Can Bed Bugs Live in Leather? Do They Like It? 

Updated on by Jared Belson | Please note that there may be affiliate links on this page.

A bed bug infestation can be a nightmare to deal with! Are these pests less attracted to leather than to fabric? Will leather furniture stop a bed bug infestation?

Do Bed Bugs Like Leather?

Bed bugs can’t climb on leather due to its slick surface. Their feet have tiny hooks that usually allow them to be agile climbers. Since leather does not have any place for their feet to grab, they can’t navigate it very easily.

Bed bugs would much rather find a home on a cloth surface, than leather. However, if your bed is leather, and the bed bugs want to feed, they aren’t going to let a little thing like leather get in their way!

In short, bed bugs would prefer to live on a fabric surface, but they are willing to make themselves at home on leather, just to get close to a meal.

Can I Have Bed Bugs in My Leather Furniture?

You can have a bed bug infestation in leather furniture. If there are any seams or crevices, the bed bugs will find their way in. If you are spending a lot of time on your leather couch, it will be appealing to the bed bugs, because they are attracted to you!

Many pieces of leather furniture have a fabric underside. The bed bugs can make their way into the furniture through the fabric. They will also find any tiny tear in the leather to permeate.

If you have a bed bug infestation in your home, you need to thoroughly check your furniture for bed bugs, even if you own leather furniture. Look closely for any tears in the leather where bed bugs could be hiding.

Can I Have Bed Bugs in Leather Clothing?

Bed bugs will infest clothing. In fact, that is often how you bring bed bugs into your home. If you are in close contact with a contaminated space, the bed bugs can stow away in your clothing, and you may unwittingly bring them into your home.

Leather Jackets

A leather jacket, or other leather clothing item, will generally be more impervious to bed bugs than a cloth jacket. Since the bed bugs can’t grip the leather with their feet, they will most likely slide off.

However, since leather jackets do have seams, lining, and pockets, they are not bed bug-proof. Bed bugs can get into those cracks or fabric pieces and make themselves at home.

Leather Shoes

Bed bugs can live in shoes, though it is more unlikely. If you have a massive bed bug infestation, it is probably best to assume your shoes are infested, as well. However, unless you keep your shoes right next to your bed, the bed bugs probably aren’t too interested.

How to Remove Bed Bugs from Leather

If you have bed bugs in your home, it is best to treat all furniture, rugs, beds, clothing, and bed bug hiding places to ensure that the bed bugs are gone! Here is how to treat the leather items in your home.

Leather Furniture

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is a great way to deal with a bed bug problem! Bed bugs cannot survive temperatures over 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit. I recommend this steam cleaner. Look for a steam cleaner with a variety of nozzles, a large water capacity, and the ability to reach a high temperature.

Check out Does Steam Kill Bed Bugs? – This complete guide will teach you how to effectively eradicate bed bugs with steam.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is made from crushed diatoms or fossilized sea creatures. This non-toxic powder feels soft to the touch but has microscopic jagged edges that destroy the shells of bed bugs. Sprinkle it around the edges of your leather furniture and along cracks and crevices.

Read How To Use Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Bed Bugs for step-by-step instructions.


A good vacuum cleaner can help you reach into cracks in your furniture. Thoroughly vacuum every part of the couch and the surrounding area. If your vacuum has a bag, double bag it, and dispose of it outside of your home immediately.

If you have a bagless vacuum, take it outside before you empty the canister. Carefully dump the contents into a bag (or two!), then thoroughly wash the inside of your vacuum canister with soap and hot water.

Tidy Up

Remove all loose blankets and pillows from your couch. Bag everything, then carefully place all items in the washing machine. Use the hottest setting. Dry everything on high. You may want to repeat this process.

Leather Clothing

Leather clothing should not be washed in a washing machine. However, there are other alternatives. Bed bugs can not survive extreme heat or cold.

The best way to kill bed bugs in leather clothing is to place the clothing in a bag, and then leave the clothing in the freezer for a few hours or overnight. Make sure the bag is free from rips and tears, so you don’t have dead bed bugs in your freezer!

Some dry cleaners will clean clothing that is infested with bed bugs. The chemicals used in the dry cleaning process will kill bed bugs. Check with your local dry cleaner to see if they will clean bed bug-infested clothing. For more information, read Does Dry Cleaning Kill Bed Bugs?

Call a Professional

Bed bugs can be extremely difficult to eradicate! If you have a widespread infestation or are unable to get rid of the bed bugs on your own, it may be time to call a trusted exterminator.

Final Thoughts

While leather is not a bed bug’s preferred home, they can infest it! Bed bugs are ultimately attracted to a source of food and will do just about anything to get a meal. If you suspect your home has bed bugs, take immediate action to get rid of these pests!

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