This question comes up often when showing upholstery fabric samples to our clients: “30,000 double rubs – what does that mean?” It’s an abrasion rating given to a fabric after it undergoes the Wyzenbeek durability test. The Wyzenbeek method is a standard test used in the United States.
The Kravet Fabric blog describes the process: Abrasion resistance is “the ability of a fabric to resist surface wear caused by flat rubbing contact with another fabric.” The Wyzenbeek machine tests the fabric in two perpendicular directions. A sample of the fabric is cut into two pieces and each is pulled tight in a frame where it is held stationary. A piece of cotton duck fabric is used as the abradant and is rubbed back and forth over the fabric, known as the “double rub.” The samples are checked after every 5,000 double rubs and if the fabric is still holding up, it goes through another cycle of 5,000 and so on. When wearing has become evident or two yarn breaks have occurred, the end point has been reached, and the fabric is rated by the last check point it passed. So in simple terms, this means if there isn’t any noticeable wear at the first check of 5,000 rubs but it shows noticeable wear at the next cycle it must be rated as only 5,000 double rubs. Most of the time 15,000 double rubs is considered suitable for heavy use in a residential application. End use examples of heavy-duty installations where upholstery fabrics rated at 30,000 double rubs should be appropriate are single shift corporate, hotel rooms/suites, conference rooms and dining area usage. There are extreme wear situations that may require higher levels of abrasion resistance. End use examples that may require higher than 30,000 double rubs include: 24 hours transportation terminals, 24 hour telemarketing, 24 hour health care emergency rooms, 24 hour casino gambling areas, and such public gathering places as theaters, stadiums, lecture halls and fast food restaurants.