How to Get Your Kids to Wash Their Hands… and Love It!

Let’s face it, kids are dirty. So we all know how important it is to have kids wash their hands, especially after using the bathroom or playing outside. Aside from a healthy, vitamin-rich diet, it’s one of the best ways to keep kids from getting sick. But we also know we’re so over the 10 minutes of negotiation that can precede it. Use these mom-developed techniques to keep your kids clean — and you sane.

1. Sing a Song:


Experts say you need to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds to really get the germs off, but studies find that most kids leave the water running for less than five seconds. Singing a song is one way to make them wash longer:



  • Use a kitchen timer or an hourglass to make it fun and accurate


  • Ask them to count to 10 or 20 slowly


  • Make up your own washing hands song like:

Front and back

Front and back

In between

In between

Rub them both together

Rub them both together

Now they’re clean

Now they’re clean


  1. Make it Easy for Them to do it Themselves

Children try hard to be independent, so make it so they can reach everything they need. Set up a stool, a special towel, and a soap dispenser within easy reach so that they can take pride in doing it all by themselves (and you can get back to what you were doing).



  1. Make it Fun


There are many different types of soap out there – some smell like yummy fruit or bubble gum, some have their favorite cartoon character on it, and some even change colors! Choose one that your child will enjoy the most. You could also purchase an automatic soap dispenser. Many kids love to make the soap come out if it’s automatic. Plus, they don’t have to touch the dispenser with dirty hands!


  1. Make Your Own Soap



  •    1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
  •    1 tsp. table salt
  •    1/2 cup liquid soap (e.g. Johnson’s baby wash, Dr. Brunner’s, or you can make your own using a recipe such as the one here:
  •    3/4 cup boiling water
  •    Optional: food coloring or fragrance (just a few drops of each)


  •    Large mixing bowl
  •    Small mixing bowl
  •    Measuring cups
  •    Fork/whisk
  •    Rubber spatula
  •    Funnel, pipette, or baster
  •    Molds, such as ice cube trays, decorative food molds, or cookie trays (for cutting custom shapes using cookie cutters and other items)


Step 1:  Open the Gelatin

Put gelatin into the large mixing bowl.

Step 2:  Boil Water

After water has started to boil, carefully measure out 3/4 cup and add to the small mixing bowl.

Step 3:  Make Salt Water

Stir salt into the water until completely dissolved (a minute or two).

Step 4:  Mix Water and Gelatin

Add the salty water to the large mixing bowl.  Stir until gelatin is completely dissolved (a minute or two).

Step 5:  Add Soap

Pour soap into the water/gelatin mix.  Stir thoroughly.

Step 6:  Personalize Your Soap

Mix in color and/or scent.

Step 7:  Mold Your Soap

Using the funnel, pipette, or baster, pour or squeeze the mixture into your molds. If using a cookie sheet, pour onto the sheet to a depth of at least ¼ inch.

Step 8: Let It Set  

Refrigerate for at least 1.5 hours.

Step 9:  Demold

Remove soap from the molds.  If you are using a cookie sheet, cut soap shapes using cookie cutters, glasses, and other items.  Stay clean and enjoy!


  •    Mix the water and gelatin thoroughly.  You must mix out all of the lumps to make a smooth soap texture.
  •    Press the mold gently and peel it back a little to get the soap out.
  •    Get sudsy & enjoy!

About the Author

Becca Greenwald 

Health-conscientious (and tired) mama to two adorable little boys, writing from my own experiences. @beccababybrody

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