Recent Posts

Restoring Contents for a Local Bowling Alley

7/15/2021 (Permalink)

Two bowling pins, one with fire damage and one restored The soot from the fire left a lot of equipment in need of restoration

It has been over a year since a local bowling alley burned down due to arson. The fire was meant to be a distraction as some thieves made their escape but the fire quickly took hold of the building causing major fire damage to the property. SERVPRO of Black Hawk County received the call to help.

SERVPRO to the scene 

A few days after the incident, we were on the scene ready to pack up all their contents and set down equipment to begin the process of possibly cleaning the structure. The structure received irreparable damage to the front of the building and the interior walls so our team worked hard to fill dumpsters with debris. The metal roof and some of the exterior walls did stay intact but the building needs extreme construction.

We were able to facilitate some of the structure cleanings by garnet blasting the soot but our biggest role in helping this business was CONTENT CLEANING.


When news got out about the fire, so many customers of the bowling alley quickly contacted the owners to find out about their lockers and bowling balls that were kept there for them. They received the sad news that the fire affected all the content that was inside but the good news was that SERVPRO was taking care of cleaning the content.

For the past year, we have done our best to remove smoke odor and clean off smoke and fire damage from more than 50+ bowling balls, bowling-specific antique décor, and neon signage. This content has been returned to its owners and all the décor that we were able to clean and save will be making their appearances in the new building!


POST COVID- Back in Business: Are you ready for the Next Disaster?

7/15/2021 (Permalink)

Image of the ERP App A look into our ERP mobile app!

As each day passes, what seemed to be our new normal is now once again changing. Has everyone just dropped their face masks off at Goodwill and bid them all “Good day”? Seems so! This could mean that we are almost out of the weirdness of being a part of a pandemic in the 21st century. We are all just so excited to be with people in close proximity.

Back in Business

As a business owner, you may also experience everyone’s excitement as they rush back into their social life especially during the weekend. That is amazing news!

We don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade but as a business that works closely with cleaning up after disasters, we want to make sure that our local businesses are prepared in case of another one. Here’s a practical and proactive way to prepare for one.


We recommend setting an ERP or Emergency Ready Profile for your business. This is ABSOLUTELY FREE!! This ERP is a mobile application used to gather important information for your home and/or business that can help during and after a disaster. Here’s the type of information you can add to the app.

Recommended information to store to your ERP.

  • Emergency contact information
  • Building information and description
  • Contact information for local emergency services, utilities, municipalities, and vendors
  • Map of your business
  • Collections of images of important rooms and expensive equipment with an area to add notes or instructions
  • Emergency instructions in case of a fire, water, or storm disaster

You can add as many images, instructions, and details to this mobile app as you want! Get started right now!

If you have any questions or would like to request a walkthrough of your business to begin the ERP, give us a call! (319) 268-1521.

Multiple Ways to Define a Storm.

7/15/2021 (Permalink)

cream colored home with blue tarp over hole in roof During a storm, a tree branch falls and damages a homes room leaving a wet mess inside

A storm is a storm by any definition.
The description of a storm differs on who you ask. Most will recount a weather-related memory, while a few will talk about the act of force made by a person or group, and someone will refer to an unfortunate accident that altered their life. These are valid accounts that can be linked to the aftermath of problems and mess.

Forms of Storms
Storms come in all sizes and conditions and can affect numerous individuals, cities, in fact, to the point of labeling a catastrophe. SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is experienced in cleaning up in these circumstances.
After the ‘storm’ moves on, our work begins…
*A tree falls on a part of your roof, leaving a gaping hole, while the rain continues-We can remove soaked carpet, cleanup & remove damaged ceiling tiles, walls, and more.
*The electricity goes out for hours and your sump pump quits, while the rain continues-We will extract water from your flooded basement, use equipment to dry out the area and clean contents.
*Your business had a break in and shattered glass is spread out looking like rain puddles-We will board up the window to protect your belongings, and tear out carpet that has been affected.
*Your loved one has fallen and injured themselves, causing a discoloration mess on furniture and carpet in your home-We will determine if removal or cleaning is best suited for the items and care for it.

Storms Happen!
For the most part, everyone can agree a storm is a disruption of the norm- either weather related or a life issue. We wish neither of these on anyone! But unfortunately, we know they happen. And we are trained, certified, and ready to help with any storm that comes your way!

If you are in Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Hudson, Janesville and surrounding cities, Call SERVPRO of Black Hawk County at 319.268.1521, and we will be there for you!

I Don't Think We're in Kansas Anymore

7/14/2021 (Permalink)

Tornado Watch Sign in front of stormy sky Read the signs! Whether (or weather) that's literally or figuratively!

If you live in the Midwest, it might not cross your mind to be prepared for those nasty storms that can roll through the sky during the hot summer heat. 

The Art of Being Prepared

Just like individuals that live on the coast have to prepare when there is the word of possible hurricanes by boarding up windows and taking other necessary precautions, we too. here in Black Hawk County, have to be prepared in other ways. During summer here in the Midwest, there are multiple types of weather that we should look out for. One of the most common during this beautiful but humid season is tornadoes.

"Look at the Sky, It's So Green!" 

I’m sure you have experienced a moment where you are enjoying the great outdoors and the temperature suddenly drops, the wind picks up, and you see a nasty green hue in the sky. That is a quick sign that it is time to be prepared and take cover.

In the event that you are in a tornado watch or warning here are some SERVPRO tips that can help keep you calm and collected:

  • Educate your children on the difference between a tornado watch and warning, and make sure they know what county they are living in
  • Have a designated “safe room” – preferably a basement, or a low floor with no windows
  • Have essentials stored in your “safe room”
  • Have a flashlight with charged batteries on hand in case of a power outage
  • If you are stuck outside--find shelter right away, steer clear of highway overpasses and bridges
  • Do not try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle, instead find the closest building
  • Do NOT stay in a mobile home, find shelter somewhere secure

Here to Help!

Here at SERVPRO, we are here to help in many ways. Assisting you in being prepared is a big part of our passion!

The next time you look into the summer sky and see signs of a tornado, we hope these tips can help ease your mind and keep you and your loved ones safe! 

Don’t Let Sewer Sit in your Basement!

6/24/2021 (Permalink)

Don't Wait Don't let sewer water sit in your basement, call for help!


It is an overwhelming task to try to even figure out what to do if you come home to a basement that smells and has YUCK all over the floor. I get why someone would want to just close the basement door and ignore it. STILL. We recommend sucking in some fresh air from outside and get ready to handle a nasty situation. You can do this… with some help.


Sewer water is hazardous and we recommend staying away from it. Sewer water, also known as “Black water” may contain feces and bacteria that can affect your health. Once you realize you have a sewer issue, here are some steps you can take to the issue resolved.

  • Call a plumber. They can find out the source of the issue and fix it.
  • Call the city. Some city sewer lines can get backed up and be the reason for the sewer. They may provide a way to resolve the issue or provide financial help.
  • Call a Restoration and Cleanup service. SERVPRO can help clean your sewer “Like it never even happened.” We remove odor, wash floors and content, and SANITIZE.
  • Call your Insurance Agent. Your policy may cover the cost!

If you wait too long to resolve the issue, the damage may get worse, it can affect your health, and insurance might not cover the cost due to negligence.

We are here to help!

Is Your Laundry Room Wet? Watch out For Mold!

6/24/2021 (Permalink)

Washer and Dryer in Laundry Room Lower level laundry room, pre mitigation

Do you have a room specifically for your washer and dryer? I do but it’s in my unfinished basement. The water hose from the washer machine is directed and near the floor drain. The room tends to feel wet and humid. Some ways we have been able to combat that is with a dehumidifier but there’s a few more suggestion from personal experience I would like to share.

  • Do not leave clothes on the floor if you have water issues. Damp clothes will start to smell mildewy and mold can begin to grow on them. Instead, leave them on a plastic hamper away from water.
  • When you wash clothes, put a timer on your phone to remind you to move them to the dryer. If you leave clothes in the washer for too long, it will also start to smell like mildew. You will have to wash your clothes again.
  • When you are done washing your clothes, leave the washer door open to air out and dry.
  • If your washer or dryer has rubber around the door, occasionally spray microbial cleaner on it and wipe it down.
  • If mold starts growing on your clothes, do not just throw them in the washer. Check out this link for cleaning recommendation CLEAN MOLD FROM FABRIC & CLOTHES.
  • Double-check your dehumidifier to see if it’s working properly. Some dehumidifiers have a pump to dispose of the water gradually or a bucket that collects water. Make sure the hose is placed towards a drain or empty your bucket.
  • If you have surface mold in a small area, use a mold-specific solution to kill the mold, scrub the pores, and wipe clean.
  • If you are constantly dealing with water issues such as water seepage through the foundation or water leaks from your washer, fix the issue! The longer you wait, the worse the water damage may become.
  • Add a water detector near the washer and floor drain in case of flooding.

If you suspect mold on a large scale, give SERVPRO of Black Hawk County a call.

Must-have Apps during a storm disaster

6/11/2021 (Permalink)

a hand holding a phone with app icons on the phone’s screen. We <3 Safety apps.

It’s HOT. This week, it’s been so hot that our clothes seem to be stuck on us, permanently. You would hardly suspect a storm to come swooshing by. Luckily, technology has allowed us not to be hit by a sudden surprise when it comes to the weather and preparedness. SERVPRO of Black Hawk County has prepared a list of apps you can download today to keep you safe during a storm. These apps are available on Apple and Google Stores.


  • StormTrack7 (Local weather updates)
  • The Weather Channel
  • AccuWeather


  • Iowa 511 (Road conditions by the IOWA Department of Transformation)




  • Nextdoor (Connect with your neighbors.)


If there’s an app missing, let us know! Email us at

Making sure your best vacation doesn’t turn into your worst vacation when returning home

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

2 senior couples sitting on a beach share on the shore looking at the sea. Enjoy your vacation and stay safe!

Where did the masks go??? As we continue to gain confidence in our health, more and more people are venturing outdoors and traveling. Perhaps you have been thinking of a nice escape as well? That’s good news! We all deserve to be refreshed once in a while. As you get ready to pack your bags and go on vacation this summer, SERVPRO wants to share a few tips to protect your home.

  1. Unplug electrical items to prevent an electrical fire especially during a storm.
  2. Shut off your main water valve to avoid water damage.
  3. Have a family or friend check your home daily.
  4. Properly close and lock all doors and windows to protect your home from animals and thieves.
  5. Turn off your AC unit to save energy.
  6. Remove any items that might turn bad from the refrigerator.
  7. Remove trash from your home to return to a fresh-smelling home.


Now that you have done the responsible things to protect your home. Here are a few articles on vacation tips regarding coolers.


How can SERVPRO support you?

5/31/2021 (Permalink)

Ever felt left out? When calls or emails aren’t returned and it appears everyone else’s life is going great; it can feel lonely. I was overwhelmed by that in late April. Doubt crept in and affected my home life and work progress. In desperation, I reached out again and discovered I wasn’t being ignored! Schedules have filled again, the business has sped up, and my people were tired, physically & mentally, and had not responded. Changing my perception of my loneliness helped refocus on what was really happening-LIFE, once again!

Another clue is the number of sponsorships, donation requests, and event participation appeals SERVPRO is receiving. Golf outings, auctions, and in-person activities are taking place!

On Saturday, May 1st, our SERVPRO team took the plunge, raising money for Special Olympics in their annual Polar Plunge (which usually occurs the first week in April- and is a lot colder!)
The cause was one of our ‘passion points’ among our employees and provided incredible fun we enjoyed socially! 

Due to the variety of opportunities presented to SERVPRO over the years, it was important to create a process to manage the sponsorships. In the marketing field, we often think in terms of how the donation will benefit the business- our logo and name seen by many. There are natural alignments to businesses in regards to our cleanup & restoration and emergency services. So, helping out first responders and backing realtor events are an easy fit into our marketing budget. Others fall into different categories like a gift of goodwill or national support, the Red Cross, for example.

A larger impact occurs within our SERVPRO culture because our boss, Scott Demuth, asks employees for their input when supporting community efforts. He listens to what motivates them and discovers what areas of life they want to give back to. From hands-on volunteering to gathering items to donate and business dollars financially gifted to organizations; our SERVPRO family supports together!

It was the Polar Plunge that helped me realize that I wasn’t being left out. As I pulled together the team’s costumes & props for the event, I decided to put activities back on the calendar, and getting busy being involved, would keep me feeling positive and linked with others. A feeling, I think, we all want in our workplace and at home.


Prepare your home or business for selling

5/27/2021 (Permalink)

Cluttered basement with water on the floor. Call SERVPRO to help get your property ready to sell.

It’s a hot market out there for buying residential properties. We know a few realtors who have been blessed with a rise of homes being put on the market and selling like hotcakes! Is that not the case for your home or business? As a restoration business, we have found ourselves partnering with homeowners, property managers, and realtors in preparing their property before putting it on the market. Here are a few preparation tips by SERVPRO of Black Hawk County.

7 Tips to Selling your Home or Business

  1. DECLUTTER – After occupying a space for a long period of time, it is natural to start collecting items. Before selling, take the opportunity to throw away broken items, donate old or unused items, and have a garage sale! The fewer things in your property, the bigger it will look and feel.
  2. CLEAN – A clean space can communicate a place that's been taken care of.
  3. REMOVE BAD ODORS – Carpet and Upholstery can absorb a lot of odors. Consider removing bad odors especially if you’re an animal owner or like to cook a lot.
  4. DEODORIZE – It is important to only deodorize after you remove the bad odors. Deodorizing can help freshen up a place but if it’s too overpowering or is mixed in with a bad odor, it can be off-putting and bring suspicion to the buyer.
  5. CHECK HIGH HUMIDITY AND MOLD – Check your home, especially the basement and attic, for high humidity and mold. Add a dehumidifier in the room to avoid a mildew smell and remediate any mold.
  6. DOCUMENT – Gather all documents on repairs, appliance manuals, or even fire escape plans.
  7. REPAIR – Consider doing repairs on the structure or doing some updates. It’s important to repair anything that might cause water or fire damage such as electrical issues or plumbing issues.


Give SERVPRO of Black Hawk County a call if you need help with carpet cleaning, content cleaning, mold remediation, odor removal & deodorization, or reconstruction. We would love to assist in making your property more desirable and selling it quickly.

Call 319.268.1521.