Cooking, washing clothes and dishes – even just breathing – causes moisture to build in the air. If we don’t give it somewhere to escape, mould will start to grow. That’s why it’s so important we ventilate our homes, opening windows and using our bathroom and kitchen fans. Plus, a dry, well-aired home is easier to heat and healthier for us and our whānau.

Preventing Mould

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
  • 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
  • gas creates a damp heat so, if you can, use an electric heater instead
  • pull beds and furniture away from the walls so they can breathe
  • keep only a few plants inside.

Removing mould

It’s harder to remove mould that has been left to grow, so it’s a good idea to wash it away as soon as it appears. Mixing one part household bleach with three parts water makes for a good cleaner.

Starting with a clean sponge or cloth and rinsing it often will reduce the risk of mould spreading. Bleach can be harmful, so it pays to be extra careful by opening windows while you clean, wearing gloves and being careful not to splash any liquid on your clothes or in your eyes.


Here are some more tips for controlling mould in your home [PDF, 2.2 MB]

Pest control

Kāinga Ora can organise pest control for you if you need it, but you may have to pay for it. Pest control is listed under 'P' in the Yellow Pages.

Rats and mice

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).

Mouse traps are available at the supermarket, and 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..


Bay leaves or garlic kept in your cupboards to keep cockroaches away, as will washing floors and walls 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 where they come inside. If you find an ant nest, pour boiling water into it.

White-tailed spiders

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 and supermarkets.

Clean and Green booklet

This booklet gives you cheap and environmentally friendly hints and tips for around your home.

Download Clean and Green [PDF, 266 KB]


Page updated: 5 July 2023