Insights to Colorfastness to Rubbing/Crocking Test

In the textile industry’s testing field, colorfastness to rubbing/crocking test is a fundamental colorfastness test. This article will guide you through the rubbing colorfastness test and the operational differences among several standard tests in practice.

What is colorfastness to rubbing test?

Colorfastness to rubbing/crocking test is a measure of a fabric’s resistance to color transfer when rubbed. In the textile industry, a rub test determines the colorfastness of the color or dye in a fabric.  Fastness to rubbing also determines how well a fabric will resist stains. Test methods involve dry rubbing and wet rubbing.

Main Colorfastness to Rubbing Standards and some insights:

European: ISO105X12:2001

American: AATCC 8 2007

American:  AATCC 116 2010

Japanese:  JIS L 0849-2013


In test operations, the testing standards of different countries have the same principle but differ in details. These four tests show variations in sample size, number of rubs, moisture content of the rubbing cloth, and grading with a grey scale. Results can vary according to different standards. For example:

The AATCC 116 2010 standard (rotary rubbing method) is suitable for yarns or fabrics made from various fibers, especially printed fabrics, allowing for testing of smaller areas than required by AATCC 8 2007. It helps quickly identify causes of poor color fastness to rubbing in multicolored fabrics. 

AATCC 8 involves sampling at a 45° angle to the warp and weft, resulting in slight differences in color fastness results compared to other standards due to reduced friction force at this angle, typically showing 0.5-1 grade better results.

The moisture content for the wet rubbing white cloth in AATCC 8 is 65±5%, lower than other standards, potentially leading to slightly higher wet rubbing fastness levels. Differences in water content affect the results, with higher moisture increasing dye hydrolysis and color loss. 

The Japanese standard JIS L 0849, except for the absence of a square rubbing head, closely aligns with the European standard ISO 105X12 in other parameters. The choice of the rubbing head shape and the number of rubs, with the Japanese standard having the most rubs and being the most time-consuming, indicate the importance of selecting the correct test method for accurate color fastness assessment.

Factors affecting color fastness to rubbing

Factors affecting color fastness include material composition, color, and the dyeing process. The fabric surface morphology, fabric structure, chemical structure of reactive dyes, degree of dyeing with reactive dyes, and softeners are all key factors influencing the friction color fastness of fabrics. These elements play a crucial role in determining how well a fabric can retain its color when subjected to rubbing/crocking.

Fabrics with poor rubbing color fastness include deep-dyed indigo denim; fabrics with rough surfaces, like brushed fabric, velvet, and corduroy; some red pure cotton fabrics; and dyed pure cotton fabrics.

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