More and more data are available indicating that numerous (infectious) diseases are related to the home environment. Airborne microorganisms (bacteria, fungi), mites (in sheets or carpets), and (parts of) insects and beetles may be the cause of respiratory diseases such as asthma. In Europe and North America, more than half of the registered food infections appear to be contracted in the home. Then there is the development of new pathogens or the adaptation of microorganisms to extreme conditions. In many cases, the occurrence of adapted or resistant microorganisms is a reaction to the changing environment. Examples of this are the growth of Listeria monocytogenes in refrigerated food products and the presence of Legionella pneumophila in systems containing stagnant water. The main sources of infection in the domestic environment are people, pests, pets, and contaminated food and water. Germs are transmitted by direct contact with people or animals, by contaminated food, water, surfaces and air. Under circumstances favourable to microorganisms, the cells are able to survive or multiply into large numbers. Especially in places which stay moist for a long time considerable amounts of microorganisms are found, among with pathogenic types. The phrase 'home hygiene' does not merely refer to cleaning the house (daily). In practice, cleaning is not the only important issue; knowing how to prevent contamination is just as crucial. Domestic hygiene is the total sum of the measures used to prevent (insofar as possible) contamination with pathogens, and thus decreasing the number of infectious diseases. The hygiene measures required can be divided into three groups: Hygiene during food preparation. Personal and sanitary hygiene. Domestic environment. This contribution will focus on food storage, food preparation and the effect of 'hygienic cleaners' in the domestic kitchen. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.