Ignore labels that say 'Wash in cold'

Patric Richardson, who leads Laundry Camp at his store in the Mall of America, recommends that you always wash in warm or hot water. If you wash laundry in cold water, your soap won't work and your clothes won't get clean, he says.

Ignore labels that say 'Dry clean only'

Richardson says any item of clothing (except those made from leather and suede) can be machine-washed, even silk blouses and wool suits. Just put them in mesh laundry bags before washing.

Embrace vinegar and vodka

Instead of commercial stain removers, Richardson advises using vinegar and water to pre-treat stains. He also adds vinegar to a load of laundry to kill germs and eliminate odors. Vodka works wonders on odors. Fill a spray bottle with vodka and spritz the area, including upholstered furniture and carpets. If you spill wine on yourself, dab the area with a bit of vodka to draw the stain out.