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A guide to the Martindale fabric rub test

When choosing your perfect sofa or bed you will inevitably spend a large amount of time trying to pick the perfect colour to match the décor of your room. Here at Furniture World, we pride ourselves on offering a huge range of fabrics across many of our collections so that you can tailor your item to meet your specific needs. We try and make the selection process as transparent as possible by offering a swatch sample service on many ranges. However, we understand that besides choosing the colour, the feel and wear of the fabric is also an important factor in your choice. That is where the Martindale rub test comes in.

What is the Martindale Rub Test & how does it work?

Simply put, the Martindale abrasion rub test is a measurement to determine the durability of a fabric to help you make more informed purchasing decisions. The test will record the amount of times discs can oscillate sandpaper or wool across the fabric before it starts to show distress. The rub test score is internationally recognised and measures the durability of upholstery fabric for general domestic or contract use. Fabric is categorised by a numerical score to show how durable it is.

What do the results of the Martindale test mean?

The results of a Martindale test show how much wear and tear a fabric will take before there is a noticeable change in appearance. The higher the score, the more durable the fabric is. The scores below show how suitable a fabric is for different upholstery uses.

A score of 10,000 or less: Decorative use

A fabric with this score is suitable as a decorative fabric. Use for cushions or accents. Not suitable for general domestic or furniture upholstery.

10,000 to 15,000: Light domestic use

A fabric with this score is suitable for light domestic use such as for occasional furniture. It will be dry clean only and is often for fabrics made from delicate yarns.

15,000 - 25,000: General domestic use

A fabric with this score is suitable for general domestic use. It is suitable for everyday use on main house furniture. It is not suitable for items of furniture that put a high level of stress on the fabric such as a recliner.

25,000 - 30,000: Heavy domestic use

A fabric with this score is suitable for high levels of everyday use. It is a heavy-duty fabric that would be suitable for light commercial use and items such as recliners and other motion furniture.

30,000 or more: Commercial use

A score of 30,000 or more means that a fabric is commercial grade, it can be used on heavy duty furniture and would be suitable for any commercial environment.