Do You Get Headaches After Cleaning?

I used to get a really bad headache every evening after dinner. I would just be settling down after tidying up and BAM! headache pain like someone was tightening a vice grip around my head.

For months I varied the foods we ate, yet nothing seemed to help. Almost every night I could count on getting that evening headache after eating. I couldn’t figure out why it didn’t happen after breakfast or lunch. What was so special about dinner? I was at my wit’s end.

So I decided to do something creative. One evening I asked my husband to do everything I normally did. From food prep, to cooking, serving and cleaning. I sat far away and watched the entire process. Voila! No headache! So, we got even more creative and I slowly introduced each task back one by one.

  • Food prep – no headache.
  • Cooking – no headache.
  • Serving – no headache.
  • Eating – no headache.
  • Cleaning up – HEADACHE!

Voila, I had found the reason for my headache. I always cleaned up the entire day’s dishes in the evening. That’s why I was only experiencing headaches right after dinner. Occasionally my husband would clean the dishes, but as I thought back, on those nights I wouldn’t get the headache.

I immediately removed all my cleaning products and replaced them with natural, organic cleaning products. I have not had a headache like that since.

Many of the standard household cleaners on market these days are full of toxic chemicals. The makers of these products claim that these chemicals are required to “get it really clean” and are in small enough amounts that they aren’t “toxic”. Imagine, if we added up all of the “small amounts of chemicals” in each of the cleaners we use each day. What is the total chemical load we’re subjected to each day? It has to be pretty high.

For example, Sodium Hydroxide is an ingredient in many cleaning and personal care products. Sodium Hydroxide can cause burns in tissue, chronic skin irritation, respiratory tract irritation, as well as liver & kidney damage. Sodium Hydroxide can be found in almost every standard household cleaner that you will find at your grocery store. It’s also found in some toothpastes, shaving creams and other skin care products. We’re putting that into our mouths?!

Many of us are trained by advertising to think that we need antibacterial lotions and soaps. Did you know that many of these cleaners contain Triclosan, a form of Dioxin. Triclosan has been linked with weakened immune systems, decreased fertility, hormone disruption and birth defects. Regular soap kills 99.4% of germs while antibacterial soap kills 99.6%. Is that 0.2% extra really worth it?

Dishwasher detergents contain a form of highly concentrated chlorine that is poisonous and can produce skin irritations or burns, cause eye injuries and damage to other mucous membranes. Guess what? Residue built up on dishes and can transfer onto your food. Yummm (not!). Buy phosphate and chlorine free detergents instead.

Bathroom cleaners are highly toxic particularly since they are used in small confined spaces spaces. Many of these cleaners contain hydrochloric acid which is corrosive to skin and eyes, and damages kidneys and liver. Also some contain hypochlorite bleach which is corrosive to eyes, skin and respiratory tract, and known to cause vomiting and pulmonary edema if inhaled. These cleaners also contain benzene, methanol, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene which are all known carcinogens that damage the nervous system and cause birth defects. Did you know that pure vinegar and borax are just as effective cleaners?

I had heard people talk about “going green” for years, but it wasn’t until I realized that these chemical-laden household cleaning products where damaging my body that I chose to change. This personal scare made me wonder what subtle damage these chemicals were also doing — damage that I wouldn’t see for years to come, and then only in the form of cancer or another debilitating disease.

My house is now totally “green” when it comes to natural and organic cleaning products. I find that my health and well-being are worth it.