[ san-i-tahy-zer ]
/ ˈsæn ɪˌtaɪ zər /
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a substance or preparation for killing germs, designed for use especially on food-processing equipment.
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Origin of sanitizer

First recorded in 1945–50; sanitize + -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does sanitizer mean?

Sanitizer is a substance or fluid designed to kill germs on skin and objects.

To sanitize means to clean something by removing the dirt or destroying the germs on it. Food service operations use sanitizer to clean their equipment so that food doesn’t become contaminated with bacteria or other stuff that shouldn’t be in it. Sanitizer also refers to household products (especially hand sanitizer) that are used to prevent the spread of disease by killing germs on surfaces and skin.

Example: We use industrial-grade sanitizer in the restaurant kitchen to keep our equipment free of germs.

Where does sanitizer come from?

The first records of the word sanitizer in English come from the mid-1900s. Sanitizer is made up of the root word sanitize, from the Latin root sānit(ās), meaning “health,” and the suffix -ize, used in creating verbs. The suffix -er indicates that it’s a noun that performs the action of sanitizing.

Sanitizers aim to kill germs directly, which sets them apart from soaps or cleansers, which often work by removing germs from skin rather than killing them.

Hand sanitizer similar to the kind we use today was first developed around the 1940s to help factory workers remove grease from their hands. Hand sanitizer is usually alcohol-based and evaporates quickly, making it very useful when washing with soap and water is not convenient or possible.

Sanitizers used for food service are often required to kill at least 99 percent of all germs and be low in toxicity.

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What are some other forms of sanitizer?

  • sanitize (verb)
  • sanitized (adjective and past tense verb)
  • unsanitized (adjective)
  • sanitization (noun)

What are some synonyms for sanitizer?

What are some words that share a root or word element with sanitizer?

What are some words that often get used in discussing sanitizer?


How is sanitizer used in real life?

You’ll most often hear the word sanitizer used in the context of its industrial use, especially food service, and of its use as a household item for keeping your hands clean.




Try using sanitizer!

Is sanitizer used correctly in the following sentence?

When I work in the kitchen, I always clean my equipment with sanitizer before and after use.

How to use sanitizer in a sentence