Forget about Singing Happy Birthday, Do This When Washing Your Hands Instead

Many people are likely aware of the suggestion to sing “Happy Birthday”, twice, while washing your hands to ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly.

Here’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson showing us (sort of) how it’s done:

But Dan Pink has an even better idea than singing the well-known tune while washing our hands.

In his latest Pinkcast, Dan mentions many of the benefits of showing gratitude: it boosts our mood, sharpens our minds, and even improves our physical health.

However, he also points out that it is sometimes difficult to bring gratitude into our daily routine.

Enter hand washing.

Dan suggests combining these two beneficial activities – washing our hands and showing gratitude – into one. Here’s the video:

One side note here. At the bottom of the video on his web site, Dan includes the following:

A few viewers have pointed out that I should not have kept the water running as long as I did. They’re right. Thanks for keeping Pink green.

It’s a clever line about keeping Pink green, but having the water running for 20 seconds while not using it did not really bother me.

However, I am curious about where exactly he is. I’m not used to seeing outdoor spigots up that high. I’m also not used to seeing a bar of soap and a towel just randomly left outside and available for handwashing. Is this some special place just for successful authors and TED talkers? ((By the way, I will be showing his TED talk to my students on Friday).

If so, I guess I’ll never get to see it. I’ll just stick to washing my hands at a sink and keeping my soap and towels inside.

*image from CBS Miami

38 thoughts on “Forget about Singing Happy Birthday, Do This When Washing Your Hands Instead

  1. Oh, Boris, you even screwed up the very simple happy birthday song. I did notice that Dan didn’t get all of the soap off his hands, Maybe he ran out of gratitude? Anyway, good idea reciting gratitude while washing hands! In Canada we have a systematic way to wash hands that takes care of the 20 seconds. You rub the front of your hands together, than each back of the hand, then the tips, and then each thumb. By the time you are done it all, it is time to wash it off and time’s up. I’ll let Andrew demonstrate (and he did turn the water off)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am grateful to you and Dan for reminding me of the benefits of being grateful. This may sound ungrateful, but it is surprising, that Dan’s nitpicking viewers didn’t also notice that he did a poor job of hand washing. His left hand is still covered in soap when he shuts off the water. 🀨 And turning off the public spigot with his clean hand seems to defeat the point of washing hands.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I noticed the same thing that Dan still had soap on his hands when he went for the towel. And yes, if that is a public spigot, he should not have used his hands to turn it off. There’s also the question of whether that towel is a public towel. So many bloopers!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m about to puke. I thought his target audience was 5 years old, until he told the obligatory alcohol-reference joke.
    I feel grateful I don’t have some officious jackass peering over my shoulder and telling me how to wash my hands.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had trouble understanding parts of his speech; what was the alcohol-related joke?

      So as long as it’s not an officious jackass, you’re ok with people telling you how to wash your hands? πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. He made some crack about how grateful he was that he had 22 bottles of bourbon to finish the day with.

        Yes, anyone can tell me how to wash my hands, as long as they’re not officious jackasses.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Have you heard of day zero? It’s when we nearly ran out of water. Please don’t leave the tap running. And if you do, catch the water for use elsewhere. I read somewhere that Apple watches time hand washing but I much prefer the idea of giving gratitude.


    1. I have not heard of day zero – I try not to let the water run, but I’m sure I could do a better job. I had not heard of the Apple Watch timing hand washing – I may have to take a look for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dan Pink has got the ideal voice, and he’s engaging. I like the idea of showing gratitude, but this idea is pretty lame. How about just doing each of these things separately? The only thing in my life that is somewhat comparable is to take a walk while I’m thinking about something. All of a sudden, I realize I’ve walked 3-4 miles without thinking about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it was a bit of an odd suggestion, because how do you know when 20 seconds is up; how many gratitudes is that?

      and hopefully those 3-4 miles aren’t just in one straight line, and then you still have to turn around to get back home πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, I am not surprised that out of all that is presented in the video, people somehow found something to be negative about. Like you, I love Dan’s reference to keeping Pink green. Gratitude does have multiple effects on our own well being and it is something we can all use more of. I agree with Pete, his voice is articulate, engaging, and a pleasure to listen to. And although the spigot looks elevated in the video, it does exit the building between the first floor and the basement, where the stone meets the brick. It looks odd because the basement is half exposed on the exterior.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dan does have a good voice. And wow – you are observant about the building! There have been a couple of other comments about Dan’s video – such as it looks like his hands are still soapy when he turns off the water, and he uses his bare hands to turn off the water, which may defeat the purpose of washing your hands. And then there is the issue of when do you know 20 seconds is up?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Please don’t assume that Johnson is an authority on anything, unless it’s lying, cheating, backstabbing and philandering. His role as our PM is a triumph of ambition over ability, a bit like Numpty Trumpty.

    And I agree with all the comments criticising Dan Pink – with that lack of attention to detail he could become President, or our PM πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  8. i think it’s a good discussion, and we each have our style or ‘go-to’ for getting through this important task. no criticism from me, maybe he just needs a roadie to help with the details when filming. who couldn’t use a roadie to help us with getting the details of our everyday tasks, just right? the point is, we are all imperfect, we all need to wash our hands to stay safe, using whatever method works for us, and we always need to have gratitude. how you go about doing all these things is your choice, and thanks for showing us your way, dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. what a wonderful balanced perspective; I think in concept it’s a great idea – make sure we wash our hands properly and be sure to give gratitude. As you point out, however we get those two things done is up to each individual. Perhaps since Dan likes to find “life hacks” it seemed like a good idea to combine them.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have never been a fan of singing while I wash my hands. I sometimes think about it, and then my hands are ready for a thorough rinse. If I washed my hands while watching video clips of any NFL quarterback running down the final 20 ticks on the clock, the hot water would run out.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.