8th August 2016

What is the Martindale Rub Test?

By Darlings Of Chelsea

What is the Martindale Test?

The ‘Martindale Test’ or ‘Rub Test’ is a measurement of the durability of upholstery fabric for its suitability for general domestic or commercial use. It is an internationally recognized test and gives the most true to life results.  Using a Martindale machine, a piece of fabric is stretched between two discs, one which oscillates sandpaper or wool across the fabric until signs of distress show. The Martindale number is the amount of times the discs can oscillate before the fabric shows signs of distress.

What does the Martindale number mean to me?

10,000 or less – Decorative
Use on cushions or accents.
Not suitable for general domestic use or furniture upholstery.

10,000 to 15,000 – Light Domestic
Use on occasional use furniture.
Dry clean only.
Fabrics made from delicate yarns such as cotton silk.

15,000 to 25,000 – General Domestic
Use on main house furniture.
Suitable for every day use.
Not suitable for recliners or a seat/back that puts high level of stress on the fabric.
Not suitable for high use furniture.

25,000 to 30,000 – Heavy Duty
Use on heavy use domestic furniture.
Suitable for high levels of every day use.
Suitable for recliners and motion furniture.
Suitable for light commercial use.

30,000 or more – Commercial Grade
Use on heavy duty commercial/domestic furniture.
Suitable for any commercial environment.

Anything above 50,000 is regarded as the same and makes no meaningful difference in the durability of the fabric.

Is the Wyzenbeek test the same thing?

No, the Martindale and Wyzenbeek tests are two completely different tests and cannot be compared to one another. The Wyzenbeek test is used primarily in North America and tests the fabric by rubbing the taut fabric with cotton duck fabric or abrasive wire back an fourth in the warp and filling directions. This back and forth motion is called a double rub.


Source: https://www.stoneycreekfurnitureblog.com/understanding-fabric/

What if I have pets and kids?

The Martindale test measures for abrasion only and does not take into account UV light, chemicals, dirt, surface treatments or pet claws. When choosing a fabric such as velvet, even a hard-wearing stain-resistant velvet will be susceptible to scratch marks from sharp objects and pet claws and stains from heavily pigmented liquids such as red wine. Always keep in mind that the weave, fabric composition, pattern, furniture design, maintenance and usage will all affect the longevity of your chosen fabric.


Source: lapofluxuryinteriors.com

Whats next?

Now that you have a good understanding of what all those tricky numbers mean you are ready to take the next step and pick the perfect colour and fabric for your sofa or chair. If you need help choosing the right colour for your sofa, head over to our blog on Which Colours to Use in Your Home.