When I go to the laundromat, I watch people do the laundry. Naturally, people use laundry detergent. They also use fabric softener, spot removers, color brighteners, and wrinkle remover sprays.
Fabric softeners come in either liquid form (for use in the washing machine) or dryer sheets (for use in the dryer.) How do they work? According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabric_conditioner),
Fabric softeners work by coating the surface of the cloth fibers with a thin layer of chemicals; these chemicals have lubricant properties and are electrically conductive, thus making the fibers feel smoother and preventing buildup of static electricity. Other functions are improvements of iron glide during ironing, increased resistance to stains, and reduction of wrinkling.
Pre-wash stain removers are important. Getting clothes dirty is easy. Keeping them clean is the challenge. According to WikiAnswers, George Washington created the first the pre-wash stain remover.
Color brighteners are also popular. These products use a variety of chemicals. According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_brightener),
Basic class types of brighteners include: Triazine-stilbenes (di-, tetra- or hexa-sulfonated), Coumarins, Imidazolines, Diazoles, Triazoles, Benzoxazolines, and Biphenyl-stilbenes.
Some people also use wrinkle removers. I hate ironing so this sounds like a good idea to me.
There are many laundry detergents, fabric softeners, pre-wash stain removers, color brighteners, and wrinkle remover sprays. Use the brands that you feel comfortable with. I prefer environmentally friendly products. Please visit my site if you also prefer environmentally-friendly laundry and other products. Send me an email for more information and I just might meet you at a laundromat and do your laundry for you.