Definition of disinfect in English:



[with object]
  • Clean (something), especially with a chemical, in order to destroy bacteria.

    ‘he disinfected and dressed the cut on his forehead’
    ‘chlorine has been used to disinfect water in pools for many years’
    • ‘And once you bring home your new pet, you need to be ready for years of daily food preparation, cleaning and disinfecting the cage.’
    • ‘The plan is still under discussion, but the idea is to move people temporarily to tent camps while workers clean and disinfect one neighbourhood at a time.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, the cost to clean up and disinfect farms in Dumfries and Galloway was 39,000 per farm.’
    • ‘Cleaning and disinfecting the holding pens between occupancy by groups of pigs might also be effective.’
    • ‘Clean and disinfect the hot zones in your home - the kitchen and bathroom - on a regular basis.’
    • ‘Destroy badly diseased plants, and thoroughly clean and disinfect their containers before reusing them.’
    • ‘The main reason for the long delay has been the time taken to completely clean and disinfect the farm.’
    • ‘Cleansing and disinfecting stations will be established within the area for vehicles entering and leaving the buffer zone site.’
    • ‘Clean and disinfect toilets after they're used by the person with diarrhea.’
    • ‘For optimum household cleanliness and health, clean and disinfect your shower stalls and glass shower doors at least once a week.’
    • ‘I cleaned out and disinfected their compartment, and put in fresh bedding and put back some of their previous twigs and straw nesting materials.’
    • ‘Clean and disinfect the environment, frequently in affected wards and particularly in wards reopening to new admissions’
    • ‘The same procedure for cleaning and disinfecting this critical equipment must be followed in every location in which anesthesia is administered.’
    • ‘Today doctors use medicinal maggots to clean wounds by dissolving dead tissue and to disinfect them by killing bacteria.’
    • ‘Inspect and let soil dry out and clean and disinfect saucers under pots.’
    • ‘Offences include a lack of foot baths available at farms and a failure to properly clean and disinfect vehicles.’
    • ‘She uses a solution of equal parts vinegar and water to cut grease, keep kitchen windows clean, and disinfect counters.’
    • ‘Be sure to properly clean the wall and disinfect it against fungus, mildew and bacterial growth.’
    • ‘He will also have spent hundreds of man-hours cleaning and disinfecting his machinery and vehicles, all in a bid to keep his farm clear of the disease.’
    • ‘Keep bird baths clean by disinfecting them occasionally with a solution of one part household bleach to nine parts water works well’
    sterilize, sanitize, clean, cleanse, purify, decontaminate
    View synonyms


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘rid of infection’): from French désinfecter, from dés- (expressing reversal) + infecter ‘to infect’.