Dirty Laundry: How do you come clean?

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I'm back from Chicago, and I've got a big suitcase full of dirty clothes and a day off work.  Awwww, yeah, it's Laundry Day!  I made a decision to just embrace and love doing the wash since I spend so much time doing it.  The feel of the scoop as I measure the detergent; the sound of the water filling up the washing machine; the thumping of the dryer; folding warm clothes: it's strangely soothing and meditative. 

One of the best and most helpful things I've found online is this printable chart that translates all those cryptic washing instruction labels you find on the tag in your fancy pants.  Suddenly I was able to decipher what the little crowns, boxes with circles, and teakettles actually were trying to tell me.  I printed out a copy and hung it up on the inside of my laundry cabinet.  Awesome.

Another great help was Susan's post from last year, Laundry 101: Handwashing, dry cleaning, and what goes in the washer.  Be sure to read the comments for reader tips, too.  

I've got a lot of handwash-only clothes, but I don't have much time to take care of them like their tags ask me to (hand in the wavy water; a circle inside a box with a big X through it).  My alternative, now that the mesh lingerie laundry bag I used to have was turned into pants for a big stuffed bear by my daughters, is to put the item in a pillowcase and tie a knot in the top.  I throw the pillowcase in with the rest of the wash, and so far I've had no tragic outcomes.  If something is too wet when I take it out of the pillowcase, I lay it flat on a towel, roll the towel up, and then walk on it to get the water out without twisting or wringing, both of which are not in keeping with the care instructions on the tag.  

The top of the washer and dryer are great places to lay things flat to dry, as is the kitchen table if you put a couple of beach towels down first.  You can also install your own hotel-style retractable clothesline if you are short on space to hang up your drip drys.  

What are your laundry tips?  Would love to hear from you on everything from stain removal (how on earth do you get mudstains out?) to green solutions, to time savers.   

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