Textile Durability 101

Learn why ‘double rubs’ don’t matter as much as you think.

Did you know that in the history of contract textiles, there has never been a field failure on double rubs ever recorded, reported or even really seen? The phrase was first coined as a reference to the way users brush against upholstered parts of the chair—whether it’s the back or the waterfall edge of the seat—during use. (I.e. Sitting down is one rub, standing back up is two.)  

Because double rubs is still part of the pre-testing process for most textiles, it’s still commonly referred to in conversations around durability and resistance to everyday wear and tear. (For more on how popular duabilitytests like the Wyzenbeek and Martindale are conducted, check out our Textile-pedia)

But it’s equally if not more important to address actual reported fabric failures from the field. According to real-life customer reports and feedback, here are the two most preventable measures you can take to ensure maximum longevity for your textile:   

USING THE RIGHT CLEANER

Not all cleaners—or stains—are created equal. Using harsh cleaners that aren’t approved for your textile could not only damage the fabric but also fail to remove the stain (and in some cases, cause additional staining!). The wrong cleaner could also break down the layers in coated textiles like vinyl and polyurethane, rendering such textiles unable to perform the way they should.

Finding the right cleaner that’s approved for use on your exact textile and the exact stain you’re looking at—whether it’s food, bodily fluids or dark denim dye transfer—is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Luckily, all this matchmaking work has been done for you. (Thank you, textile cleaning guides.) All you need to do is follow what’s in the guide.

Another pro tip: read the cleaner instructions carefully. Details like making sure you completely wipe off the cleaning product from the textile’s surface could make all the difference.

The short answer? Treat your textiles with care. Download all of our cleaning guides here

CHECKING YOUR SEAM SLIPPAGE SCORE

Bet you didn’t know that all textiles are tested for how much weight they can take before splitting at the seams. (It’s called a Seam Slippage rating.) The best way to address this common field failure? Account for it in advance. Environments that need to accommodate a wider range of users should use textiles with a higher Seam Slippage rating to prevent them from splitting open while in use.    

According to standards issued by the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) standards, fabrics need to pass with a minimum of 25 lbs. to be suitable for contract use. So when choosing between textiles, generally any rating higher than that is a pretty safe bet—it means the risk of your textile splitting at the seams will be significantly reduced.

To find your textile’s Seam Slippage rating, check its Spec Guide here for your chosen pattern. The rating number indicates the weight in pounds that can actually split your textile’s seams. So the higher the number, the stronger your textile.

All cleaner information and Seam Slippage scores can be found on our cleaning + spec guides.

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