When making the initial switch from a detergent to a soap laundry cleaner, wash items once with washing soda only. This will eliminate detergent residues that might otherwise react with soap to cause a yellowing of fabrics.
Add 1/3 cup washing soda (sodium carbonate) to water as machine is filling. Add clothes. Add 1 ½ cups of soap. If the water is hard, add another ¼ cup soda or ¼ cup vinegar during the first rinse.
Add 1/3 cup washing soda to water before placing clothes in machine and substitute soap flakes or powder for detergent. Add ½ cup borax for additional cleaning power.
Soak heavily soiled items in warm water with ½ cup washing soda for 30 minutes. Rub soiled areas with liquid soap.
Add 1 cup vinegar or ¼ cup baking soda during final rinse. To reduce static cling in tumble-dried synthetics, dampen hands when folding or line dry instead.
Dissolve 2 Tbsp. cornstarch in 1 pint cold water in a spray bottle. Shake before each use. For delicate fabrics, dissolve 1 package unflavored gelatin to 2 cups of hot water. Dip a corner of the fabric into the solution to test; if fabric becomes sticky when dry, add more water.
Buy items you can wash or clean on your own. Most dry cleaning solvents, such as perchloroethylene are toxic. If you must dry clean, air clothing out thoroughly before bringing indoors. Many garments whose labels specify “dry clean only” can be safely hand-washed using mild soap.