Sometimes washing machines get smelly -- and those smell transfer onto our clothes. To keep your machine smelling fresh, always keep the lid open after removing your clothes to let it dry out. If your washer smells funky, run an empty load with hot water, 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of white vinegar.
For babies and kids with sensitive skin or allergies, take advantage of the extra rinse option, if your washing machine has one. By thoroughly rinsing kids' clothes, you can avoid any rashes or other skin reactions. And don't use too much laundry soap. Your washer doesn't need to be overflowing with suds to get your clothes clean. Read the box or bottle and use the right amount of detergent as indicated.
When transferring jeans, pants and other items that wrinkle easily from the washer to the dryer, give them a good shake. By shaking them out before putting them into the dryer, you'll save time by not having to iron out all those wrinkles later.
If you don't want to deal with the chemicals in bleach, lemon juice can actually get most fabrics white and bright again. For dingy whites, mix 1/2 cup of lemon juice to 1 gallon of hot water in your sink. Soak the garments in the liquid for at least two hours, then pour the mixture into your washer and launder as usual. Your clothes will be clean, bright and smell lemon fresh.
Don't overcrowd your dryer -- it will just cause wrinkles and your clothes will take longer to dry. Make it a habit to hang half your clothes to dry, put the other half in the dryer. This practice will save both money and energy.