Whenever you wash your hands, make sure to do so for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
March 16, 2020
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The outbreak of the coronavirus in America is a rapidly evolving and changing situation. As it develops, it's paramount we prioritize preventive measures to keep ourselves and our communities safe. These important steps we can take include avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth and washing your hands often with soap and water. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) singing the "happy birthday song" twice while you wash your hands is the sufficient amount of time to get the job done. In the CDC's words in a post on coronavirus and how to talk to children, they explain how the rule of thumb works: "Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Follow these five steps—wet, lather (make bubbles), scrub (rub together), rinse and dry. You can sing the Happy Birthday' song twice." (For a more thorough piece on when and how to wash your hands, read the CDC's advice here.

Indeed, it's important to follow the guidelines of washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, but somehow, we don't think singing "happy birthday" multiple times a day is sustainable. That's why we were relieved to stumble upon this piece from the LA Times on hit songs to hum or sing while you wash your hands instead of "happy birthday." In their list are familiar tunes like Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" and Belinda Carlisle's “Heaven on Earth," but the real standout suggestion for us is a direct appeal to our Southern hearts: Dolly Parton's "Jolene."

As writer Jen Monnier breaks it down in the piece, "Dolly is having a moment. With her Netflix series “Heartstrings” and the hit podcast “Dolly Parton’s America,” her classic country song “Jolene” has filled the airwaves, and it could bolster hygiene as well." While washing your hands, sing the chorus, "Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene / I’m begging of you please don’t take my man / Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene / Please don’t take him just because you can," until the 20 seconds elapse.

This catchy tune may once have topped the US Country Songs Billboard chart in 1973, but now it's safe to say it will be topping our Bathroom and Kitchen Sink chart, too. Keep washing your hands regularly, dear readers.