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What is the Martindale test and why is it important?

What is the Martindale test and why is it important?

While picking out our soft furniture we see time and again the term Martindale. Read on if you want to know what it is and why is it important if you want your soft furniture to last long.

What is the Martindale test?


The Martindale test is used to measure the durability of a fabric. Martindale is a unit to measure fabric’s abrasion resistance. Also known as the rub test, Martindale tests are undertaken on upholstery fabrics to check their suitability for various uses – i.e. decorative chairs, heavy-traffic areas or commercial furniture.

How does the test work?


The fabric being tested is pulled taut and loaded onto the lower plates of the Martindale machine. Small discs of worsted wool or wire mesh are continually rubbed against the fabric in circular motion. The fabric is continually inspected for wear and tear, and the test ends when two yarns break or when there is a noticeable change in appearance. Test results are given as a score of 1000’s of rubs or cycles, and the higher the number is, the more suitable the fabric is for heavier useage. Fabrics are categorised depending on their test results.

Check out the video to see how the Martindale machine works:

How to read Martindale test results?

  • Decorative use when Martindale value is 6000-10000. Recommended for decorative accessories. Not suitable for general use;
  • Light domestic use when Martindale value is 10000-15000. The fabric has been made of delicate yarns or expects to be dry cleaned and is thus suitable for only furniture subject to light use
  • General domestic use when Martindale value is 15000-25000. Recommended for everyday use yet not suitable for motion furniture (sofa beds, recliners). In this case one should consider using an upholstery fabric from higher Martindale category.
  • Heavy duty use when Martindale value is 25000-30000. Suitable for use on the main furniture in the house that will be subjected to high levels of everyday use. Also suitable for motion furniture.
  • Commercial use when Martindale is 30000+.

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