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Kishan emailed me requesting a poem about cleanliness.

Here are some rhymes and poems I found that are generally about cleanliness, keeping clean or washing up…

First, here’s a traditional nursery rhyme that mentions having a clean face:

The Clock

There’s a neat little clock,
In the schoolroom it stands,
And it points to the time
With its two little hands.

And may we, like the clock,
Keep a face clean and bright,
With hands ever ready
To do what is right.

This next rhyme is about washing feet:

Marguerite

Marguerite, go wash your feet;
The board of health is ‘cross the street.

Here’s a song you can sing when washing up or brushing teeth:

This is the Way We Wash our Hands
(To the tune of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush)

This is the way we wash our hands
Wash our hands, wash our hands,
This is the way we wash our hands
In the afternoon (or “To keep us very healthy”)

(You can continue with washing other body parts or substitute the line “This is the way we brush our teeth”.)

Here’s a song about washing away germs:

GERMS!

Wash your face and hands with soap,
Wash them every day!
Keeping clean by using soap
Will help keep germs away

Finally, below you’ll find an old poem called Cleanliness by Charles and Mary Lamb from around 1874. First I’ve given a shortened version that I found and after that you’ll find the full, longer version of it:

Cleanliness

All-endearing cleanliness,
Virtue next to godliness,
Easiest, cheapest, needfull’st duty,
To the body health and beauty;
Who that’s human would refuse it,
When a little water does it?

Here’s the longer version:

Cleanliness

Come, my little Robert, near-
Fie! what filthy hands are here!
Who, that e’er could understand
The rare structure of a hand,
With its branching fingers fine,
Work itself of hands divine,
Strong, yet delicately knit,
For ten thousand uses fit,
Overlaid with so clear skin
You may see the blood within,-
Who this hand would choose to cover
With a crust of dirt all over,
Till it look’d in hue and shape
Like the forefoot of an ape!
Man or boy that works or plays
In the fields or the highways,
May, without offence or hurt,
From the soil contract a dirt
Which the next clear spring or river
Washes out and out for ever-
But to cherish stains impure,
Soil deliberate to endure,
On the skin to fix a stain
Till it works into the grain,
Argues a degenerate mind,
Sordid, slothful, ill-inclined,
Wanting in that self-respect
Which does virtue best protect.
All-endearing cleanliness,
Virtue next to godliness,
Easiest, cheapest, needfull’st duty,
To the body health and beauty;
Who that’s human would refuse it,
When a little water does it?

If you know of any songs, rhymes, poems, or sayings about cleanliness or washing up, please let us know about them in the comments below.

Thanks!

Mama Lisa

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This artilce was posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2008 at 10:14 pm and is filed under American Kids Songs, Australia, Canada, Children's Songs, Cleanliness, Countries & Cultures, English, English Children's Songs, English Nursery Rhymes, Health and Safety, Languages, Nursery Rhymes, Poems, Poems about Cleanliness, Poetry, Proverbs, Quotes, Rhymes by Theme, Songs about Washing Up, Songs by Theme, Teaching, USA, United Kingdom. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

37 Responses to “Poems, Songs and Rhymes about Cleanliness and Washing Up”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Here’s a very old rhyme I found about being washed and about being dirty (it’s hard to imagine someone writing it nowadays):

    BEING WASHED.

    ” WHAT ! cry, little Boy, when you’re washed !
    To be sure,” said Mamma, “you’re in joke !”
    Then Edward looked up much ashamed,
    And was quiet as soon as she spoke.
    “Why, would you be dirty,” said she,
    ” And keep filthy clothes on to wear ?
    Who’d kiss my dear Boy’s pretty face ;
    Or love him, or like to come near ?
    Be washed then, and made a nice child.”
    And offering her hand, as she stood,
    He kissed her, and smiled at his Nurse,
    And promised them both he’d be good.

  2. Rebecca Says:

    My personal favorite is “The Goops” by, I think, Burgess Meredith.

    “The Goops, they lick their fingers,
    The Goops, they lick their knives.
    They spill their broth on the tablecloth,
    They lead disgusting lives.

    The Goops, they talk while eating,
    And loud and fast they chew.
    And this is why I’m glad that I am not a Goop –
    Are you?”

    That second stanza veers away from cleanliness, I admit, but we always enjoyed reciting it when I was a child. Our family method involved dropping our voices about an octave on “disgusting.”

  3. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for pointing that out! Cool poem! I checked and it looks like it was written by Gelett Burgess and published in 1900.

    -Mama Lisa

  4. Lisa Says:

    Here’s another Goop poem about Acting Uncleanly…

    PERCIVAL B. SLOOP
    Acting Uncleanly

    Just look at
    Percival B. Sloop,
    A most unpleasant
    sort of Goop;
    He pokes his fingers
    in his nose
    And wipes his hands
    upon his clothes;
    He does a lot
    of things that you,
    I know, would never,
    never do!

  5. Lisa Says:

    At Project Gutenberg you can find THE GOOP DIRECTORY
    OF Juvenile Offenders Famous for their Misdeeds and Serving as a Salutary Example for all Virtuous Children
    .

    It has Goop poems for all sorts of good behaviors one might want to teach children.

    (From the link above you can either download it or go to Gutenberg’s online version of the book.)

  6. Lisa Says:

    Here’s another poem about cleanliness:

    GOOP! GOOP! GOOP!

    Goop! Goop! Goop!
    I wish you’d wash your face!
    Goop! Goop! Goop!
    Your hands are a disgrace!
    Goop! Goop! Goop!
    Put things back in their place!
    I wish you were polite,
    Instead of a
    Goop! Goop! Goop!

    This one comes from another Goop book that’s at Project Gutenberg called MORE GOOPS and How Not to Be Them: A Manual of Manners for Impolite Infants.

  7. shirin manocha Says:

    i have no comments but this poem i remember is bits of paper-
    Bits of paper, Bits of paper
    lying on the floor, lying on the floor
    pick them up, pick them up……………………………………
    please if you remember please reply

  8. Loula Says:

    Hey, thanks for the help with the rhymes! Here is a song I found this week:
    Wash, wash, wash, your hands play our handy game rub and scrub, scrub and rub germs go down the drain HEY! Wash, Wash, Wash your hands play our handy game rub and scrub, scrub and rub dirt goes down the drain HEY! (on the melody of “row, row, row your boat…gently down the stream…)

  9. Loula Says:

    Lisa, I’m urgently also looking for stories. (summaries will do.)
    The five themes are:
    1. Washing hands
    2. Brushing teeth/anything about dental care
    3. Wiping of noses
    4. Washing of the whole body
    5. Toilet/ potty-training routine

    Please help?!?

  10. Lisa Says:

    There’s an online book called Oh, What a Mess by Hans Wilhelm. about a pig family that learns to clean their home and themselves.

  11. Lisa Says:

    Here’s another poem I found called Washing and Dressing:

    Ah! why will my dear little girl be so cross,
    And cry, and look sulky and pout?
    To lose her sweet smile is a terrible loss,
    I can’t even kiss her without.

    You say you don’t like to be washed and be drest
    But would you be dirty and foul?
    Come, drive that long sob from your dear little breast,
    And clear your sweet face from its scowl.

    If the water is cold, and the comb hurts your head,
    And the soap has got into your eye,
    Will the water grow warmer for all that you’ve said?
    And what good will it do you to cry?

    It is not to tease you, and hurt you, my sweet,
    But only for kindness and care,
    That I wash you and dress you, and make you look neat,
    And comb out your tanglesome hair.

    I don’t mind the trouble, if you would not cry,
    But pay me for all with a kiss;
    That’s right, take the towel and wipe your wet eye;
    I thought you’d be good after this.

  12. Rachna Dargan Says:

    Dear Lisa, the story link that you hv given above is really good….but can u help me with some short story …say about a few lines….?

    Specifically on the topic…I keep my body clean…

    thanks

  13. Lisa Says:

    Here’s a strange one…

    Dirty Jim

    There was one little Jim,
    ‘Tis reported of him,
    And must be to his lasting disgrace,
    That he never was seen
    With hands at all clean,
    Nor yet ever clean was his face.

    His friends were much hurt
    To see so much dirt,
    And often they made him quite clean;
    But all was in vain,
    He got dirty again,
    And not at all fit to be seen.

    It gave him no pain
    To hear them complain,
    Nor his own dirty clothes to survey;
    His indolent mind
    No pleasure could find
    In tidy and wholesome array.

    The idle and bad,
    Like this little lad,
    May love dirty ways, to be sure;
    But good boys are seen,
    To be decent and clean,
    Although they are ever so poor.

    Jane Taylor (1783-1824)

  14. Manjusha V Says:

    Hi! Can someone help with some poems on any of the following topics
    1) Punctuality
    2) Obedience
    3) Tidiness
    This is for my 5 year old daughter.
    Thanks!!

  15. Elizabeth Says:

    Hey I am looking for songs or rhymes that have to do with teaching young children personal space- any resources would be welcome!

    Thanks!

  16. Lisa Says:

    I just came across this saying:

    Have a place for everything and everything in its place.

    A little on topic.

  17. zak Says:

    Hi! Love the poems..
    Could you please write me a poem about
    Keeping our hands clean…

    It’s for my little sister..Thanks..

  18. zak Says:

    When could i get the poem??

  19. Parmen Says:

    hey can u guys help me with poems on “my clean hands”

  20. lolly Says:

    there a song Ihad learnt and forgotten it goes like this”we got to have clean hands(cllap clap) we got to have clean hands(clap calp). the reason why i sing this song is we want a land that clean and strong that why we have to have clean clean hands.
    does any one know more

  21. jev galme Says:

    hi! can you make me a poem about the value of cleanliness? i really need it for my project

  22. Deepti Says:

    could you please tell me a poem on “keeping your room clean”.

  23. Lisa Says:

    Here’s a Goop poem about keeping your room neat…

    Esau Pound – Leaving Things Around

    When you’re finished
    with your play,
    Do you put
    your toys away?
    Do you put
    away your hat,
    And your coat,
    and things like that?
    Or, are you
    like Esau Pound?
    He’s the Goop
    who leaves things ’round!

    Anyone else know of any neatness poems?

  24. Lisa Says:

    Here’s a short little poem about washing hands:

    Mother says, and of course she knows.
    That clean hands and face.
    Make me fresh as a rose.

  25. Tholoana Says:

    For sharing kitchens:

    (I just made this up so bare with me. Also used one of the one liners mentioned above)

    have a place for everything and everything in its place
    you found the kitchen neat dont leave it a disgrace
    when you done on the counter, the stove and the floor
    wipe up all your crumbs, your oils, and spills galore

  26. Lisa Says:

    Here’s some more oldies….

    I updated this one it was so old-fashioned:

    Good Health Song
    Tune “Twinkle Little Star.”

    Healthly children everywhere,
    Exercise and breathe fresh air,
    Soap and water we have seen,
    They keep hands and faces clean.
    Healthy children often smile,
    As they stop to rest a while,
    Learning each day as they should,
    To take time to eat pure food.
    Healthy children bow to you,
    We are very happy too,
    See the tooth brush on parade,
    Of the germs we’re not afraid.
    Healthy children all in turn,
    Say we have so much to learn,
    To stay healthy is the best plan,
    And we all know that we can.
    Healthly children everywhere,
    Exercise and breathe fresh air.

    *****

    Song to the tune of Oh Dear! What Can the Matter Be?

    I Oh dear, what is the remedy,
    Oh dear, what is the remedy,
    Oh dear, what is the remedy,
    Children so careless are we,
    We promised to brush all our teeth every morning,
    We promised to brush all our teeth every morning,
    We promised to brush all our teeth every morning,
    We’re very forgetful you see.

    2 Oh dear, what shall become of us,
    Oh dear, what shall become of us,
    Oh dear, what shall become of us,
    Poor health will folllow we know,
    To take frequent baths now we all have had warning,
    To take frequent baths now we all have had warning.
    To take frequent baths now we all have had warning,
    We’ll not longer be careless as can be.

    *****

    Towels and soap, where there’s life there’s hope,
    That children will keep clean.
    Towels and soap, where there’s life there’s hope,
    To try for Good Health we mean.

    *****

    Little tooth brushes clean and new.
    We can never stand abuse,
    But were made for daily use.

  27. Abdirahman omar abdille Says:

    Kindly send me asong,apoem n askit about cleanliness for aproject work thanx

  28. Debora Says:

    I am so fed up with people going to toilet and Not washing their hands,
    so I am busy with hanging rymhes and pictures in our little toilet to encourage people to wash their hands.
    since there is no sink in the toilet room visitors have to come to the kitchen and ask if they can wash their hands, which i really appreciate.
    Can any of you provide a rhyme which contains something as;

    Water, soap and fresh towel … ask in the kitchen
    Free of charge!

    I know it doesn’t sound good,
    but since English is not my mothertongue, rhyming is rather difficult that is why i am asking your help

  29. niru Says:

    kindly help me i need skit on soap and cleanlness age 4yrs for our project in class.

  30. Betsy Says:

    I’m looking for the little quip that has the words “if it’s dirty clean it up”, “if it’s full, empty it”…etc. There are two are three more lines in this. I need to post a sign in my house that tells all the rules!

  31. Lisa Says:

    I found these online:

    “If it’s dirty, clean it up. Don’t wait until later, do it now. It makes for a more peaceful house.”

    Or

    “If something is broke; try to fix it….if it’s dirty; clean it up…if it’s in the wrong place; put it back where it belongs.”

    Anyone else?

  32. Betsy Says:

    This is close, but not it. It is 4 or 5 lines in the meter of lines I’ve written.

  33. PRABHA Says:

    Really all the poems are very useful…
    could u pls help me with some skit or debate on the topic cleanliness …..for 4th std students assembly program .. pls help me
    thanks

  34. Sweny Says:

    Cleanliness cleanliness
    It is next to godliness
    Keeping our earth clean
    Is our duty, and has ever been.

    Throw the litter in dustbin
    Avoid using polythene
    Do not throw garbage in water
    No matter whatever.

    Keeping our earth clean
    Is our duty, and has ever been.

  35. Tonya Says:

    Clean clean clean the house ,
    Get the mess all gone
    And when ur done
    With all ur chores
    Ull have a happy home!

    Just made it up… May work may not.. lol

    To : row row row ur boat.

  36. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  37. H.L. Taglio Says:

    My mother created this concept when I was a child of “The Cleaning Fairy.” I started doing this with my kids and saw the huge results and benefits of it. I started sharing it with my friends and neighbors…and they all use it in their homes as well… their kids’ rooms are a non-issue now.

    I wrote this concept into a storybook for my kids to have and to be able to share this fun cleaning trick with other moms (www.cleaningfairybook.com) as it is SO much more fun than nagging and IT WORKS! :)

    Here is a little sample of the beginning of story rhyme:

    A room full of toys
    in disarray
    showed careless chaos
    and signs of decay.

    A tired mommy
    sat down to cry;
    she’d tried coaxing and bribing
    and giving “the eye.”

    She’d threatened and yelled
    ’till her voice would boom,
    begging her children
    to pick up their room.

    Finally exhausted
    she let out a sigh,
    familiar to ears
    of the fairy nearby.

    This fairy arrived
    when she heard Mommy’s cries,
    and then climbed up her knee
    to look in her eyes.

    The fairy’s eyes glistened
    as she gave a warm smile,
    and revealed a secret
    that’s been proven worthwhile…

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