How to Choose the Right Ostrich Feather Duster
Compared to other bird feathers, ostrich feathers have long barbs (the branch-like strands that run out from the feathers shaft) that are perfect for picking up dust. The three basic differences in ostrich feather dusters are the size of the duster, the type of feathers used, and the type of handle or casing holding the feathers. Size With ostriches being large birds, ostrich feather dusters can range in size from 10"to 28" long (including handle). You will want to use the larger dusters for high ceilings or open areas, and the smaller ones for general cleaning around shelves, desks, and tables.
There are 3 basic size ranges: Small dusters in the 10"-14" range. Medium dusters in the 17"-23" range, and large dusters in the "27-30" range. The most popular size tends to be in the middle range between 17" -23" (Including handle). Extension poles are also an option. Some ostrich feather dusters are made with a threaded head that can attach to an extension pole to reach ceiling areas, ceiling fans, and other hard-to-reach areas.
Types of Feathers
There are 3 basic types of ostrich feathers, each having different characteristics as follows:
Gray Feathers--Gray feathers (called "drab" feathers) are exclusive to the mature (3-4 years old) female birds, and come from the long growth on the part of the wings as they near the body. Gray feathers are somewhat stark in nature, and less "stringy" than black feathers. Gray ostrich feathers are not as soft as the "black" feathers which come from the male birds. They are still a soft feather, however, and work great for most cleaning purposes--although at www.featherdusterdepot.com the black feather dusters sell much better than the gray ones.
Black Feathers--Black feathers are unique, softer feathers (compared to the gray "drab" feathers) and are exclusive to the mature male birds. There are about 4 female birds to every one male bird. The black feathers tend to be more "stringy" in nature, and less stark or pointed than gray feathers. Because of this "stringy" nature, the black feathers tend to fill in the head of the duster more, and are a very soft and premium duster. In the natural state, the larger feathers can have frosted tips of a different color (white and beige usually) and can have a blend of white coloring at the stem end. Any ostrich feather that is pure white, or any other bright color, is the result of dyeing.
Floss Feathers--Floss feathers are premium feathers, that are taken from the under-wing covert areas of an ostrich covering the area where the wing feathers attach to the body. These soft feathers make a very soft and unique feather duster--with wavy feathers that can feel like soft fur. Do to where they are found on the bird, they are not as long as gray or black feathers. Type of Handles or Casing There are two basic types of handles or casing. Wood/plastic--Most feather dusters are made with a round wooden handle made of pine, or birch, or similar less expensive wood. The handles are either stained or lacquered. Some handles are made of plastic or other composite materials. Slide Casing--Some feather dusters are called "retractable" feather dusters. Instead of a handle, the feathers are attached to a slide mechanism, and slide up and down inside a plastic casing. When the slide is down, the feathers are protected inside a casing similar to the size of a standard flashlight handle. When the slide is up, the feathers push out and are ready for dusting. These are popular among delivery truck drivers who carry the dusters in their pocket, and then use them to dust off product displays or merchandise when they stock shelves.