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15 Catchy Songs with 20 Second Choruses to Hum While Washing Your Hands

Because we're all getting tired of "Happy Birthday," right?


Most of us turn into germaphobes this time of year with the end of cold and flu season trying to get its claws into us. Plus, the panic surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19) and its spread around the globe has us all even more on edge. Thankfully, one of the best tips for staying healthy is super easy: just wash your hands!

According to the CDC, we should be soaping up our hands for at least 20 seconds to really get rid of any lingering ickiness. They recommend humming “Happy Birthday” twice to time it while you’re lathering up — but that song can get old fast. You could do a round of “Wheels on the Bus” or get as far as grandpa shark in “Baby Shark,” but we thought you might like some options that weren’t written for the kindergarten crowd.

It turns out, there have been plenty of catchy choruses in pop music over the years that just happen to last between 20 and 25 seconds. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly find yourself dancing at the sink while you scrub.

Take a look below (and check out our handy playlist on Spotify) to see which of your favorite songs can help keep you healthy!

“Jolene” by Dolly Parton

You won’t have to beg germs to stay away when you hum this classic tune’s chorus (which is about 22 seconds long) at the sink.

Chorus lyrics: “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”

“No Scrubs” by TLC

Say no to scrubs, but say yes to scrubbing your hands to this chorus, which clocks in at exactly 20 seconds.

Chorus lyrics: “No, I don’t want no scrubs / A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me / Hangin’ out the passenger side of his best friend’s ride / Trying to holla at me (Whoo) / I don’t want no scrubs / A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me / Hangin’ out the passenger side of his best friend’s ride / Trying to holla at me”

“What’s Love Got to Do With It” by Tina Turner

Love’s got nothing to do with the flu and other nasty bugs, so sing this 20 second-long chorus while washing up.

Chorus lyrics: “What’s love got to do, got to do with it? / What’s love but a second-hand emotion? / What’s love got to do, got to do with it? / Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?”

“Take On Me” by a-ha

Your risk of getting sick will be gone much quicker than “in a day or two” while timing your wash to this song’s 20 second chorus.

Chorus lyrics: “Take on me (Take on me) / Take me on (Take on me) / I’ll be gone / In a day or two”

“Africa” by Toto

You’ll bless the water raining down on your hands while thinking about this classic ’80s chorus, which lasts for about 23 seconds (depending on how long you draw out all the “ooohs”).

Chorus lyrics: “It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you / There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do / I bless the rains down in Africa / Gonna take some time to do the things we never had”

“Raspberry Beret” by Prince

A fancy French hat isn’t required while scrubbing your hands to this delightful 22 second chorus… unless you just happen to like wearing one.

Chorus lyrics: “She wore a / Raspberry beret / The kind you find in a second hand store / Raspberry beret / And if it was warm she wouldn’t wear much more / Raspberry beret / I think I love her”

“Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club

This 20 second chorus can help you score a lot of great karma for not spreading icky germs around.

Chorus lyrics: “Karma karma karma karma karma chameleon / You come and go, you come and go / Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dreams / Red gold and green, red gold and green”

“Hotel California” by the Eagles

Being sick feels like getting trapped in this song’s hotel that you “can’t ever leave,” but its 23 second chorus can help avoid that.

Chorus lyrics: “Welcome to the Hotel California / Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place) / Such a lovely face / Plenty of room at the Hotel California / Any time of year (Any time of year) / You can find it here”

“American Pie” by Don McLean

Say “bye-bye” to bugs while getting your hands mclean to this beloved tune’s 22 second chorus.

Chorus lyrics: “So bye-bye, Miss American Pie / Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry / And them good old boys were drinking whiskey ‘n rye / Singing, “This’ll be the day that I die / ‘This’ll be the day that I die.'”

“Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond

Your good times will always seem so good when you get rid of bacteria and viruses with this 20 second chorus.

Chorus lyrics: “Sweet Caroline / Good times never seemed so good / I’ve been inclined / To believe they never would”

“Beat It” by Michael Jackson

Show germs how “funky and strong is your fight” against getting sick with this chorus, which is about 21 seconds long.

Chorus lyrics: “Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it / No one wants to be defeated / Showin’ how funky and strong is your fight / It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right / Just beat it (Beat it) / Just beat it (Beat it) /Just beat it (Beat it) / Just beat it (Beat it, uh)”

“Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac

The time it takes to sing this chorus in your head (25 seconds) will make you bolder than any potential bug.

Chorus lyrics: “Well, I’ve been afraid of changing / ‘Cause I’ve built my life around you / But time makes you bolder, even children get older / And I’m getting older too”

“Heaven Is a Place on Earth” by Belinda Carlisle

Staying healthy and protecting yourself from sick days with this 20 second chorus will definitely feel like you’ve found heaven on Earth.

Chorus lyrics: “Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth? / Ooh, heaven is a place on earth / They say in heaven love comes first / We’ll make heaven a place on earth / Ooh, heaven is a place on earth”

“Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees

You won’t be breaking or shaking from a fever with the help of this classic disco chorus — especially if you hold out that last “alive” as long as they do to make the whole thing 24 seconds long.

Chorus lyrics: “Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother / You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive / Feel the city breaking and everybody shaking, people / Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive / Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive / Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive”

“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!

Make your risk of catching any coughs or sniffles go-go far away by washing up to the tune of this 23 second chorus.

Chorus lyrics: “Wake me up before you go-go / Don’t leave me hanging on like a yo-yo / Wake me up before you go-go / I don’t wanna miss it when you hit that high / Wake me up before you go-go / ‘Cause I’m not plannin’ on going solo / Wake me up before you go-go / Take me dancing tonight”

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