Poems, Songs and Rhymes about Cleanliness and Washing Up

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

This article 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, United Kingdom, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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

  1. Lisa Says:

    I found this following quote here:

    “Due to circumstances beyond our control, our butler and maid have resigned. You cooperation in helping keep this place clean will be greatly appreciated.”

  2. Teresa McDaniel Says:

    i’m looking for a poem that i did in 5th grade. it starts out with What is all this washing about, from morning till noon day in and day out. i can’t remember the rest other than it’s about 2 little girls who get dirty and have to wash there face and hands and i think there clothes and there not happy about it. we did this in a school talent show. could you help me, i’v been looking and no luck. thanks for your time .

  3. vanessa watkis Says:

    it was very helpfull for my roleplay thank you guys

  4. Albert Says:

    DO you have any humorous poem for class 7

  5. Jamie T Says:

    WHat about the one about soap or something from pre-k?
    “Not a lot. Just a drop”

  6. Ruby Says:

    I know this may never get read but I thought I would take a shot. I need a short poem put together asking people to please put the ice scoop back where they got it from when using the ice machine. Most tend to drop it in the ice and as most of us know people don’t bother to wash their hands and germs spread quickly and we can’t through out all the ice. If anyone could help I would really appreciate it. It would probably rely largely on a poem about putting things back in their place.

  7. Patricia Bowen Says:

    Looking for origin and complete old English poem with following lines: Wash your face you dirty boy, or you will wear away your Granny’s joy.

    This is a poem my fathers mother used to say to him in the 1920’s.

    Thank you.

  8. Barbara Huet de Guerville Says:

    Here’s one: Who are you? A dirty old man! I’ve always been since the day I began. Mother and Father were dirty before me, Hot and cold water have never been o’er me.

  9. Susan Monroe Says:

    My spouse sings these words to the Calypso tune of Sonora:

    Brush, brush, brush your teethies
    Brush them up and down.
    Bruuuuush your teethies
    Brush them all around.

  10. I need a poem about laundry man for my 7 years boy!!! Says:

    Hii, all the poems are beautiful and easy to remember .. I need a small poem about laundry man for 2nd standard student.

  11. Susan Manderson Says:

    And this mindset, dating back to Victorian times, is why we’ve all got allergies today.

  12. Karen Puff Says:

    I just bought a vintage, red, child’s step stool, with white block letters. It starts-out saying,
    “Brush your teeth, wash your face…” and then after that, the white letters were worn-off. There are two more lines.
    Any ideas what the next two lines say?

  13. Lisa Says:

    Karen – Here are some lines I found on the internet that go with “Brush you teeth. Wash your face.”

    Comb your hair. (#1)

    Others:
    Comb your sleepy head.
    Give mom a hug.
    Wash your hands.
    Say your prayers.

    There’s also Anita Renfroe’s song called Momisms that’s sung to the William Tell Overture. It starts…

    Get up now, get up now, get up out of bed
    Wash your face, brush your teeth, comb your sleepy head
    Here’s your clothes and your shoes, hear the words I said
    Get up now, get up and make your bed…

  14. Melissa Says:

    I am sure it could use some refining, but my children and I just came up with this little rhyme to repeat as we leave each room…

    Every time I leave a space
    I’ll look around me just in case
    There are some items out of place
    That need to be replaced with grace

    I am not sure on the last line if it should be replaced, restored, put back, returned or some similar word… what is your opinion? :)

  15. Lisa Says:

    Nice Melissa!

  16. Melissa Says:

    New version…

    Every time I leave a space
    I’ll look around me just in case
    There are some items out of place
    That need to be replaced post haste!

    My husband wanted the word haste included! :)

  17. Melissa Says:

    Actually, “returned post haste” was the consensus! Have a wonderful day!

  18. Tonia Says:

    I LIKE THE SONG ‘THIS IS THE WAY WE WASH OUR HANDS’.
    ITS MY FAVORITE.
    I SING IT WITH THE LYRICS:
    THIS IS THE WAY WE WASH OUR HANDS, WASH OUR HANDS, WASH OUR HANDS,
    THIS IS THE WAY WE WASH OUR HANDS, BEFORE WE EAT OUR LUNCH. (OR WHATEVER ACTIVITY WE ARE ABOUT TO DO, OR ‘AFTER WE USE THE TOILET’)
    WE WASH OUR HANDS WITH SOAP AND WATER, SOAP AND WATER, WE WASH OUR HANDS WITH SOAP AND WATER TO GET OUR HANDS SO CLEAN.
    IT TAKES ABOUT 17 SECONDS TO SING SO ITS GOOD TO HELP IN TIMING 20 SECONDS OF PROPER HAND WASHING WHILE THEY’RE SCRUBBING.

  19. Martin Says:

    I remember a verse of a song taught to us in kindergarten titled “Bad Jimmy Germs” 60 years ago which apparently was an introduction to germ theory. It went something like “Bad Jimmy Germs are everywhere, they’re on the floor, they’re in the air! Just you watch out whatever you do, don’t let them get inside of you! If there was another verse or two about mitigating the adverse effects of Bad Jimmy Germs I’ve long forgotten it.

  20. Maureen Wineland Says:

    Does anyone have a copy or know where to get one of a vintage poem about soap? One of the lines is about getting things clean “but most of all me.”

  21. Maureen Wineland Says:

    Need the poem about SOAP. One of the lines is “most of all me.”

  22. Lisa Says:

    Maureen – It seems it might be an English translation of a French essay/poem called Le Savon by Francis Ponge (1899-1988). It was translated to English in the 60’s. You can read excerpts of it here and here. I hope this helps! -Mama Lisa

  23. Amanda Says:

    These are wonderful! And I’m so glad I read the comments! I copied many of them down, thank you!

  24. Ella Starr Says:

    How helpful that you mention this poem with Robert and his filthy hands. I want to start a new business this summer. I will find a good hand washing station service for this as well in my area.

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