I've recently started using baking soda and vinegar in my diaper washing routine to try and combat some of the ammonia smell that's been lurking in my dipes. Well, DS had developed some red irritation on his foreskin so I stripped the diapers (tons of scalding hot water washes) and it cleared up and the smell was gone from most of the diapers.
Well, I did a regular wash: baking soda and cold water soak, detergent and hot water wash, vinegar rinse, cold rinse, with an extra hot wash, cold rinse for added measure and the rash is back again, only this time his butt looks red too!
Can the baking soda and/or vinegar be causing this? Have any of you experienced this with your dc? I'm on my way down to the basement to go strip some more diapers...
Baking soda is alkaline (Has a pH above 7--I think it's an 9?) Vinegar is acidic (has a pH of 2). Alkaline water makes detergent work better, and acidic water rinses detergent out better. If your water is already "hard", adding the baking soda will make it "harder" and the vinegar's acidicness might not be enough to balance the pH back out. It could be leaving some caustic deposits on the dipes that are "activated" when your DC pees.
In my experience, smelly dipes don't need a change in wash routine or additives, they need stripping--and really thorough stripping. Adding in another thing that might go wrong or add to the problem only causes headaches! I know it's tempting, but strip the dipes first to get back to "square one" and *then* try making changes and additions to the wash routine Especially with baking soda, but with vinegar also, its a good idea to check your water's pH and what minerals are in the water. Where I live, the water is quite hard and has a high level of solubolized minerals. I don't use baking soda, but I do occasionally add vinegar to the rinse because it acts like a natural fabric softener.
You can get water testing kits at WalMart or the like, or at a pool supply store, that will tell you the pH of your water. I have a box of pool and spa test strips that test for "total hardness", free chlorine/bromine, pH, total alkalinity, and cyanuric acid (stabilizer). You might also be able to get a kit from your water provider (usually the city/town you live in) or have them tell you what the water qualities are.