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Making your sofa last - The Martindale Abrasion Test Explained!

Making your sofa last - The Martindale Abrasion Test Explained!

As one of the most important pieces of furniture in the home, buying a sofa is an investment and you want to be sure that it will last for years to come. But how can you be certain that the sofa you’re buying is going to stand the test of time? That’s where the Martindale Abrasion Test comes in. In this useful blog post, we talk you through what exactly the Martindale Abrasion Test is and why it’s an important consideration when buying your new sofa.

Slouchy – 3 Seater Sofa - Pastel Green

What is the Martindale Abrasion Test?

Otherwise known as the Martindale Rub Test, The Martindale Absrasion Test is a test which is carried out in order to determine a fabric’s durability, by testing its abrasion resistance and simulating natural wear. The test is usually performed on upholstery fabrics in order to establish whether they are suitable for uses in domestic or commercial spaces, as well as heavy traffic areas. 

How is the Martindale Abrasion Test carried out?

The Martindale Abrasion Test is performed by rubbing a sample of the fabric against an abrasive surface (usually wool or wire mesh), applying a specified force. This is often carried out using a Martindale Machine, with the equipment working in intervals of 5000 cycles.

 The fabric is regularly inspected until two yarns break, or there is a clear change in it’s appearance. At this point, the number of abrasion cycles that the fabric successfully passed before reaching this level of wearing is noted as its result. The result is measured in ‘Martindales’ and the higher the value, the more resistant the fabric is to abrasion.

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What do the results mean?

There are recommended guidelines for varying levels of domestic use, as well as commercial use in order to ensure that a fabric is fit for its intended purpose:

If a fabric is intended purely for decorative use, the Martindale Value should be between 6000-10,000. To be suitable for light domestic use, the value should be between 10,000-15,000, as these fabrics are often made using delicate yarns such as silk.

 For general domestic use within the home, the Martindale value should be between 15,000-25,000, although this is not suitable for reclining furniture and sofa beds, as these tend to put more pressure on the fabric.

Fabrics suitable for heavy duty use are classified as having a Martindale value of between 25,000-30,000. These fabrics are suitable for heavy use on a daily basis within the home, as well as light commercial use and also includes reclining furniture and sofa beds.

Lastly, in order to be suitable for the demands of commercial use, a Martindale of 30,000+ is recommended. At Out & Out, we are proud to say that all of our sofa fabrics have a score of 50,000! This makes them a highly durable choice which is suitable for both domestic and commercial uses alike.

Guarda – 3 Seater Sofa - Grey Velvet

Is there anything else to keep in mind when buying a sofa?

Having an understanding of the Martindale Abrasion Test allows you to know whether your furniture is fit for its intended purpose, as well as exactly how hardwearing the fabric is likely to be, so you can have confidence in your decision before you buy.

Whilst fabric durability is a very important consideration, to make sure that your sofa remains in as good condition as possible, it is important to follow the recommended Cleaning & Care instructions. At Out & Out, we have a dedicated section on every product page talking you through common FAQ’s regarding general furniture maintenance and what to do if you spill something on your furniture. Keep in mind that the type of fabric, intended purpose and maintenance will all have an impact on the performance and longevity of your fabric, particularly if you have children and pets.

To browse our sofa collection which includes over 20 different styles, each available in over 10 different fabric options (all with a Martindale score of over 50,000!) click here.

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