Many current alternative fibers break down easily, releasing microplastics into the environment, or succumb to clumping after washing a few times. This is why many of the down-alternative filled products have small baffles, and provide a fraction of the potential warmth down can provide. It is also the reason that down insulations can have a significantly lower environmental impact than petroleum-based alternatives, as down is a naturally occuring, biodegradable byproduct of the food industry.
While some care must be taken with your down-filled products, they are actually quite easy to care for.
In a home laundry situation, the only way you can harm the down is to use the wrong detergent, which can strip it of its fat and oil. The only other potential issue is not drying thoroughly.
For more information on how to care for your down product, click here.