doonas are suitable for all-year round warmth and the natural fibres help absorb moisture, so you won’t sweat while you sleep.

During colder weather, goose down and feather quilts offer optimum cosiness but if you have allergies, they may not be the best choice.

Does weight make a difference to warmth?

Doonas come in different weights, too. If you like the feel of a heavier quilt, then choose a weightier doona but remember that a heavier weight doesn’t automatically mean a high warmth rating. Similarly, a lightweight quilt won’t automatically be a cooler option for summer. Look at the weight and the warmth rating when making your choice.

If you don’t want to switch doonas between seasons, consider an all-seasons quilt, says Azra Kolak, executive housekeeper at the Langham Hotel in Melbourne. “These doonas are two pieces that are zipped or buttoned together. In summer you can separate them and put one section away until you need it again.”


bedroom with a mirror and clothes rack and pink and oranged bed

Style, weight and warmth are all important factors when deciding on a doona.

Which style is best?

Azra adds that when choosing a doona, it’s also important to look at how it is stitched.

“A box-stitched design keeps feathers or filling in specific areas of the quilt – it spreads the filling evenly, so you don’t get fillings collecting in the corners. The smaller the boxes the better,” she says.

For the ultimate in luxury sleeping she recommends choosing a goose down doona with a box design. Feather and down doonas and Australian wool doonas are more expensive than those filled with cotton and synthetic fibres

“Goose down is the finest feather filling. It is soft and light but very warm,” says Azra. “For a good-quality doona, you have to pay more and goose down is expensive because those feathers are less common – it’s like buying raspberries at a supermarket versus apples.”

Can you wash a doona?

“I remember my grandmother in Europe taking out her feather doonas in the summer to air them. She would beat the feathers with a stick to spread them out and keep them fluffy,” says Azra.

“During summer weather it is a good idea to hang your doona in the sun – sunlight helps kill any germs and keeps your doona smelling fresh.”

Shake out your doona every day when you make your bed to keep the filling spread evenly.

Ideally, doonas should be washed or dry cleaned every six months to get rid of any stains, sweat or other nasties, such as dust mites. Check the label to see whether your doona can go in the washing machine.

“To keep your doonas fluffy, wash them in a machine with a couple of tennis balls. As the balls beat the doona it helps keep the filling fluffy,” says Azra.

When is it time to buy a new doona?

It’s time to buy a new doona when stubborn stains won’t shift and when the compartments filled with feathers or fibres begin to feel empty.

You can donate old doonas to organisations such as the RSPCA ( or the Lost Dogs Home in Melbourne (


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