Try Homemade Laundry Products
Front-loading clothes washers are designed to use High Efficiency detergent, which means you can use a lot less per load. (Regular detergent will create too much suds, and prevent proper rinsing.) But beyond detergent, you don't need many of the ancillary products sold for laundry. Here are some low-cost natural alternatives to try:
Stain Removers: Before washing, try soaking the stain with water mixed with Borax, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar, writes Dr. Alan Greene. You'd be wise to be as careful as you would using bleach to avoid discoloration, but you won't have to worry about the unhealthy fumes from chlorine.
Bleach Alternative: Add a half cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle of a medium load of whites, according to Annie B. Bond's Home Enlightenment. Or, try a half cup of Borax.
Fabric Softeners: Add a quarter cup of baking soda to the wash cycle, Greene recommends.
Color Brightener: Toss a capful of vinegar in with the detergent, writes Michael DeJong, author of Clean: The Humble Art of Zen-Cleansing.
Static Cling: To fight static cling, a quarter cup of white vinegar in the washer should help, Greene says.
Fabric Refresher: In between washes, freshen your clothing with a spritz of dilute vodka. The smell will dissipate, green living expert Brian Clark Howard says, and your clothes will be ready for another day out.