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Summer has finally arrived in the northeast. For a large part of June, I wasn’t sure it would ever get here. Daytime highs hovered around 70 degrees instead of the upper 80s. Sodden clouds hovered over wet green lawns and gardens, retarding strawberry ripening and probably other things as well. (But I was seriously looking forward to strawberry picking!)

The first few days of July have been gloriously sunny and warm. We’ll pretend it wasn’t muggy as all get out as well. What possessed me to clean out the range hood and fan above the stove is a mystery, but once started, I couldn’t stop. Besides. It was gross.

I prefer to use ‘green’ cleaning aides, but there are times when those just won’t cut it. Seriously, the grease was so thick I couldn’t wipe it off. I couldn’t scrape it off, either. Out came the Windex Kitchen spray bottle. Then I tried Pine Sol, my first go-to cleaner after Spic-n-Span, and I boiled water so the steam would help loosen the crud.

By this point I figured I had removed maybe one layer of oil, dust, grease, pollen (this *is* New England, you know), and I was getting a real upper body workout while not making much of a dent in the cleanliness goal. Elbow grease is all fine and good, but I like to have something to show for it, you know?

On the left side of the counter was a basin of concentrated Oxy-Clean working on the greasy kitchen towels I had used to help me disassemble the fan and filter. They were now looking much better than the range hood was, so I hotted up the water again and applied said elbow grease and the Oxy-Clean solution to the inside of the range hood.

Hot damn. It works! Every wipe brought another layer off and I could see the silver aluminum peaking out. Three changes of water later, it was practically sparking. Yup. The inside of the range hood that no one ever sees was sparkling! Mount Washmore was piled waist deep in the basement. The rugs bore evidence of two dogs dashing in and out, romping in over-long wet grass. The vegetable garden and flower beds were inundated with weeds. The counters were covered with displaced items, dirty dishes, and cleaning supplies, but that stove top and range hood? Gorgeous!

Next time, I’ll look into how much it costs to replace a range hood. Or maybe try cleaning it more often than once a decade.

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