Need help washing your hands for long enough? Google Assistant can help

Just ask, and Google Assistant will sing a song while you lather up to make sure you go the full 20 seconds.

Credit: Ben Patterson/IDG

We’re all focusing on hand hygiene amid the growing coronavirus pandemic, particularly the advice to sing “Happy Birthday” twice while giving our hands a good scrub. But if you or your kids want a cheering section while you’re lathering up, Google Assistant can help—and teach you the right way to do it.

According to a tweet today from Google, you can now say “Hey Google, help me wash my hands,” and Google Assistant will sing a 40-second rendition of a tune that’s perfect for the occasion: “Wash, wash, wash your hands, for 40 seconds please!”

You can say the command on your Google Assistant device of choice: phone, Google Home or Nest speaker, or Google Nest display. If you happen to ask your Google display for help washing your hands, Assistant will play an animation of soap bubbles while it sings.

So, hold on—40 seconds? What happened to the 20-second hand washing guideline?

Well, as the Global Handwashing Partnership points out, the World Health Organization does, in fact, recommend that you wash your hands for anywhere between 40 to 60 seconds, but that includes everything from getting your hands wet to drying them off with a towel. In terms of the actual lathering process, 20 seconds—or about the length of singing “Happy Birthday” twice—should be just fine, according to UNICEF and the CDC.

Here are the full lyrics for the song:

Wash, wash, wash your hands for 40 seconds please,
So we’ll chase the germs away so you don’t cough and sneeze.
Lather up your hands about a minute more,
Get in between each finger you can never be too sure.
Clean, clean, clean your hands and if you’re getting bored,
Remember friend that in the end good health is your reward.
Scrub, scrub, scrub your hands, you’re almost there hooray,
Soap and water lather up, at least five times a day.
Rinse, rinse, rinse your hands, just five more seconds now,
We’re having fun, we’re almost done, not let’s get you a towel.

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Ben Patterson

TechHive (US)
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