washing hands

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Coronavirus: 20-second choruses from classic songs to sing while washing your hands

Twitter user's handy guide opens up a ton of ideas.


Nahila Bonfiglio

Internet Culture

Posted on Mar 4, 2020   Updated on Jan 27, 2021, 1:06 pm CST

If you’re concerned about the coronavirus, you’re not alone.

People all over the globe are in the early stages of panic over the spreading virus. Dozens of news stories have joined CDC updates to help better inform the public on how to prevent the virus from spreading. Perhaps the most helpful tool, however, came this week from Twitter.

User Jen Monnier began a thread of songs with choruses that last approximately 20 seconds. These songs perfectly pair with your constant, anxious hand-washing to better prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

As Monnier noted in her initial tweet, health officials have advised people to wash their hands regularly. The best length for a good, thorough hand washing is 20 seconds, so general advice is to sing “Happy Birthday” twice to measure the time. “But I’m tired of singing ‘Happy Birthday’ and you probably are too,” Monnier wrote. “So I’ve done the very important public service of compiling other songs with roughly 20 sec choruses to sing.”

A hero.

The thread contains some absolute gems, from Beyoncé to Fleetwood Mac, Prince and Lizzo. Monnier was even kind enough to provide links to the tracks on YouTube.

Monnier only included six songs: “Love on Top” by Beyoncé, “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, “Raspberry Beret” by Prince, “Jolene” by Dolly Parton, “Africa” by Toto, and “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo. Once her list went viral, however, more people began adding in their two cents. Or two songs, as the case may be.

“Mambo No. 5” by Lou Bega was flagged by one user as an excellent option. Another person suggested lines from “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance.

Someone threw out “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie. Others shared tips and tricks that they’ve used since childhood to ensure their hands get clean.

It turns out that a lot of songs can fit the hand-washing requirements. Suggestions from commenters kept flooding in, with recommendations to fit almost any musical taste. There were sea shanties, girl scout chants, and, of course, “Baby Shark.” One person was even kind enough to point out that four separate choruses of “Toss A Coin To Your Witcher” from Netflix’s The Witcher are approximately 25 seconds.


Another user was kind enough to share a list of tracks for toddlers to sing while they clean their hands.

The thread inspired others to come up with their own ways to help out. People started sharing health tips, recipes, and hand-washing guides in the comment section.


We likely won’t be finished obsessively washing our hands for a while, but at least there are plenty of good songs to keep us engaged.


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*First Published: Mar 4, 2020, 8:56 am CST