It's pretty handy

Generate a hand-washing guide paired with any song lyrics

The COVID-19 outbreak has prompted governments and health institutions around the world to ramp up messaging about ways to protect ourselves and others from the spread of the coronavirus.

Hand hygiene is more imperative than ever, and authorities recommend washing your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water to combat the spread of infection. (The effectiveness of soap comes down to the hybrid structure of its molecules, which can both break through the lipid membranes that protect pathogens like coronaviruses, and then trap fragments of the destroyed virus in tiny bubbles called micelles, which wash away in water.)

Person washing hands in kitchen sink

But what does a good hand-washing routine look like? How long should you wash them for? The general advice in answer to the second question is around 20 seconds or more, or, as the World Health Organisation suggests, about as long as singing “Happy Birthday To You” twice.

That can get old rather quickly, though, especially if you’re singing “Happy Birthday To You” several times a day. So now, coming up with alternate songs has become one of the internet’s new favourite memes. In response, a 17-year-old developer from the U.K. named William Gibson has created Wash Your Lyrics, a website that will turn your song of choice into a personal hand-washing infographic.

You simply enter a song title and artist, and the software pulls the relevant lyrics from Genius and incorporates them, line-by-line, into a hand-washing or hand rub poster produced by the U.K.’s National Health Service. Below is an example I’ve generated using The Bangles’ “Manic Monday”.

"Manic Monday" lyrics in Wash Your Lyrics poster
For ultra clean hands, wash them while singing “Manic Monday”

The problem with most lyrics, though, is that they end up running far longer than the suggested 20 seconds – the example above runs for 50 seconds if sung at true speed. On the upside, your hands will be extra clean! Furthermore, the software only pulls the beginning of a song, so it may or may not include the chorus.

There is the option, however, to insert custom text – it doesn’t have to be lyrics! It could be a monologue, or a famous speech, or a movie script – get creative! You can download the poster, keep it for personal use, or share it with the world. Try out the software for yourself here.