The Martindale Test: What does it mean?

The Martindale Test: What does it mean?

The Martindale Test: What does it mean?

by Lewis Simpson


If you have browsed our fabric options on our website you may have noticed the ‘Usage’ section in each description. But what exactly does this mean?

The usage section indicates how durable each individual fabric is according to the Martindale Test. This abrasion rub test is internationally recognised and designed to measure of the durability of a fabric according to the number of times discs can oscillate a layer of sandpaper or wool across the fabric before it starts to show distress. Each fabric is divided into categories by numerical score showing how durable it is. These categories range from decorative use, light domestic use, general domestic use, heavy domestic use and commercial use.

The results of the test show how much wear and tear your fabric will take before there is a noticeable change in its appearance. As mentioned, the higher the score, the more durable the fabric is. Below is a short list of each category that your chosen fabric could be in and how suitable it will be for different uses. If you are struggling to find what category your chosen fabrics are in, click on the small ‘i’ icon on the bottom right of the fabric picture to see more information, then locate the ‘usage’ section.


Decorative Use (10000 Rubs)

If your desired fabric is under this category, it will be suitable as a decorative fabric for items such as cushions or piping. Generally, these fabrics are not suitable for general domestic use in furniture upholstery and are rarely found on our website.


Light Domestic Use (10000 to 15000 Rubs)

If the fabric you, have you eyes on falls into this category it is suitable for light use on pieces such as occasional furniture. A fabric in this category will need to be dry clean only and will often be made of more delicate fabrics such as yarn or velvet.


General Domestic Use (15000 to 25000 Rubs)

When your desired fabric is in this category it is suitable for everyday use on main household furniture. Chaises, sofas, ottoman and chairs would last a very long time before any noticeable change in appearance may be seen. Many of the fabrics we offer are in this category so there is a wide array of choice. General use fabrics are, however, unsuitable for pieces put under intense stress daily, such as recliners.


Heavy Domestic Use (25000 to 30000 Rubs)

A fabric in this category is highly suitable for all kinds of every day use furniture, including recliners and other motion furniture.


Commercial Use (30000 + Rubs)

A commercial use fabric is the highest category available on the market according to the Martindale Test and means it can be used on heavy duty furniture and would be highly suited for any commercial environment, such as offices or restaurants.


We hope this article has helped you understand the individual categories and what the qualifying factors are. Hopefully this has also helped you narrow down your options for what fabric you would like your new piece to be in. Don’t worry however, if you are still struggling to narrow down your options, we can provide you with FREE fabric samples so you can see and feel them first hand!