Nanofiber-coated fabrics have potential uses in filters and protective clothing. One major challenge is to ensure good adhesion of nanofibers to the fabrics achieving satisfactory durability against abrasion for practical use. This work is aimed to study adhesion mechanisms and their improvement between nanofibers and textile substrates; to achieve this goal cotton fabrics were treated with an alkali solution, while nylon fabrics were treated with ethanol. Adhesion of polyamide-6 electrospun nanofiber layer to fabrics was evaluated by means of a peeling test. Treated fabrics showed improved bonding towards nanofibers: adhesion energy was ∼0.58 J m−2 for both untreated fabrics, and after treatments increased to 0.93 and 0.86 J m−2 for cotton and nylon ones, respectively. Optical observations revealed that nanofibers deposited on fabrics are mainly linked to external protruding fibers (i.e., fabric hairiness). Therefore, surface hairiness seems to be the critical factor limiting adhesion. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 39766.