The Martindale Test: Fabric Rub Count

You should not only think about the kind of material that will suit your demands the best, but you should also make sure that the fabric you choose will hold up properly.

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How does the Martindale Test Work?

Martindale tests are performed on fabrics by manufacturers (also known as the rub test). This crucial test evaluates the fabric’s tensile strength.

The fabric is laid out on the Martindale machine’s flat base, and then discs that are either filled with worsted wool or wire mesh are lowered onto it and continuously rubbed against the fabric in a circular motion.

The discs are rubbed against the material until a discernible transformation occurs. At this apparent wear, the test is terminated. The number of oscillations the discs can undergo before the fabric begins to show indications of deterioration is known as the Martindale number.

The outcomes are provided as a score of tens of thousands of rubs or cycles.

What do the results of a Martindale Test mean?

The results of a martindale test reveal how much deterioration a cloth can withstand before the appearance noticeably changes. The fabric is more durable the higher the score.

The scores listed below indicate how well a fabric works for various upholstery applications.

6,000 rubs or less – Occasional domestic

This indicates that the fabric shouldn’t be utilised for a sofa’s primary seat cushions, only for ornamental ones like scatter pillows. Not appropriate for upholstery on furniture.

6000 – 15,000 rubs – Light domestic

This indicates that the fabric is meant to be dry cleaned only and is probably comprised of delicate yarns. It is therefore only appropriate for light residential use. Examples of usage would be for the upholstery of an occasional chair, which is a chair used to complement the major sofas and chairs in the room rather than for daily use.

15,000 – 20,000 rubs – General domestic

This rating indicates that a fabric is appropriate for regular use on the major pieces of furniture in your home. Every seat and back cushion on every chair and sofa can be upholstered with it. Even though your clothing will rub against it while you sit on it every day, it shouldn’t show signs of wear.

20,000 – 25,000 rubs – Heavy domestic

This fabric is heavy-duty because it can withstand heavy everyday wear. A fabric with this rating would be appropriate for furniture pieces like recliner chairs and couch beds that have sections that experience higher degrees of wear. Additionally appropriate for mild commercial application.

30,000 rubs – Commercial

A fabric with this classification is extremely durable and appropriate for use in any commercial setting. This fabric can be used to cover public seating, including sofas and chairs in hotels, bars, and gyms, and it will hold up to the heavy demand. Office settings would be another application.


What is a Wyzenbeek score?

These two tests are frequently used to forecast a fabric’s wear-ability, or how long it will endure before showing symptoms of wear. This makes it easier to decide what environment the material should be utilised in.

For furniture upholstery in heavy traffic places like hotels and restaurants, a material with extremely high durability would be the best choice. While less durable materials should only be used for ornamental things like throw pillows and occasional chairs.

The Martindale approach is more frequently utilised by manufacturers in Europe than the Wyzenbeek method is in the United States.

Similar to how Wyzenbeek is frequently used to test synthetic fibres, the Martindale test is more frequently used to evaluate wool and other natural fibres.

So what’s the difference between the two tests?

Martindale Test

A sample of the fabric is put on the Martindale machine’s base during the test. The cloth is then dropped onto discs that are loaded with an acceptable abrasive material, such as worsted wool or wire mesh, and repeatedly rubbed in a figure-eight pattern.

The test is carried out until wear indicators, such as yarn breakage, piling, and holes, are noticed. The ranking is based on the number of cycles. The fabric’s durability increases with the number of cycles.


In this test, a Wyzenbeek device is used. A test cloth sample is cinched tightly in a frame. The test cloth is then rubbed with cotton duck fabric in a back-and-forth motion (each pass is referred to as a “double rub”). The test is carried out until two strands break or there is a perceptible change in appearance.

At the conclusion of the test, the number of double rubs is recorded. For regions with little usage, a fabric must achieve 15,000 double rubs or fewer, whereas sections with heavy traffic can utilise any material that achieves 30,000 rubs or more.


What the Martindale test doesnt tell you

The Martindale test gauges a fabric’s wear, but it doesn’t check for dirt, UV radiation, chemicals, pet claws, or other stains. The durability of your furniture will also be impacted by all of these factors, as well as the fabric composition, furniture design, and upkeep.

What is a double rub test?

The double rub test measures a fabric’s tensile strength and provides a reliable indication of how well it will withstand regular use in the intended environment.

A piece of test cloth is firmly stretched across a frame on the Wyzenbeek machine during the Wyzenbeek test. The test cloth is then repeatedly run back and forth across an abrasive substance, such as cotton duck fabric. Each trip back and forth is referred to as a “double rub”.

What is a good Martindale Rub Test?

The answer to this query is highly dependent on the intended application for the fabric. Martindale test results that are deemed favourable for a fabric in one setting may be deemed unfavourable for the same fabric when used in a different environment.

For example, a fabric that can withstand between 15,000 and 20,000 rubs would be more than capable of withstanding regular use on furniture in and around the home. In contrast, a cloth with a rub count of between 15,000 and 20,000 would be completely insufficient for heavy traffic areas like sitting in a hotel or gym.

It’s important to keep in mind that even with a high rub count, some circumstances might still lead materials to become worn out before they should.

Tightly wrapped fabrics can deteriorate more quickly than they should. Additionally, textiles that are upholstered straight onto wood without any foam in between the fabric and the wood may prematurely wear out.

Last but not least, although piping gives furniture a pleasant finishing touch, the fabric used to make the piping can prematurely wear in heavy usage situations, especially in sensitive areas like the front of a seat.