If you want to be entertained by the changing cleanliness customs through the ages and across the world, read The dirt on clean: an unsanitized history by Katherine Ashenburg. Dwelling in depth upon European and American customs, Ashenburg finds fun and amazing trivialities while laying out a case for American over-cleanliness. "'Clean'keeps receding into the distance," she says. Whether it's whiter than white teeth or squeaky clean hair. Scandinavian scent expert Sissel Tolaas claims "In American everything is more extreme, and everything turns into a rule."
Healthy child, healthy world: creating a cleaner, greener, safer home by Christopher Gavigan covers a wide range of issues, from what fabrics to use in bedding to what products are potentially dangerous to breathe in a closed house. This book contains some simple, healthy recipes for lotion, cleaners, air disinfectants and fresheners as well as tip sheets on plastics, fabrics and lots more.
Please, please read Wash your hands!: the dirty truth about germs, viruses and epidemics--and the simple ways to protect yourself in a dangerous world by Dr. Frederic Saldmann. You will throw out all the rules you have grown up with and start over. For instance, those hand air dryers actually give a person more bacteria than they had before they washed! Apparently, germs from other people's hands and from the air are sucked in, and they grow in the hot humidity of the dryer.
If you get really interested in the infectious disease topics, try Germ-proof your kids: the complete guide to protecting (without overprotecting) your family by Harley Rotbart. This in-depth book is a great introduction to infectious diseases, covering each type of disease and then covering each individual disease, answering the questions of contagion, prevention and treatment.
As new and old diseases develop into greater threats, these books need to be on everyone's night stand.