Lucy Vickery

Songs to wash your hands by

Songs to wash your hands by
‘And now the peak is near, /So wash your hands with soap and water…’
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In Competition No. 3141, you were invited to submit a song we can sing instead of ‘Happy Birthday’ during hand-washing.

Congratulations all round: this challenge produced a cheering entry — funny, varied and drawing inspiration from far and wide; from the Knack’s ‘My Sharona’ to the Hokey-Cokey.

Commendations to David Silverman, Frank Upton and Nick Syrett. The winners earn £25 each.

And now the peak is near,

So wash your hands with soap and water.

My friends, I’ll say it clear,

We wash our hands because we oughta.

We’ve lived a life that’s free

With many friends who all desire us;

But now it’s time to kill



We loved, we coughed and sniffed,

We gave high fives, our share of sneezing.

But now, old habits shift

Because our friends have started wheezing.

So now we wash our hands

And sing a song that might inspire us.

O no! O no not me!


Nick MacKinnon (to the tune of ‘My Way’)

I have heard it on the TV news and watched the video

That the Covid-19 virus will be beaten when we show

Solidarity in washing hands while singing loudly, so

Some soap will save us all.


We are queuing up for basins in a thousand public loos,

Harmonising with the gushing taps in any song we choose

In a measured twenty-seconds (some sing opera, some the blues)

While soap will save us all.


No more handshakes, hugs or kisses now, a simple soapy-grope

Is the only weapon left and so, from Dawkins to the Pope,

We will wash and slosh while singing in the true and certain hope

That soap will save us all.


Soap and scrub for twenty seconds,

Sing aloud for twenty seconds,

Save the world in twenty seconds,

Our soap will save us all.

D.A. Prince (to the tune of ‘The Battle Hymn of theRepublic’

At first we weren’t afraid, now we’re petrified

It started out in China, now the threat has gone worldwide

We hadn’t thought that it could spread past Korea and Hong Kong

But it grew strong

And now it’s all going Pete Tong

But we’ll fight back

Pass me that soap

I’m going to wash that virus off, it truly is our only hope

Thank God I got that big supply, quilted luxury four-ply

All my cupboards full of tins, bags of pasta piled up high!

Now we can’t go, out of our door In isolation

No callers welcome anymore

Hand sanitiser toprevent the long goodbye

Turn on those taps

Let’s wash our hands so we don’t die!

Fiona Hurlock (to the tune of ‘I Will Survive’)
And did these hands in carefree times

Attract some viruses unseen?

And did they touch some tainted spot,

Some corner that was left unclean?

And were there friends of friends who caught

The dreaded bug and passed it on,

And they in turn unknowing brought

Disaster here and then were gone?

I will not rest till I have washed

Beneath these nails that might breed ill,

I’ll splash hot water till it hurts

All threats invisible to kill.

Give me my soap to ease my task,

Give me my brush to scratch and scrape,

Pass me that towel to dry my hands

That from all perils I might escape.

Max Ross (to the tune of ‘Jerusalem’)

Hello soap bar my old friend,

handwashing’s sent me round the bend;

but every time by chance I touch my face,

back to the bathroom sink I have to race,

and the door handle may be a germ ambush in my grip

after each trip — steeped in coronavirus.


On beans and toilet rolls I’ll stock,

and greet my pals like Mr Spock;

‘Live long and prosper!’ is a safer take

than kissing, fist bumps or a sweaty shake;

self-isolation and social-distancing are the trend if we intend

to beat coronavirus.

Paul Freeman/to the tune of ‘The Sound of Silence’

Oh,yeah, I’ll tell you something.

I hope you’ll understand.

Whenever I get near you,

I want to wash my hands!


Yeah, you might have something.

Your trav’ling should be banned.

So please, keep your distance,

And let me wash my hands.

(Now, let me wash my ha-a-a-a-ands.

I want to wash my hands.)


And if I touched you I would panic and hide.

Given the choice, I’d rather guzzle cyanide

(Cyanide, cyaniiiiiide)!

Max Gutmann (to the tune of ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’)

No. 3144: alphabetical

You are invited to submit a poem, six lines at the most, containing all the letters of the alphabet. Please email entries to by midday on 8 April.