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Information That Will Stand the Test of Time: Double Rubs

When I was a kid I often shopped with my mom at a local store for fabric to make clothes. During those trips, I learned a lot about fabrics and how to use them. I learned how to match the properties of a fabric to the design of a garment. I learned how to use the proportions of a print to enhance a design, how to work with color and personalize outfits with buttons and trims. At Bolt Fabrics, I want our customers to have that same kind of experience, so I am launching this blog as part of my goal to provide the kind of customer service that makes Bolt Fabrics worth the trip.

So for my first blog I want to share some information that will stand the test of time.

DOUBLE RUBS. Never heard of a "double rub"? A double rub is a measurement of abrasion. The two most common test methods are the Wyzenbeek method and the Martindale method. Both methods assess the point at which repetitive abrasion causes noticeable wear on fabric. The Wyzenbeek method simulates wear on fabric by rubbing a piece of cotton duck in a back and forth motion over the fabric being tested. The motion simulates a person sitting down and getting up over and over again in the exact same spot until the fabric begins to show wear. The Martindale method simulates wear by making figure-8 cycles over the fabric until the surface appearance changes.

In the textile industry, fabric use is generally characterized as delicate, light duty, all purpose or medium use, heavy duty and commercial use. Imagine that a person has a favorite chair, and they sit down and get up from that chair 10 times every single day for a year rubbing across the fabric in exactly the same spot. At the end of the year there will have been 3650 double rubs on that chair. With fabric rated for 15,000 double rubs, it would take over 4 years of such consistent use to show abrasive wear. Even a well-loved easy chair is not likely to get that much regular use.

For residential applications fabric use and double rub counts pair up as follows:

  • Heavy Duty: 15,000+ double rubs. Suitable for family rooms.
  • Medium Duty (All Purpose): 9,000-15,000 double rubs. Versatile. Good for living or bedroom furniture.
  • Light Duty: 3,000-9,000 double rubs. Usually better suited for formal or occasional use furniture.
  • Delicate: Less than 3,000 double rubs. Recommended for more decorative use as in curtains, drapes or pillows.

Commercial Use: 30,000+ double rubs. Recommended for hotel lobbies or single shift office buildings.

In addition to double rubs, there are other factors that affect durability, like the weave, the fabric content and fabric finishes. We can talk about those another day. For now, just relax and feel empowered with your new knowledge about double rubs.