Design & Refurbishment Specialists

Martindale Rub Testing Explained

What is Rub testing?

Rub testing is also known as the Martindale Test. This measures fabrics ability to withstand friction. It is important to consider the durability of fabrics that will experience frequent use from sitting to sliding everyday scruffs.

Who should consider the Martindale Test? 

Martindale test scores are not tracked by governing bodies. There are no legal requirements for contract environments to have fabrics over a certain test score. You should however, consider the Martindale test scores when selecting materials for your own benefit. When selecting furniture for your business, Martindale scores are a great indication of the quality and longevity of fabrics. This can help you select upholstery fabrics that look great while being built to last.

How does the Martindale Test Work?

The test is conducted by rubbing oscillating sandpaper or wool across the fabric. While counting the rubs, the fabric is observed for signs of distress such a thinning, pulling or fluffing due to the friction. The fabric is placed in a score bracket depending on the number of rubs before distress is shown.

Due to the standardisation of this test, there are internationally recognised figures, and recommended uses for each level of scoring.


a bright blue chair with three round cushions

A score of 10,000 or less: Decorative Use

A fabric with this score is suitable for decorative use. This includes scatter cushions, decorative bed throws and accent items. These fabrics are not suitable for general domestic or furniture upholstery.


a delicate side chair with detailed upholstery and scatter cushion

10,000 to 15,000: Light Domestic Use

A fabric within this bracket is suitable for household use. Occasional furniture such as side chairs may use these fabrics. These fabrics are often dry clean only, made from more delicate yearns.


a grey sofa with colourful cushions

15,000 to 25,000: General Domestic Use

A fabric with this score is suitable for general domestic use such as sofas. Recliners and other moving items are not suitable due to the increased stress on fabric.


a rugged brown leather sofa

25,000 to 30,000: Heavy Domestic Use

These fabrics are suitable for high levels of everyday use. These fabrics are suitable for recliners and other motion furniture, as well as light commercial use such as Air BnBs or occasional guest houses.


a booth seat in orange colour

30,000 or more – Commercial Use

These fabrics are suitable for any contract environment. These fabrics are built to withstand heavy everyday use such as booth seating where users tend to slide across the fabric.


Is the Martindale test the same as the Wyzenbeek test?

The Wyzenbeek test is similar in many ways to the Martindale test. The fabric is rubbed by an abrasive wire or cotton duck fabric until wear shows. A material will withstand the Martindale test for longer than the Wyzenbeek due to the more abrasive nature of the Wyzenbeek test. Therefore, the numerical scores for each test are different.

The Wyzenbeek test is most popular in North America. It can be included in British and European fabrics to provide further information. It is often referred to as the double rub test.

Additional Resources

View a Martindale Test in Action

Go behind the scenes and see the rig configuration and test method in action.


Learn About James Heal Martindale

Read about the founder of the test, inspiration and development of the test methods.


View the Difference in Martindale & Wyzenbeek

This video shows the test rigs, methods and results for each test.


Our Fabrics

Browse some of our most popular fabrics, all manufactured to contract standards.


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