Some Words to Wash By, for 20 Seconds, From 72andSunny

By Doug Zanger 

While not quite as exhausting as the five billion think pieces on coronavirus, there are plenty of folks out there using techniques to help people determine how long 20 seconds is, the timeframe that CDC recommends for hand washing.

Some are using music, for example. Aretha Franklin’s Twitter account posted a handy guide to washing as one sings the classic song “Respect.” Even AgencySpy Twitter got into the act, sharing late 90s and early 2000s R&B hits to wash hands to.

Doing its part is 72andSunny. “Words to Wash By” are posters created by senior strategist Natalie Rempalski and senior writer Maddie McDowell. The goal is to read the signs out loud or in your head to get to that magic 20-second mark.


There are some pithy headlines, like “I do not want to die” and “Please, touch yourself.” The copy in the posters is somewhat puzzling in places … but if this is a mechanism to get people to go beyond 20 seconds, then mission accomplished and fire up the Effies award applications.

And not trying to sound like Joe Biden, but here’s the deal: a (really long) Michigan State study indicates that 95% of people wash their hands incorrectly. Of course, anyone who has traveled through an airport knows this fact to likely be true—no soap, a cursory wave at the sink sensor, walking out like Poppie from that famous episode of Seinfeld—but it’s a pretty staggering number nonetheless.

If you’d like to get these little wonders, you can go over to Pinterest, then print and post to your heart’s delight.