Baking soda is harmless to the environment and has mild alkali qualities that help it dissolve grease and dirt. Baking soda can be especially helpful in areas served by hard water: Adding baking soda to a washing machine’s rinse cycle will result in clothes that are better rinsed, softer and more stain resistant. Add 1/2 cup baking soda to top-loading machines or 1/4 cup for front-loading machines along with the usual amount of detergent to give the detergent a boost. Baking soda can help increase bleach’s whitening power so much that you’ll be able to use less bleach.
Like baking soda, vinegar can serve a lot of different purposes in the laundry room. When using vinegar in the laundry, use distilled white vinegar, which generally can be found in gallon jugs near the baking or laundry aisles in the grocery store. A mixture of half water and half vinegar makes a good stain pretreatment. Spray a little onto the stain a few minutes before washing and then wash as usual.
Vinegarcan also add a kick to regular laundry detergents. To soften a standard load of wash, add 1/2 cup vinegar during your machine’s last rinse cycle. In addition to softening, vinegar added at this time will help reduce lint buildup, and it tends to help pet owners with hair buildup on their fabrics.
Salt can also be a good stain remover, especially when the stain is still fresh. Salt can also help maintain and restore bright colors, reduce yellowing, and eliminate mildew in fabrics.
But among the Fantastic Four, lemon juice really takes the leading role for laundry tasks. Add 1/2 cup of it to a regular load of laundry during the wash cycle, and it will make the whole load smell fresher. Add it to a load of whites, and the whites become whiter. Combine lemon juice with cream of tartar and you have a very powerful stain remover.