The ritual of hand-washing shouldn’t just be a swish of the palms with some soap and water. And lately, doing it right is more important than ever: Scrubbing frequently with hot water and soap is the easiest thing you can do to cut your chances of spreading coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s important to do this before and after handling food, after using the bathroom, and before leaving home. The CDC recommends using hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol content if soap and water are not available.
Lather up and scrub palms, the area in between the fingers, the tops of your hands, around your thumbs and under your nails. Friction is essential for removing microbes, grease and dirt, according to the CDC. Use a paper towel as a barrier when you turn off the sink.
Here’s the thing: You have to do this for at least 20 seconds. That’s about two rounds of “Happy Birthday.”
Freelance journalist Jen Monnier was quick to list some alternative song choices on Twitter in case the birthday song gets old. Her thread went viral, inspiring other users to share their favorites.
We took some of Twitter’s suggestions and added our own. Here are 20 tunes you can use to time your hand-washing.
- “Mambo No. 5” By Lou Bega
- “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo
- “Believe” by Cher
- “God Save the Queen”
- “Jolene” by Dolly Parton
- “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
- “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X
You’ll need the bridge as well as the chorus to make it over 20 seconds, so start with “Can’t nobody tell me nothing.”
- The Imperial March
- “Raspberry Beret” by Prince
- “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers
- “Picture To Burn” by Taylor Swift Many other T-Swift songs work, too.
- “Ms. Jackson” by OutKast
- “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees
- “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club
- The opening part of “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance.
“When I was a young boy/ My father took me into the city/ To see a marching band/ He said, “Son, when you grow up/ Would you be the savior of the broken /The beaten, and the damned?”
- “No Scrubs” by TLC
- “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani
- “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas
- “Love on Top” by Beyonce
- All of “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, if you are ambitious.
The entire song lasts about 18 hand washes.