The powerful, spacious washing machine may seem too intense for your delicates and unmentionables, but you can safely wash them without having to slave over a sink and washboard. Delicate washables can be safely and effectively laundered in the washer with warm water to which you've added a small amount of mild dishwashing liquid (not the fancy antibacterial variety).
Also, in some cases where an item says "dry clean only," you may actually be able to clean the item at home. Some fabrics can be cleaned using a solution of 4 tablespoons baking soda in cold water. First, test a small, hidden area of the fabric to make sure it can handle the water and to see how colorfast it is. If it proves up to the challenge, go nuts. This way, you don't have to go anywhere but your laundry room to pick up your dry cleaning, and you'll save money.