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Household chores are unpleasant enough without smelly cleaning products triggering a Migraine attack
Like cinnamon-scented-everything in December, cleaning is an unavoidable evil. For many of us with Migraine, cleaning is elevated from a dull chore to a costly disaster when smelly cleaning products trigger an attack.
Cleaning products are among one of the most commonly reported migraine triggers. A Migraine attack can cost us a day of work, time away from our kids – time away from our whole lives. Discovering and eliminating these migraine triggers can go a long way in managing migraines.
The Community Speaks: Which Smelly Cleaning Products Aggravate Your Migraines?
Avoiding a migraine while cleaning is tricky, because some of the most effective and common household cleaning products can also aggravate migraines. Our awesome Migraine Again community share which smelly cleaning products are the worst offenders:
“Those awful, automatic spray air fresheners that seem to be in every public restroom on the planet now. All those new, highly fragranced laundry products.” – Katie Payne
“Yes, strong artificially scented things are some of my biggest triggers. Almost anything that is overtly strong and contains concentrated petrol-based scents. Pine-Sol and most other liquid disinfectants trigger my migraines, along with strong perfumes/cologne/lotions/sprays. However, I’ve done alright with bleach when used in the correct dilution (10% or less) and in a well-ventilated area.” -Laura Ann
“Bleach, Febreze, Polo cologne–any cheap perfume or cologne does me in.” – Anna Kane
“Bleach, Pine-Sol, and anything with a strong scent. Candles that are vanilla or cinnamon or those cinnamon pinecones and brooms that are in the grocery stores right now! Mostly it is scents that linger and don’t fade away but bleach and Pine-Sol are automatic.” -Mary Keeble Eaton
“Are there any that don’t [aggravate migraines]?” -Aaron Matthew Atkisson
“Bleach, anything really strong smelling…I can barely walk down the cleaning product aisle.” – Heather Pribble
“Most cleaning products don’t bother me as long as they actually SMELL like cleaning products (like Mr. Clean, Pine-sol, etc.). It’s the ones that have the nasty floral or citrus smells that nail me every single time!” -Jeannette Bower Bollinger
“Chemical sprays are awful… Febreze, Lysol, air fresheners, scented candles (just being uncovered, don’t even have to light one), scented or treated trash bags, bleach, Downy Unstoppables (OMG no), some other laundry products, toilet bowl cleaner… Thankfully, I’ve found some effective ways to clean without chemicals.” – Jen Vann
Swap Out Migraine-Safe Alternatives to Smelly Cleaning Products
Clearly, the strong odors of the chemicals in cleaning products spell disaster for a lot of us with migraines. Luckily, over the years the Migraine community has collectively found several cleaning products that are less likely to trigger migraines. Proceed with caution – what works for one person may not work for you.
If you want to stop migraines triggered by smelly cleaning products, these alternatives are a great place to start:
“I mostly use vinegar or peroxide based [cleaners] I make myself. The smell isn’t nice but clears fast with an open window! And I love Lysol unscented wipes. I am still kinda unsure about natural products in the bathroom, because I was raised with Comet and bleach. Oddly, one commercial cleaner I find ok for me is Fantastik with Clorox spray, so I do use that, too, in small amounts, because I have a potty training preschooler and it gets messy. Again, I always open a window first.”– Cait Walker
“If anyone wants a good floor cleaner, I swear by Bona. It’s almost odorless.” – Michelle Terrell
“The hydrogen peroxide cleaning products, while still not pleasant for migraines, clean well and don’t hurt as much.” – Maureen Ryan Herman
“Dawn, vinegar & Borax are safe.” – Patty Cunnigham Abernathy
“I use Method cleaning products, they’re the only ones that don’t trigger a migraine.” -Helena Chesters
“All Norwex products are great. Just add water to a cloth or mop and the colloidal silver kills the germs. All fragrance-free.” – Skipper Davis
“Oven cleaner can cause [me] black-outs. I use oven liners now and soak them over night in hot soapy water.” – Lisey DrawMill
“Lysol unscented wipes” -Zafreen Jaffer
“I clean with vinegar and baking soda and Simple Green.” -Judith M. Kastl
You can print this list and take it to the store to do a smell test for what you like best when you don’t have a migraine. Scent-sensitivity is a very personal thing.
Cleaning Products Recommended by Migraine Sufferers
- Lysol Unscented Wipes
- Simple Green
- Fantastik with Clorox
- Oven Liners
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Baking Soda
If you find yourself sick and in pain with a migraine after using smelly cleaning products, do yourself a favor and throw them away! (Or donate them to a migraine-free friend.)
Thank you to our brilliant, generous Migraine Again community for ideas for cleaning products that will make your home sparkle without causing a Migraine. We really are stronger (and, in this case, cleaner) together.
Comments? Do certain cleaning products aggravate your migraines? Have you found an alternative?