Goodness I do a lot of laundry. That’s how it goes with small children, especially with one still wetting the bed despite diapers.
We’ve been washing our clothes in cold water for years. That’s almost always sufficient, and I’ve never even tried a “cold water detergent.” The regular stuff works just fine.
You can get some great laundry tips on the U.S. Department of Energy’s site. I’m not surprised to see that they neglect to mention line drying clothes at this point, but the rest of the advice is good.
Almost everything I wash comes out fine, as I said, with a cold water wash. Those things that don’t I try a couple things.
Dawn Dish Soap
Great for removing grease related stains. It may take an hour or two, but for tough stains I’ve left it on overnight. Clothes that otherwise appeared ruined come clean.
Baking Soda and White Vinegar
Rub baking soda into the stain. Spray or pour white vinegar. It will bubble up and work on the stain. This works well on carpet stains too.
Not every stain is going to come out. I think that’s one of the big lessons of motherhood. Kids are really good at ruining the appearance of their clothes, sometimes in a single wearing. To me that just means you maintain a playtime wardrobe. Children really don’t care, as a rule, if their clothes are stained or torn if they’re comfortable and allowed to have fun.