Coronavirus outbreak: 11 handwashing songs that aren't 'Happy Birthday'


It takes at least 20 seconds to wash your hands properly and protect against the virus, so we put together a list of top tunes to help you time it

YP Team |

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Effective handwashing is more than a quick rinse and rub.

By now we all know how important handwashing is in the fight against the coronavirus. The Centre for Health Protection advises rubbing your hands thoroughly with soap for at least 20 seconds, which is about as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice. 

If you're getting bored of singing this song, though, (especially when it doesn’t end in cake), we’ve rounded up some of our favourite reminders of how long 20 seconds is, whether you’re at a sink or using alcohol hand sanitiser. 

The unofficial Millenial anthem Mr Brightside by The Killers is popular for a reason, and also helpful in these bizarre times. If you start singing the chorus as you begin to wash, give your hands a shake when you get to “eager eyes”, and reach for the paper towel at “Mr Brightside”, then you should be about right. (It will also be stuck in your head for the next three hourse, but there we go.)

Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do makes handwashing a lot more fun than it actually is - just sing “Ooh, look what you made me do, look what you made me do ... look what you made me do” about 20 times and you’ll be good to go!

The chorus for her We Are Never Getting Back Together is about 25 seconds. Like you need an excuse to sing this banger.

Unleash your inner diva/Disney Princess and belt this classic. When you’ve finished the chorus of Let it Go, your hands are perfectly clean. You don’t even need the last line “The cold never bothered me anyway” - use it as an opportunity to dramatically turn from the wash basin and strike a pose.

A rewritten version of Justin Bieber’s Yummy: “Yeah, you got no germs, no germs, no germs, no germs, no coronavirus!/ Yeah, you got no germs, no germs, no germs, no germs, no coronavirus!/ Wash those hands, soapy hands, so clean, so clean, so clean/ Every hour, on the hour, wash those hands, soapy hands, so clean, so clean, so clean!”

Eminem’s Lose Yourself has a 20-second chorus perfect for washing your hands. Begin when the chorus hits “You better lose yourself in the music” and end at “This opportunity comes once in a life time”.


Sing the entire Teletubbies intro ! Make sure you’ve sung “Time for teletubbies” four times before you pass the mic to Tinky Winky.

Seeing as the Friends reunion is on hold for now, use the first verse of the theme song as your timer, from “So no one told you” to “or even your year”.

Count On Me by Bruno Mars has a 20-second chorus, and the kind of uplifting message we all need to hear right now.

If you’re in the mood for some dancehall rhythms, the chorus to Drake’s One Dance also works.

Throwing it waaaaaaay back (ask your parents... or maybe your grandparents), try Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver. Start at “Country Roads, Take me home” and end at “Take me home, Country Roads.” This is a classic singalong song for a reason. Take me hooooooome!

And before we go, an official reminder of how it should be done.

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