Doing away with the need for adding salt-based water softeners to hard water: that’s what Afira has accomplished with its product ColdSoft. “We can remove the calcium and magnesium ions that make the water hard from the cold water flow. These are captured in our ColdSoft hydrogel. As soon as you have some warm wastewater, say at the end of the dishwashing cycle, these ions are released and discharged with the wastewater,” explains Dirk van Asseldonk, who also co-founded Dolphys Medical.

The most common way to soften water is with salt-based water softeners that replace the hardening ions with sodium, but that harms the environment. “Households in some parts of America,” says van Asseldonk, “go through 10 kilograms of water softener salt a week: that’s a lot. A growing number of
states there want to ban the use of such salts, because it’s so bad for the environment. Our system does away with the need for adding sodium.”

ColdSoft can also help with the laundry. “People will add a product like Calgon to the wash, but that produces a residue and gives you dingy laundry. If they use ColdSoft, they won’t need the Calgon anymore and their laundry won’t be dingy,” he points out. The benefits for the consumer are obvious: no more dingy laundry and no laundry residue, and you don’t need to add Calgon or water softener salts – sounds almost like an advertisement.