How to Clean a Santa Suit

When Santa returns from his round-the-world trip his suit is full of chimney soot, cookie crumbs, and reindeer hair. Wonder how Santa gets his suit so clean for next Christmas? His elves seek out the best dry cleaner in Toronto – Gibson’s Cleaners. For over 90 years, Gibson’s has cleaned Santa Suits for Toronto's mall Santa’s, holiday parties, and of course – the real Santa himself. Cleaning a Santa Suit takes professionalism, an eye for detail, and love for Christmas, all of which are top of mind at Gibson’s.

When a Santa suit comes to Gibson’s for its annual cleaning, it’s always in need of a solid clean. Suits are hand inspected by a garment care professional to identify stains, rips, or frays. Santa gains a few pounds over the year and this added weight can put stress on the suit’s seams. When slight tearing occurs, the suit needs to be repaired by Gibson’s in-house seamstress.

Once the suit is inspected, it’s sent to a professional dry cleaner who treats the soiled areas with special cleaning agents. Soot stains are treated with a grease removing product which can also get rid of lipstick stains or a goodbye kiss from Mrs. Clause. Milk or cookie stains are treated with an enzymatic stain remover which breaks down the natural proteins found in food. The garments are then put inside a professional dry-cleaning machine that uses an eco-friendly solvent. Though dry cleaners have received negative attention for using harmful chemicals (PERC), most dry cleaners today, like Gibson's, use environmentally friendly solvents, with the most popular being a silicone-based product called GreenEarth.

To get that finished and glossy look, a Santa Suit needs to be pressed and hand finished using top of the line equipment. The best presses come from the Japanese market, who have led the industry with beautiful innovative pressing equipment for over 50 years. A Santa hat will receive a special steam and the suit’s buckles will be polished with a cloth until its hardware glistens.

Santa’s suit is packaged with biodegradable plastic for transport to the North Pole, but once it arrives, Gibson’s recommends removing it for storage. Afterall, it needs to breath over the summer months

Linley McConnell

Written by Linley McConnell