5 Short Songs That Are Better To Sing Than Happy Birthday While Washing Your Hands

By now we think most people know that proper handwashing requires a sustained act of cleaning quite different than that practiced by every man in every public bathroom I’ve ever been in in my entire life. The rule of thumb is that you should be lathering and scrubbing for the same amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice in its entirety. But my guess i that we’re going to find out that singing Happy Birthday multiple times a day for weeks on end will turn healthy people into full blown psychopaths. So as a PSA, each of our editors are offering up their very short songs to help broaden the ditty gene pool and keep us all sane and clean in these trying times.

Come On Get Happy

by The Partridge Family

To be honest, I wanted to go with something cooler than the Partridge Family (that limits almost nothing). I tried Song 2 by Blur a few times, but it became clear than other than “Jumbo Jet” and “It’s not my prob-lem” I don’t know what the hell Damon Albarn is saying. Also yelling “woo hoo” in a public space is super not cool right now. You know who enunciates like a champ? David Cassidy that’s who. Also, the “song” is only a minute long and goddamn it’s peppy. “We get a a happy feelin’ when we’re signing a song”? C’mon! It also has the added benefit of an entire family living in a converted bus, which will likely be my situation in about three months if the markets don’t recover. —Neal McLennan, food editor

Freedom! 90

by George Michael

So my song choice is slightly flawed in that the 20 seconds of George Michael’s 100-percent perfect song comes at a slightly unsatisfying break (c’mon Wash Your Lyrics, show some discretion and at least end it on “On your rock ’n’ roll TV”). But the opening lyrics of “I won’t let you down/I will not give you up/Gotta have some faith in my sound/It’s the one good thing that I’ve got” seems super apropos for removing all traces of virus from hands. And therefore it continues to be the greatest song (and greatest video) ever written. I’ll hear no arguments otherwise. —Anicka Quin, editorial director

This Time Tomorrow

by the Kinks

This song makes me feel a little weepy at the best of times, so in these troubled times I figure my tears will just be offer an additional layer of power-washing. What will tomorrow bring? I don’t know, The Kinks, but my hands will be squeaky clean thanks to you. —Stacey McLachlan, executive editor

Ready to Start

by Arcade Fire

Besides being an absolute banger of a track on arguably (here to argue if necessary) the greatest album of the 2010s, “Ready to Start,” the second song on Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, has some perfect lyrics to get your wash on. Who can’t relate to being scared or bored during a pandemic? And to a hypothetical emperor wearing no clothes? Don’t have to look too far south for that. 

And after humming these lyrics the next line is “Now I’m ready to start,” which is an awesome way to begin anything, really. Even if it’s just the eighth time in the same day that you’re returning to the desk in your living room.—Nathan Caddell, associate editor

“Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen

by Idina Menzel

Alright, Frozen, you’ve done it again. Not only are you the perfect topic to bring up with a niece and/or nephew (love it or hate it, Frozen gets us all talking) and a great Halloween costume for blonde and brunette BFFs, but “Let it Go” is the perfect handwashing song in these uncertain times. Yes, I’m in a “kingdom of isolation.” I’ll take “don’t let them in” to heart. And all those plays/musicals/improv shows I was looking forward to attending? For the health of the community, I gotta let em go. —Alyssa Hirose, contributing editor