What is the secret to doing laundry?

How can I keep my shirts from shrinking, changing color? Sometimes they are dirtier after the wash than when they went in.

There are two main problems that come up when doing laundry: 1) the clothes come out smaller than when you put them in; and 2) the clothes come out a different color than they were when you started.  To solve problem number 1:
 
Make sure that you read the labels (tags) on each clothing item before you put it in the washing machine.  Some clothes say "hand wash only" or "dry clean only" (like a silk shirt for example) so those clothes do not go in the washing machine unless you want to look like Erkle from Family Matters. 
Once you got all the right clothes in the machine, follow the instructions on putting the right amount of detergent in (personally I think liquid works better than powder) and you're almost there.  The final (and most important) thing is to wash your colored clothes with cold water instead of hot water.  Note that we just covered problem number 2 - separate your clothes by color (whites, reds, blue and black, etc.).  Hot water tends to shrink the clothes so don't take the chance. 
 
When the clothes come out of the washing machine, put them in the dryer but if you have some time (and a dryer that allows it), don't use the highest heat setting.  The higher the heat, the more chance you have of shrinking the clothes. 
If you do follow these instructions you have a fighting chance to keep your wardrobe tight for longer than the first washing experience.  Any comments or other suggestions, please add them to the topic.

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