san·​i·​tize ˈsa-nə-ˌtīz How to pronounce sanitize (audio)
sanitized; sanitizing

transitive verb

: to reduce or eliminate pathogenic agents (such as bacteria) on the surfaces of (something) : to make (something) sanitary (as by cleaning or disinfecting)
You can use sponges and dishcloths safely if you take care to sanitize them, says Dean Cliver, a professor of food safety at the University of California, Davis.Nick Gallo
City Sanitarian Lauri Sorel said no soot was found and restaurants only had to sanitize food service surfaces with a mixture of bleach and water.The Springfield (Massachusetts) Union-News
He had every store and delivery truck sanitized, and he set up a department to make unannounced health inspections of stores, vowing to temporarily shut down any slackers for cleanup.Suzanne Hoppough
: to make (something, such as text) more acceptable by removing, hiding, or minimizing any unpleasant, undesirable, or unfavorable parts
The memories—and memoirs—of former intelligence hands tend to be selective as well as sanitized, either by the author or by some form of official censorship or both, and the historian must be wary.Ian Black and Benny Morris
They were also forced to "sanitize" reports that might show early church leaders or the official doctrine in a dim light.Robert Lindsey
Once "friended" by a colleague, people feel compelled to employ privacy features—which itself can be a snub—or to sanitize their online profiles—which is akin to hiding something under the bed.Jared Sandberg
Published in Munich in 1987, the diaries are a major tool of that school of historians whose purpose is to relativize, normalize, sanitize the crimes of the Third Reich.Peter Padfield
And the movie sanitizes his behavior as well. (It manages to suggest that he's a philanderer without ever once showing him with another woman.)Entertainment Weekly
… civilian casualties are referred to as "collateral damage"—a stunningly abstract and sanitized way to refer to mangled human bodies.Carol E. Cohn
sanitization noun

Examples of sanitize in a Sentence

The housekeeping staff sanitized the bathroom. They're trying to sanitize the news.
Recent Examples on the Web No matter how anyone ignores or sanitizes it, after all, part of the appeal of luxury goods is the difficulty or danger involved in service of the buyer’s pleasure. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 7 Feb. 2024 Plus, the drum is large enough for a king sized comforter, and there are extra handy features like delay start up to 12 hours, a pre-treat water station with faucet, and a sanitizing cycle. Kat De Naoum, Better Homes & Gardens, 1 Feb. 2024 To make the experience convenient, all pieces come in a cute pink storage case that includes a sanitizing basin for easy cleaning before and after use. Jenn Barthole, Glamour, 23 Jan. 2024 The restaurant couldn’t measure the sanitizing mix at the triple sink, dishwasher or for wiping cloths, which are supposed to be kept in a sanitizing solution. David J. Neal, Miami Herald, 23 Jan. 2024 Just be sure to consistently sanitize your foot bath after using this soak. Sherri Gordon, Verywell Health, 30 Jan. 2024 Corrective Actions: Ensure sanitizer used to wipe surfaces is at adequate concentration and that dishes are being sanitized. Harriet Ramos, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 27 Jan. 2024 Their goal: sanitize slavery and its foul consequences. Sun Sentinel Editorial Board, Sun Sentinel, 2 Jan. 2024 Disinfecting wipes typically sanitize surfaces fairly quickly, requiring the surface to stay visibly wet for only around 10 to 15 seconds. Jessica Comstock, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sanitize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin sanitas

First Known Use

1836, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sanitize was in 1836

Dictionary Entries Near sanitize

Cite this Entry

“Sanitize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


san·​i·​tize ˈsan-ə-ˌtīz How to pronounce sanitize (audio)
sanitized; sanitizing
: to make sanitary (as by cleaning or sterilizing)

Medical Definition


transitive verb
variants also British sanitise
sanitized also British sanitised; sanitizing also British sanitising
: to make sanitary (as by cleaning or sterilizing)
sanitize all surfaces with a solution of bleach and water
sanitization noun
also British sanitisation

More from Merriam-Webster on sanitize

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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