The 17 year-old behind the ‘Wash Your Lyrics’ site speaks out: “I didn’t think it would go quite this big”

"It just felt so sad singing 'Happy Birthday' to myself every time I washed my hands"

William Gibson, the teenager behind the popular ‘Wash Your Lyrics‘ site, which allows users to pair the words to their favourite song with the NHS’ hand-washing guidelines, has spoken publicly about creating the site for the first time.

The 17-year-old, from Northamptonshire, said he was inspired to create Wash Your Lyrics after seeing a meme about hand-washing featuring lyrics from 100 Gecs’ single ‘Money Machine’.

Following advice that people should wash their hands for the amount of time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice in order to protect against coronavirus, Gibson said he wanted to give people a wider choice of songs.


“It just felt so sad singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to myself every time I washed my hands,” Gibson told the BBC.

175,000 posters were generated from the site within its first three days, with Gibson describing the site’s reach as “crazy”.

“I had a feeling it would be popular – but didn’t think it would go quite this big,” he said. “It was weird seeing celebrities I’ve followed for years on Instagram posting about it.”

Meanwhile, Foals have taken the combination of music and Covid-19 advice one step further with a new video for their track ‘Wash Off’ that serves as a hand-washing PSA.

Last week, a Twitter user also compiled a helpful list of songs with 20-second choruses that can be sung instead of ‘Happy Birthday’ while hand-washing, including Dolly Parton‘s ‘Jolene’ and Beyoncé’s ‘Love On Top’.


The ongoing coronavirus outbreak continues to impact the music industry. Yesterday it was announced that Coachella festival would be delayed until October due to concerns about its spread.