You thought you had enough laundry soap to get you to the end of the week, but you made a gross miscalculation. Here’s what to do (and not do)…

Detergent extender: If you must do a wash, but you don’t have enough detergent, add one-quarter cup of baking soda to whatever few dribbles of laundry soap you have left. You may be so pleased with the results, you’ll start doing every load of wash this way!

Detergent substitute: In an emergency, when you must do a wash and you don’t have any laundry detergent (or baking soda), use shampoo…that is, if you have shampoo. About one-third cup will do a full load.

Our favorite bleach swap: Fill a basin or sink with warm water, and add one-quarter cup of powdered, automatic dishwasher detergent. Add your socks, underwear or whatever else needs whitening (one of our readers did this with her white duvet cover with stunning results) and let the items soak for one hour. Wring out the sopping clothes—enough to get them to the washing machine without making a mess—and then launder as usual. We really can’t call this a bleach “substitute,” since many dishwashing detergents contain bleaching agents…but it’s usually less harsh and better smelling than regular bottled bleach. And it whitens magnificently

What not to use in your washing machine: In case you were wondering, dishwashing liquid is not a good substitute for laundry detergent. Washing machines and dishwashing soaps both vary in strength…just a small squirt could create enough suds to float the Titanic! (OK, that was an exaggeration.)