What is the martindale rub test?

Most fabrics undergo the Martindale Test to check their durability and suitability for various uses, i.e, curtains, domestic furniture, contract furniture. The test is also known as the Rub Test and it tests for abrasion. The test gives a score in 1000’s of rubs. Domestic fabrics often have a rating of up to 20,000 rubs. Generally, the higher the figure the more suitable the fabric for heavy usage. For example some KOTHEA velvets and faux leathers have scores of over 100,000 making them usable for heavy contract scenarios in hotels. KOTHEA have linen mix fabric for upholstery with a Martindale of 80,000.

You also might want to look <here> for details on the related Wyzenbeek test. Wyzenbeek is another (but different) kind of abrasion/rub test.

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The technical details of the Martindale test are shown below but this information is not normally required to be known by an interior designer: All you need to know is the appropriate rub test for your installation.If you are an interior design professional and you would like more information please call us in the UK on 020 8943 4904.

A circular specimen, mounted in a specimen holder and subjected to a defined load, is rubbed against an abrasive medium (standard wool fabric) in a translational movement tracing a Lissajous figure, the specimen holder being additionally freely rotatable around its own axis perpendicular to the plane of the specimen. The normal end point of the test is when two threads are broken or in the case of pile fabrics when the pile has completely worn off. The inspection interval is dependent on the end point of the fabric and is usually every 1,000 up to 5,000 rubs, every 2,000 between 5,000 & 20,000 every 5,000 between 20,000 & 40,000 and every 10,000 above 40,000.

For more information on luxury cashmere throws or to request cuttings please visit www.kothea.com.  For black faux leather upholstery fabrics try <here> and for mohair velvet and mohair velvet upholstery fabric please follow the links.  Upholstery Linen is also one of our specialities as are luxury  silk velvet  fabrics.

40 Replies to “What is the martindale rub test?”

  1. I am familiar with the term “double rubs”. One of my suppliers is showing me a new fabric that will pass 250,000 Martindale rub test. Is this single or double rubs?

    Thank you, Marilyn Benn, Supervisor Decor

  2. Dear Sir,

    I ask for a Martindale test 18000 rubs for a polyester wool fabrics 55/44 plain weave suiting fabrics, Weight 270 grms liner meters. the test as given result as following 2-3 .I want to know if Martindale test is ok for this type of fabrics.

    Taj Ali Ghani

    1. Hi Taj

      The Martindale is a statement of ‘fact’ about an aspect of one of the fabric’s technical properties ie abrasion resistance. Many technical characteristics of the fabric such as density of weave and the type of yarn used.

      18,000 rubs would probably be OK for residential upholstery.

      If that has not answered your questions please feel free to clarify further.

      1. Hi Ms.Verity Du Sautoy
        Can you please suggest number of rubs OK for 100% Cotton furnishing fabrics?
        Thanking you in advance for the measures and for your kind co-operation.With best regards.MKG.Selvarajan

  3. Hi sir,
    Some people mention the fabric passes certain standard of “double rubs”. Does it also equivalent to Martindale figure or different to that?
    Thanks for clarifying.

  4. Hi, indicates the martindale test also tolerance of ”cat’s violence”? I mean for example heavenly playing inthe chair and hanging with claws in it?

    1. No it won’t help with that. Cat’s claws are like knives. So either get them cut/filed REAL short or get a very thick man-made material…something like floor vinyl. Try to cut the floor vinyl (or other fabric) with a knife. If you can’t easily cut it then it might be ok with your cats. Or go dog.

  5. Hi there,
    What does “160,000 cycles” mean for a Martindale test? Would this be ok for a main family room sofa? Thanks!

  6. Could you please suggest me how many martindale rubs would a 100% polyster upholstery fabric survive ? and according to the international standards are we suppose to use worsted wool piece or a piece of cotton ?

  7. Thanks for finally talking about >What is the martindale
    rub test? « KOTHEA The Fabric Blog <Liked it!

  8. Do you know of any chart with recommended martindale cycles per usage?
    Ex. Recommended cycles for light residential use, or high residential use, or light contract use, medium contract use, or high contract use?
    Does that exist?
    I would like to learn more about this. Is there somewhere you could recommend?

  9. Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it

  10. Hi, Could you tell me where I can get a fabric tested please? I am designing a range of upholstery fabrics and would like to have my samples tested before starting bulk production. Many thanks.

    1. Martindale Abrasion Tester(TF210), to determine the abrasion and pilling resistance of all kinds of textile structures. Martindale Test Equipment complies with ASTM D4966, ASTM D4970, ISO 12947, etc. Martindale Fabric Abrasion Tester will meet your needs when you do Martindale rub test.

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