Instead of using harsh, pungent bleach to whiten your whites, try one of these safer, gentler alternatives. Use one-half cup lemon juice for a medium to large load of whites…or one cup of white vinegar…or six ounces of hydrogen peroxide (make sure the label says 3% hydrogen peroxide) in your wash. (Make sure to test the hydrogen peroxide on an inconspicuous part of clothing, since it may yellow different types of cloth.) Whatever alternative natural ingredient you use, add it to your bleach (or fabric softener) dispenser in your washing machine just before you wash your whites. If your washing machine does not have a dispenser, add it to the rinse cycle.

Money-saving help for dirty clothes…

• Forgot to Dry Your Laundry?

• Tricks to Save on Dry Cleaning

• How to Stretch Your Laundry Detergent