Adding baking soda along with the detergent to a load of laundry helps to soften the water allowing the detergent to do a better job. If you live in an area with hard water and your clothes are looking a little dingy or not as soft as they should be, adding 2 tablespoons to 1/2 a cup of baking soda to your wash could make a difference. Start out with a little baking soda and work your way to more each time until you find the right amount for you.
You might be using too much laundry detergent. Usually you can cut back on your detergent and still have clean clothes. If you are using too much detergent your laundry may not be rinsing clean and that could be why it looks gray or dingy; or not be as soft as it use to be. I use about half of the recommended detergent now and my laundry turns out very nice. I also like to put ½ cup of white vinegar instead of fabric softener in the rinse. The vinegar helps to remove lasting detergents in the rinse cycle making for softer clothing. However, since cutting back on the detergent and adding baking soda, I find I don’t need the vinegar in the rinse cycle now. I never use a fabric softener.
You can buy baking soda in bulk and save money on detergents, and have nicer looking clothes that feel good too. Not having detergent residue or fabric softeners in your clothing is also a healthier choice.
The really great thing about cutting back on using so much detergent is that since our clothing no longer has residue left behind, I only need to use the baking soda in loads that are really soiled. The regular loads will be clean with out the addition of baking soda. So, now I’m saving money on baking soda too.