When you visit a store to purchase items such as clothes and furniture, you will notice that leather-based ones are more expensive. For instance, a leather-upholstered couch is much more expensive than an ordinary one. This raises some critical questions such as:

  • Is your leather item at risk of getting bed bugs?
  • What do you do if your expensive leather belongings get bed bugs?

This post answers these questions and others related to bed bug infestations and leather. When you finish reading it, you will not have to worry about losing any leather belongings to bed bugs.

Do bed bugs like leather?

Bed bugs don’t like leather much like ordinary fabrics such as cotton. The slickness of the leather’s surface makes it hard for bed bugs to climb. A bed bug’s feet have tiny hooks that allow it to climb most surfaces with ease. Since leather does not have anything for the feet to clutch, it’s challenging for bed bugs to navigate it.

Bed bugs prefer to find a home on a friendlier surface than leather. Nonetheless, if you sleep on a leather bed, chances are that bed bugs wouldn’t let fabric stop them from feeding. The best way to keep yourself safe is to watch carefully and perform regular checks for bed bugs.

Can Bed Bugs get in leather?

Bed bugs get in leather only if they have tears and cracks. Bed bugs cannot burrow through fabric like other popular pests, such as carpet beetles, can do so. Nevertheless, most pieces of furniture are made in such a way that leaves cracks and crevices in various parts. Leather clothing may also have tears on the seams. Bed bugs may not get into leather, but they can hide in such openings.

If you use an old, torn mattress, bedding, and couch cushions, your bed bug situation may worsen. Bed bugs can get into such tears, and the gaps between furniture multiply and turn into a full-blown infestation. Considering this, it is in your best interest to seal all cracks and crevices even if your leather is not torn.

Leather items that can get Bed Bugs

There are different leather belongings around your home that can get bed bugs. Here are some that you should know:

Leather furniture

Leather furniture is as vulnerable to bed bug infestations as any other belongings in your home. Seams, cracks, and crevices in furniture offer sufficient hiding spots for these blood-sucking bugs. Furniture in high-risk areas such as your bedroom stands a higher chance of contracting bed bugs. Bed bugs will most certainly find it appealing if you spend a lot of time on your leather couch.

Where to check for bed bugs in leather furniture

While noting that bed bugs do not like leather, you must remember that most leather furniture pieces have fabric undersides. More often than not, bed bugs crawl into your furniture through such fabric undersides. If you suspect a bed bug problem in your home, you must exhaustively inspect your furniture for bed bugs.

Leather clothing

Bed bugs will infest clothing regardless of the type of fabric they are made from. In fact, bed bugs often get into your home by hitchhiking on clothes. Leather jackets and shoes are the most popular pieces of clothing available in the market today.

A leather jacket is generally more resistant to bed bugs than jackets with ordinary fabrics. The bed bugs are likelier to slide off a leather jacket since their feet cannot clutch on the material. Nonetheless, a leather jacket is not 100% bedbug-proof because it has seams, linings, and pockets. Bed bugs can exploit such spots and make themselves a home in your leather jacket.

Bed bugs can also live in leather shoes, although it is a highly unlikely scenario. It often takes a massive bed bug infestation in your home for bed bugs to infest your shoes. Keeping your leather shoes beside the bed also puts them at a higher risk of bed bugs.

Leather car seats

Often, we forget that our cars are also vulnerable to bed bugs like most belongings. Bed bugs can get into your car in several ways, and its leather seats do not deter them. A Griffin Pest Solutions publication suggests that common hiding spots for bed bugs in a car include:

  • Under your car’s leather seats
  • Upholstery
  • Between car seats

Identifying Bed Bugs on leather

The best way to identify bed bugs on any fabric, including leather, is to look for signs of bed bugs. Here are some common signs of bed bugs:

  • Bed bug bites: Statistics show that bed bug bites are the most reported sign of bed bugs at 92%. Bed bug bites typically appear as itchy red welts organized in a cluster. Nonetheless, you must remember that bed bites resemble bites from other common pests
  • Rusty stains: Bed bugs leave behind rusty stains comprising fecal matter and blood
  • Exoskeletons: Bed bugs share exoskeletons during various stages of their life cycle. Investing in a UV flashlight to help find exoskeletons would be wise because they emit a blue light when subjected to UV rays.
  • Bed bug eggs: A single bed bug lays hundreds of eggs in its lifetime. Bed bug eggs look like tiny grains of rays.
  • Live bed bugs: A live bed bug is the most conclusive evidence, but finding one is challenging.

Getting rid of Bed Bugs in leather furniture

If you have bed bugs in your home, cleaning everything, including furniture, rugs, beds, and clothing, is best. Here are ways to get rid of bed bugs in your leather furniture:


Steam cleaning is an excellent way to get rid of bed bugs in furniture. Bed bugs die when subjected to temperatures over 140°F (60°C). There are several quality steam cleaners with various nozzles, large water capacity, and the ability to reach high temperatures that you can use.

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic power that destroys a bed bug’s exoskeleton. To use it, sprinkle it on the edges of your leather furniture and along all cracks and crevices. You must note that diatomaceous earth only works when it comes in contact with bed bugs.


A vacuum cleaner helps you to reach into cracks and crevices in your leather furniture. To achieve the best outcome, thoroughly vacuum every nook and cranny in your furniture and surrounding spaces.

Vacuuming your leather couch helps to remove bed bugs

Dispose of the vacuum bag appropriately by double bagging it in airtight polythene before disposal. If you use a bagless vacuum cleaner, take it outside before emptying the canister.

Getting rid of Bed Bugs in leather clothing

Treatment methods that work on leather furniture may not deliver favorable results when dealing with clothing. Here are some methods you can use to get rid of bed bugs on leather clothing:


Unlike most fabrics, you should not wash leather clothing in a washing machine. The best alternative for treating bed bugs in leather clothing is freezing. Temperatures below 0°F (-18° Celsius) kill bed bugs, but more bulky clothes require a longer exposure time of up to 4 days.

It is best to place the clothing in a bag and leave it in a freezer for a couple of days. Inspect the bag to ensure that it does not have any tears or openings. This will ensure that you do not have dead bed bugs in your freezer.

Dry cleaning

Dry cleaning your leather clothing can help to get rid of bed bugs. The chemicals used in the dry cleaning process kill bed bugs. That said, you must check with your local dry cleaner to ascertain whether they clean bed bug-infested clothing.

Final thoughts

Leather is not a bed bug’s ideal home, but your leather belongings can house them. Bed bugs are ultimately searching for food, meaning they can infest leather if it gives them access to food. It is, therefore, in your best interest to remain vigilant and proactive by:

  • Installing effective bed bug monitoring tools around your home
  • Deploy effective bed bug treatment options immediately if you suspect an infestation.


Why can’t you wash leather clothing in a washing machine?

Unlike most common fabrics, leather shrinks, cracks and warps when put into a washing machine.

Can bed bugs live on leather?

Bed bugs can live on leather, but they are less likely to make it their home because the material is not climber-friendly.

Can bed bugs bite through leather?

Bed bugs cannot bite through leather, but they can get into just about any item by squeezing themselves into tiny tears, cracks, and crevices.

Should you get rid of your leather furniture if it has bed bugs?

No, you should not get rid of infested furniture. Instead, deploy the bed bug treatment methods outlined in this post. They include:

  • Steaming
  • Using Diatomaceous Earth
  • Vacuuming