The Easterner’s guide to washing your hands


Keri Kelly

Use plenty of soap and hot water while washing your hands.

By Lauren Reichenbach, Copy Editor

Washing your hands has always been important, but the need for keeping your hands clean has risen exponentially in the last few months. With new cases of COVID-19 popping up every day in Washington State, staying healthy is a big concern for everyone.

We’ve all —hopefully— been washing our hands since we were young, but many people still don’t know how to wash their hands correctly.

According to the CDC, there are five steps to successfully washing your hands.

  • Start out by wetting your hands with clean, running water. It doesn’t matter if the
  • water is hot or cold.
  • Apply soap and rub your hands together, working the soap into a lather. Make
  • sure the soap reaches the back of your hands, in between your fingers and under
  • your fingernails as best as you can.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse your hands off with more clean, running water, hot or cold.
  • Dry your hands by either using a clean towel or air drying them.

If you can’t tell off the top of your head how long 20 seconds is, the CDC recommends singing the “Happy Birthday” song to yourself, as this is the perfect length for hand washing.

According to an NPR article by Marc Silver, there are also several portions of popular songs that are around 20 seconds, and are much less likely to become obnoxious after the fifth time humming to yourself in a day. Silver said the chorus to the song “Jolene” by Dolly Parton seems to be the most popular among viewers. The chorus from Queen’s song, “We Will Rock You,” is also almost exactly 20 seconds.

Some other suggestions on Silver’s post were the Jeopardy theme song, “Row Your Boat” and “This Little Light of Mine.” Reciting the Lord’s Prayer twice was also a popular suggestion.

Other recommended songs include short tunes like the ABC song and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Erika Perzan, a fan of Silver’s article, submitted her own remix of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star that seemed more appropriate for the current situation:


“Twinkle, twinkle little star. Look how clean my two hands are. Around my wrists and

between my thumbs, lace my fingers, I’m almost done. Twinkle, twinkle little star. Look how

clean my two hands are!” -Erika Perzan


The CDC said if soap and water is not available, hand sanitizer is a good alternative, but isn’t as effective as washing your hands. A hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol or more is the best option for killing germs. However, hand sanitizer does not kill all types of germs. It may not be very effective if your hands are greasy or visibly dirty. Hand sanitizer is also unable to remove chemicals such as heavy metals or pesticides that can be very harmful.