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  • Writer's pictureGrace Cousins

Fabric 101: What are the Wyzenbeek and Martingale Abrasion Tests?

Ever hear the term "double-rub" when talking to a designer or ordering from a company? Maybe you have seen notes on the back of the sample we dropped off at your house. Let's talk about what this means and how it can give you major insight on what fabrics to select for your home!


The term "double-rubs" is referring to how fabrics durability and abrasion is tested. The Wyzenbeek Abrasion Test or Martingale Test are used to test the durability of fabrics. There is a machine designed to move back and forth mimicking day to day wear and tear on a fabric. I thought this was a joke when I first heard this in design school. This back and forth motion is known as "double-rubs". This is then counted to help us know how durable the material is for its intended use.

Wyzenbeek vs. Martingale

The Wyzenbeek Abrasion Test is the abrasion test used for synthetic materials while Martingale tests looks at the abrasion of natural materials.

How Do You Find This information?

This information can be found on the back of a fabric swatch along with a list of other details about the product. Look for the terms double-rubs or abrasion to find the Wyzenbeek count. You can also find this information on the suppliers website under specs or details. If you are having trouble finding it, call the manufacturer and a representative can help you get that information and tell you more such as the cleaning details, how much is in stock etc. This is a great thing to do regardless because you can ask questions and get any other details you may want to know before using their product. This may seem like a pain to check all of this information but the more you know before purchasing the the material the better because you can save, time, money and headaches in the future. Also, this is a great thing about designers because they can do this all for you!

What Do These Numbers Mean?

So what do these numbers tell us? Well, the higher the number the more durable your fabric is! Here is a general guide to what number works for what types of projects...

6,000-15,000 double rubs

While this seems like a high number this is the lowest end of our count which means these fabrics are the least durable. This count is called "light domestic" or better known as "decorative abrasions". Materials from 6,000-10,000 should not be used for upholstery but for draperies and window treatments only. 10,000-15,000 can be used for decorative items such as pillows.

15,000-25,000 double rubs

This is called general domestic and is best used for lower traffic upholstered areas. This may be a good option for decorative chairs, bedding, in bedrooms or furniture in a guest area that is not used often.


This can be considered as heavy-duty and is great for high traffic areas and upholstery. This is a great option for upholstery on a window bench in your kitchen, counter stools, your sofa or your favorite reading chair.

Once you go to 30,000 and over this is considered commercial grade which means they are great for areas that may see daily traffic such as furniture in waiting areas or hotels. It is important to remember that if you are looking for a commercial grade fabric to check to see that it is indeed commercial grade so that it fits the standards and codes of commercial products. This is something your designer and the manufactures can help you find as well.

I hope this helps and stay tuned for more fact, tidbits and design secrets to come!

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