10 Headache-Causing Household Chemicals to Know for National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

Every June, organizations like the American Migraine Foundation (AMF) join with doctors and patients to raise awareness about headache disorders. AMF explains that many people with migraine experience a migraine attack when they are triggered by environmental factors including:

  • Weather
  • Bright lights
  • Certain smells
In honor of National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, we wanted to share vital information about how household chemicals could trigger migraine and headaches for your family.
Can Household Cleaners Cause Headaches?
Yes, household cleaners can cause headaches, migraine, and other health problems, including cancer. The American Lung Association explains that harmful household cleaning products contain headache-causing elements such as:
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which can directly cause health issues or combine with other chemicals in the air to create pollution
  • Fragrances which can cause allergic reactions
  • Irritants which can further exacerbate any normal allergies you experience
What Are Other Side Effects of Inhaling Cleaning Products?
In addition to causing headaches, the American Lung Association says other side effects of inhaling cleaning products could include:
  • Irritated eyes or throat
  • Allergic reactions (including migraine attacks)
  • Cancer
  • Chronic respiratory problems
Which Household Cleaners Contain VOCs?
There are dozens of VOCs, but not all of them have been proven to negatively impact your health. VOCs which are known to be harmful include:
  • Formaldehyde — This chemical is known to irritate and damage your nose and throat. Formaldehyde is commonly found in household products like paint, dishwashing liquid, and fabric softeners.
  • Acetone — This VOC is found in household cleaning products such as nail polish remover, lacquer, and varnish. If you use products with acetone, you may notice a burning sensation in your eyes, nose, and throat. You could also experience nausea, mood swings, and dizziness.
  • DichlorobenzeneThis chemical is often used to control moths, mold, mildew, and bathroom odors. You might find it in your home’s deodorizers or moth balls.
  • Ethanol — Not only is ethanol highly flammable, but it can also cause headaches and coughing if you inhale it while cleaning. Ethanol could be found in hand sanitizers, windshield wiper fluid, and even perfume.
  • Terpenes — This chemical can irritate your nose, eyes, throat, and head, and also has the potential to harm the ozone layer. Terpenes can be found in many types of household cleaners and air fresheners.
Check the label of your household cleaners, and keep in mind that these common VOCs may be listed under a different name in the ingredients list.
Which Household Cleaners Contain Fragrances?
Any fragrances, both natural and artificial, could give you a headache if they irritate your eyes, sinuses, or throat. In fact, several VOCs that we listed above are commonly used to scent household cleaning products. For example, UC Berkeley reports that terpenes are found in pine, lemon, and orange oils that give cleaning products and air fresheners a bright smell.
Fragrances can also be manmade, meaning they are artificial or synthetic. The Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) reports many synthetic fragrances contain chemicals including:
  • Petrochemicals — In other words, petroleum-based chemicals
  • Phthalates — Used in soaps, shampoos, and detergents
  • Benzene derivatives — Used in paint or varnish removers, furniture wax, and detergents
  • Aldehydes — Used to make detergents, soaps, and resins
  • Toluene — Known carcinogens which could cause cancer
To avoid harmful chemicals and fragrances in your household cleaners, look for labels that say “fragrance free” rather than “unscented”. Unscented products may actually have fragrances added to them to mask other scents!
How Can You Avoid Getting Household Cleaners Containing VOCs and Fragrances?
Our family started Sheiner’s to offer natural, safe home cleaning products. Our products clean effectively while also preventing your family, kids, and pets from inhaling any harmful chemicals. Every product is also pH-balanced to avoid damaging any surfaces you clean.
Check out some of our most popular natural cleaners, which all have light, fresh natural scents:
Natural Floor Cleaners:
  • Sheiner’s Floor Cleaner Concentrate helps you save money because it needs to be diluted with water before use. Use it on tile, linoleum, stained concrete, and other floor surfaces.
  • Sheiner’s Stone & Tile Cleaner is great indoors and outdoors for marble, granite, limestone, Travertine, slate, stone, and concrete floors. You can also use it for ceramic, porcelain, and non-porcelain tiles.
  • Sheiner’s Hardwood Cleaner is safe for wood and laminate floors. And like the other two floor cleaners listed above, it’s safe to use in your robot mop.
Natural Stain Remover: Natural Glass Cleaner:
  • Sheiner’s Window & Glass Cleaner is ammonia free, so don’t worry about a heavy, lasting odor. It’s easy to clean your windows and glass streak- and residue-free with Sheiner’s.
Natural Car Wash: Natural Cleaner for Everywhere Else:

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