Rather than take it easy after retirement, a Southampton native who has returned after more than 40 years away has decided to start his own business, East End Dry Carpet and Tile Cleaning.
Stanley Rosko, who left Southampton in 1967, spent most of his absence working at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, first in culinary services, then in a management position in the school’s maintenance department. That’s where he found out about Host, an organic and non-toxic carpet cleaning product that is completely biodegradable.
Mr. Rosko said he thought it was a great product, so between leaving Massachusetts and moving back to Southampton in October 2007, he attended the Host school in Racine, Wisconsin, where he became a certified professional Host carpet cleaner.
Host, he explained, is a granulated sponge that absorbs dirt in carpets. Mr. Rosko says the product is certified as organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but he can’t say what exactly its made out of—“I really don’t know,” he conceded.
It’s not that he doesn’t care. The product is patented, so even the certified cleaners like himself don’t get to know its composition. He’s heard that it’s actually a sea sponge, or maybe even a corn product. Either way, it’s biodegradable.
Besides being a compostable product, Host cleaning is “green” because there is no wastewater created, no electricity used on fans to dry off the carpet and no toxic chemicals used that can be hazardous to children and pets, Mr. Rosko pointed out.
Unlike wet cleaning, a Host sponge is just slightly damp, only using a teaspoon of water per square foot, he said. By contrast, wet carpet cleaning can use 10 gallons of water per room. Wet cleaning could also result in mold and mildew, he warned. “As soon as I leave, the carpet’s bone dry.”
Depending on the size of the job, Host cleaning costs about 65 cents a square foot, Mr. Rosko said. “It’s more expensive,” he admitted, adding, “because it’s more time consuming, and it does a better job.”
Host cleaning starts with using a vacuum with counter-rotating heads that make the carpet fibers stand up as the sponge is worked in. Though there is a rolling applicator that can be pushed around, Mr. Rosko opts to just spread the sponges by hand. After application, the suction is turned on, and the Host is sucked up, taking dirt and allergens with it. Host may have to applied and removed twice, if the carpet is really dirty, he added.
Mr. Rosko is just now getting his business off the ground, working only for friends and acquaintances so far. But he is starting to advertise and hopes to start paying off his investment in training and equipment within six months.
His wife, Theresa, said she was confident the business would succeed, because people are more concerned about the environment. “Every thing’s going green,” she said. “That’s just the way of the future.”