Home woes

Ailments in family as mould covers wardrobes

After Ms Ang Hwee Chuin's family moved into their new apartment in Kallang two months ago, all three of them started falling sick.

"My husband had fever, I had rhinitis flare-ups and my kid had a non-stop runny nose and chesty cough," said the 37-year-old freelance consultant.

Mould, she discovered, had grown on the external back panels of the wardrobes in the master bedroom and her daughter's room.

Ms Ang contacted the furniture retailer last Tuesday and it told her it would not be replacing the two-month-old wardrobes.

It said: "We regret that as mould existed due to the environment, it is not covered in our store's policy."

In humid Singapore, mould on furniture is not unheard of.

CLIMATE TO BLAME

Due to the humid climate in Singapore, we do occasionally have customers coming to us with similar inquiries. As mould grows in damp conditions, rooms should be kept well ventilated.

THE FURNITURE RETAILER

Over the past five years, the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) has received 38 complaints about mould on furniture, said executive director Loy York Jiun.

In a response to Straits Times queries, the company which sold Ms Ang the furniture said: "Due to the humid climate in Singapore, we do occasionally have customers coming to us with similar inquiries.

"As mould grows in damp conditions, rooms should be kept well ventilated. Each case is looked at on a case-by-case basis, to assess the recovery options for customers."

Ms Ang said the cupboards were assembled and placed in the flat in November last year, one month before they moved in. The flat's windows were left slightly ajar during that period.

She paid about $2,000 for the wardrobes in October and said that they were the only items of furniture in the apartment to develop mould.

Experts said that there are many reasons for mould to grow.

Mold Buster's Mr Feng Huinan told The Straits Times that mould growth is complex. Determining the origin of an infestation involves many factors, he said. They range from how porous the furniture material is to how often air-conditioning is used, and even how frequently and for how long a home owner travels.

Mould, said Mr Feng, could grow within 48 hours. To prevent it, home owners should avoid introducing moisture into the house.

For instance, after mopping, the floor should be dried quickly.

Both the interior and exterior of the home should be kept clean, as dust can contain mould.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 09, 2017, with the headline 'Ailments in family as mould covers wardrobes'. Print Edition | Subscribe