The pre-treating, soaking, scrubbing and hoping that those stains are gone before you put your favorite shirt into the dryer could be a thing of the past if the clothing repelled the stain in the first place. That's what a new laundry product hopes to achieve.
Sofft, created by a California-based company, is marketed to be both a fabric softener and stain repellent in one. Consider it "prevention-based laundry," Vinod Nair, Sofft CEO and founder, called it, according to Popular Science.
The inventor of the product, Greg Van Buskirk, a retired chemist, said he started working on it while with Clorox, but the stain repellent never went through due to lack of funding. That's why he later bought the rights and helped launch the already successful Kickstarter campaign to crowd-fund Sofft. The creators were hoping to raise $25,000 and have already surpassed $37,000 with five days left in the funding campaign.
Sofft, which is a play on the words "soft" and "off," says it prevents both water- and oil-based stains from sticking to clothing fibers. Think that such a repellent will make your shirts sweat magnets? Van Buskirk assured people in his Kickstarter video that Sofft keeps the clothing breathable.
Here's how it works, according to the Kickstarter project:
1) Positively charged molecules seek out the fibers of the clothes rather than detergent molecules, as do traditional fabric softeners.
2) These positively charged molecules form a “soft ionic bond” with the negatively charged fiber molecules creating a “co-operative attraction”.
3) Thermal energy in the dryer activates the molecules and causes them to “face outward” and soften fabrics, repel stains, reduce wrinkles and leave a clean, fresh scent.
Watch this video about Sofft:
According to Digital Trends, which featured the product last month, the chemistry behind it is not new, being used in some hospital fabrics already. The catch with it going more mainstream in this capacity though is that its repelling ability washes away over time. Because Sofft is a more frequently used product than something that is put on the clothing during its manufacturing, the repelling capabilities would presumably be renewed with each application.
Right now, early backers of the product have to pay $35 for a 32-ounce bottle with estimated delivery by February 2015, but Nair told Popular Science that they hope to eventually sell it for much less.
"Once we get to scale, our long term vision is to have this selling for $10 on the shelf at Walmart," he said.