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The correct amount of time for washing hands with soap and water is about 20 seconds. In the USA, children know the song Happy Birthday to You. If sung properly two times, it lasts about the correct time period.

Not everyone knows this song, its lyrics and tune. They have come to this site looking for a handwashing song.

The actual birthday song is copyrighted, or was. The Wikipedia article is pretty comprehensive about its history and current status. Fortunately, another, older song to the same tune is in the public domain.

“Good Morning to All” is printed in Song Stories for the Kindergarten, published 1893 (revised edition published 1896). It credited Patty Hill for the lyrics and Mildred Hill for the music.

Good Morning to You lyrics and tune are available from Wikipedia.

They also have a link to an mp3 (audio) version of the song from a very interesting website about copyright. I think the historic clip maybe a little fast for the requisite timing so sing it twice or three tiems (20 seconds total).

This is a work about copyright law. As such, it discusses the means by which a creator goes about protecting his legal rights to his work. Thus, it should not surprise any reader that this work bears the following notice: The Copyright Registration and Renewal Information Chart and Web Site © 2007 David P. Hayes If you’re here, it might be you want to know whether a particular work is protected by copyright. The several charts on this site can help. To get the most out of this site, you should have the following information close at hand.


Click here for the version of happy birthday in Yup’ik Eskimo (Alaska) Do readers have localized versions that I can link to?

See other posts about hands and handwashing–
Sanitizers — Handwashing
auto handwash timer Squidsoap
My 3 things everyone should know to prevent bird flu (pandemic flu)
Give germs the boot, not our babies: unwashed hands make everyone sick


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