Germs can be passed from person to person or indirectly by touching unclean equipment or surfaces.
Cleanliness experts say hygienic cleaning will help prevent germs spreading in the home.
Hygienic cleaning involves focusing your efforts on areas in the house where germs are more likely to spread from and cause infection.
Use either soap and hot water (rinsing the germs away) or a disinfectant to kill the germs. Thoroughly dry surfaces after cleaning. Dampness helps any remaining germs to survive and, if there's enough water, multiply.
"Good hygiene is not a once-weekly, deep-down clean," says Professor Sally Bloomfield, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. "Hygienic cleaning needs to be an ongoing part of our daily lives, where hygiene measures are targeted where and when necessary."
She says that cleaning aids, such as cloths or mops, must be germ-free or they'll spread germs to other surfaces. Germs can multiply easily. Within eight hours, one bacterium on a damp cloth can multiply to six million.
Germs stick to cloths and are difficult to remove by rinsing, so all cleaning materials should be disinfected and then dried after use.
Below are some general hygiene tips to minimise the spread of germs in the home:
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.