Can Bed Bugs Live on Leather? | Know What to Look For

Written by Thomas Matthews

When we go to the store to purchase clothes, we often see that leather clothes are much more expensive than ordinary ones. It’s true that quality leather is durable and almost impossible to tear. But if you already have tears somewhere on your leather clothes or furniture, that’s when a new potential problem can arise – bed bug infestation.

Can bed bugs live on leather? Bed bugs can live in leather but they are less likely to conceal themselves there. They typically choose a hiding location that is simpler to get to and from but leather is not very conducive to climbing. Thus, they always prefer fabric instead of leather. However, if your leather furniture or piece of clothing has a tear, bed bugs can get inside.

In this article, we’re going to talk about bed bugs in leather and see if they can live or survive in various leather items, such as clothes and furniture. If you have leather furniture in your house, we suggest you keep reading, as this article will explain everything about bed bugs in leather, as well as ways of getting rid of them.

Do Bed Bugs Like Leather?

Bed bugs like everything that is close to their host and can be used as a harborage. The prime example of this is your bed because you use it for 5 to 10 hours, depending on your sleep time. If they can get inside it, this is going to be their primary harborage for attacking you during your sleep.

As for the leather, they don’t like it or dislike it. Instead, they prefer fabric over leather. But if your bed isn’t made of fabric, they’ll have zero problems attacking your leather bed. Of course, it’s harder for them to walk on leather but if they have their host nearby, leather is going to be the least of a problem.

Can Bed Bugs Get in Leather?

Can Bed Bugs Get in Leather

Bed bugs can get in leather but only if there are cracks. They can’t burrow since their body structure doesn’t allow them to do so. This means that if a structure is crack-free, bed bugs can’t get inside. Even if the material of your bed is crack-free, bed bugs could still crawl their way between these parts, regardless of the material.

If you have an old, torn mattress in your bed, the problem will additionally exacerbate, as bed bugs can now get inside the mattress, as well as between your bed parts. To digress, bed bugs can’t get in leather if it doesn’t have any cracks and tears.

Can Bed Bugs Climb on Leather?

Bed bugs can crawl across any kind of surface, whether it’s plastic, fabric, or leather. However, when crawling on leather, bed bugs are more noticeable and you can take measures to kill them as soon as you spot them.

Bed bugs can’t get inside the leather, so you’re safe, as long as your leather isn’t torn in some places. Remember that a very small tear in the material can let through a bed bug. If a hole is the same thickness as a credit card, that’s already more than enough for them to pass through.

Can Bed Bugs Stick to Leather?

Bed bugs can’t and won’t stick to the leather. The reason for this is that they prefer to be hidden away when they’re not feeding. Even in that case, bed bugs rarely spend their “free” time doing nothing. They mate, lay eggs, and prepare new harborages to infest.

Sticking isn’t something that bed bugs do, unlike ticks and fleas. When you’re peaceful and quiet, bed bugs will come out of the harborage, fill up their guts, and get out – hit & run.

Many insects prefer fabric over any other flat material, such as leather. Fabric that’s used for bed has tiny bumps, allowing bed bugs to stick onto the surface more firmly. The leather, on the other hand, is much flatter and doesn’t allow bed bugs to stick to it.

Will Bed Bugs Live in Leather Furniture?

Do Bed Bugs Hide in Leather Couches?

Do Bed Bugs Hide in Leather Couches

Bed bugs do hide in leather couches and they love it as much as every other couch out there! Couches are some of the most popular bed bug harborages, as many of us still use them for sleeping.

Remember that bed bugs will still feed off of you while you’re wide awake and you won’t feel anything because of their pain-relieving substance that is injected the same moment they start drinking your blood.

Overall, leather couches attract the most bed bugs out of every leathery thing on this list.

Can Bed Bugs Live on Leather Sofas?

Leather sofas are similar to leather couches, with a slight difference in dimensions. The sofas are smaller but can also be infested with bed bugs the same way as leather couches.

If you don’t sleep on your sofa, it will be less infected in comparison to the leather couch. Still, if you have a leather sofa and you are the victim of a bed bug infestation, be sure to check your sofa for signs of bed bugs.

Can Bed Bug Infest Leather Jacket?

Can Bed Bug Infest Leather Jacket

Bed bugs can infest clothes, not just furniture. Leather jackets are a perfect example of this. Now, you can say that you’ve just bought your new leather jacket and that it doesn’t have cracks. Well, that’s partially true because every jacket has pockets and pockets are nothing more than cracks. This means that bed bugs can infest your pockets or the inside of your jacket if you don’t wear it frequently.

Can Bed Bugs Live in Leather Shoes?

Shoes are something that bed bugs can also infest, although to a smaller extent. Every type of shoe is endangered, as bed bugs don’t care about the material.

However, there are some exceptions to the rule and they’re tied to the frequency of use. If your pair of leather shoes isn’t used often, bed bugs might infest it, especially if it’s close to your bed, to make their feeding easier.

To make things clear, let’s say that bed bugs can’t live in leather shoes in the vast majority of cases. In rare cases, yes, they can live there, especially if it’s a larger infestation you are dealing with.

Can Bed Bugs Live on Leather Car Seats?

Can Bed Bugs Live on Leather Car Seats

Your beloved car can be infested by bed bugs. If your garage is very close to your house or it’s in the house, separated by a single door, chances are that bed bugs might infest it quickly, especially if you use your car frequently.

The leather car seats aren’t a problem for bed bugs, as there are tons of places to hide – under your seat, in the upholstery, between seats, etc. As much as they can live inside the car, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll infest it.

How to Get Bed Bugs out of Leather Furniture?

How to Get Bed Bugs out of the Leather Jacket?

Seeing bed bugs in your leather jacket is a terrorizing sight because you know that washing is not an applicable method. To get bed bugs out of a leather jacket, you can use plastic bags and put them in very low temperatures in the deep freezer.

Be sure to use a plastic bag without cracks. Because if it has cracks, bed bugs will scatter around your deep freezer or your house when you carry the bag to your freezer.

Alternatively, you can use only a plastic bag and wait for the bed bugs to die but this process can last up to one year. The only situation is when you don’t need your leather jacket for a year, so you can leave it aside and forget about its existence.

How to Get Bed Bugs out of Leather Couch?

The leather couch is much easier to handle in this situation. Professional exterminators are mostly used for bed bug-infesting leather couches, as this is a very common occurrence.

Here, you have plenty of options, with the first one being to call a professional. But, if you want to save some money, we suggest that you take the bedding of your leather couch, launder it in your washing machine, and then use a dryer to make sure that every bed bug is dead.

If there’s even a tiny crack somewhere, be sure that bed bugs knew about it way before you, thus they have probably already infested it. You can patch the crack in your leather couch to trap them inside but patching a leather couch isn’t as easy as patching an ordinary fabric couch.

To tell you straight, paying a professional exterminator is your wisest choice. You’ll give your money away but you’ll also make sure that bed bugs are exterminated. While this cost-saving option is viable to some extent, it doesn’t exclude you from future problems with bed bugs in a leather couch.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Leather Shoes?

Leather shoes respond differently to washing and drying. You should not dry or wash your leather shoes in the washing machine. When using a dryer, the high temperature will dehydrate the fibers in the leather, making your shoe age faster and crack.

On the contrary, we know that washing anything made of leather is pointless, as it will make it weaker and prone to cracks. The best way of getting rid of the bed bugs in leather shoes is with the use of a deep freezer and plastic bags. 

Simply pack your shoes in a plastic bag and put them in the deep freezer. This way, you’ll accelerate the process by using a very low temperature, which will make bed bugs die within a few days or a week.

List of Sources

Delaunay, P., et al (2011). Bedbugs and Infectious Diseases. Clinical infectious diseases.
How to Find Bed Bugs. United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Bed Bugs – What They Are and How to Control Them. (2021). New York State – Department of Health.
Thomas Matthews
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