Mould is a common household problem caused by the presence of moisture in poorly ventilated areas.
Everything from breathing to washing to cooking causes moisture to build up, and if it is not controlled, mould will start to grow. A dry, well-aired house or flat is easier to heat and healthier for you and your family.
To keep mould at bay:
open windows and doors when you're home
open windows so steam can escape from cooking or bathing
open curtains early in the morning and close them when the sun goes down
keep lids on pots when cooking
wipe condensation off walls and windows when it happens
hang washing outside to dry
open windows when using a clothes drier so moisture can escape
dry clothes and shoes before putting them away
leave wardrobes slightly open for ventilation
keep the shower curtain hanging inside the shower/bath so water doesn't drip on the floor, and wash the curtain every few weeks
use an electric heater rather than gas, which creates a damp heat
pull beds and furniture away from the walls so they can breathe
keep only a few plants inside.
Wash mould with diluted household bleach (one part bleach to three parts water mixed together) as soon as it appears, as it's harder to remove once it has been there a while. Use a clean sponge or cloth when washing off mould and rinse it often to reduce the risk of it spreading. Wear gloves when washing it away - be careful not to splash any liquid on your clothes or in your eyes and open windows to improve airflow while you clean.
We can organise pest control for you if you need it, at your own cost. Pest control is listed under 'P' in the Yellow Pages. You can do a lot to keep rats and mice away by keeping your home clean and tidy so they have no food source and nowhere to nest.
If they do get inside, mouse holes and nesting areas can be blocked with steel wool (Steelo pads).
You can get mousetraps from the supermarket or buy poisoned bait from garden or hardware shops. Be sure to set bait out of reach of children and pets, and always wear rubber gloves when getting rid of dead rodents.
Keep bay leaves or garlic in your cupboards to keep cockroaches away. Wash the floor and wall behind fridges and stoves regularly, and spray these areas with long-lasting insect spray.
Ants in New Zealand are generally harmless but can be a nuisance. Sprinkle ground or whole cloves in cupboards to keep them away. You can also sprinkle talcum powder or cream of tartar at the point where they come inside. If you find an ant nest, pour boiling water into it.
White-tailed spiders usually live in cool, dark areas like under bark in gardens, wood piles, litter and walls. They also hide under beds and in clothing left on the floor. Their bite can cause pain, swelling redness and small ulcers. Use fly spray to get rid of them.
Total release aerosol pesticide cans (bug bombs) are also available from hardware stores.