Can Bed Bugs Live on Leather? 4 Top Ways How to Get Rid of Them

Bed bugs are pesky pests that can become a huge problem if not mitigated immediately. Once they start infesting your leather furniture like sofas or couches, you will definitely feel them crawl on your skin which can cause itchiness or skin allergies. This article will teach you effective methods on how to get rid of and deal with a bed bug issue.

Do bed bugs live on leather furniture like couches or chairs?

Yes, they can live on leather furniture like couches and chairs. They are mostly found in clothes or cotton bedsheets. However, bed bugs can thrive on almost any kind of furniture and will stick to the corners and undersides. While it’s not common, bed bugs can still infest leather, suede, or vinyl chairs and couches.

Can bed bugs live on leather car seats?

Yes, bed bugs will also live and survive on leather car seats. As we mentioned above, they can survive on any furniture surface and upholstery including car seats. You might not immediately spot them, but if you look inside the cracks and corners of your car seats, there might already be signs of bed bugs.

How to get rid of bed bugs in leather couch

If the bed bug infestation is really bad, we suggest you contact an exterminator as they might already be all over your house. However, if it’s still a manageable infestation of bed bugs on your leather furniture, here are some effective treatments to get rid of them as fast as possible.

Steam cleaning

This is an effective solution to get rid of bed bugs on your leather sofa, chairs, and even leather jackets. Bed bugs and other small bugs won’t be able to survive heat treatments above 140°F. You can purchase or rent a steam cleaner from your local hardware store and get to work. Here’s how:

Things you will need:


  1. First, wear your gloves and masks to protect yourself from bed bug bites and accidentally inhaling those tiny pests.
  2. Wipe the surface of your leather furniture using a soft cloth and leather cleaner.
  3. Pre-treatment is necessary to prevent your leather couch from getting damaged during the steaming process. Apply leather conditioner all over the area.
  4. Prepare your steam cleaner and wrap a microfiber cloth where the steam goes out. This is to quickly spread the steam without leaving any excess moisture behind on your leather item.
  5. Set the temperature of the steam to around 120°F to 140°F and work your way through the entire chair or sofa. Make sure to be thorough since bed bugs can come back if not all of them are gone.
  6. Reach between the crevices, undersides, and tight corners of your leather furniture as more bed bugs will be living there.
  7. Once you’re done, wipe off the excess moisture using another dry microfiber cloth. Let it fully dry out for an hour or two and condition your leather couch again.


The vacuuming process is pretty similar to steam cleaning but instead, you will be using a vacuum cleaner without any steam. Follow steps 1 to 3 above and then go ahead and vacuum your leather couch to get rid of the bed bugs. Focus on the corners and crevices. This will also be a great way to give your leather items some general cleaning to remove any food crumbs and dust.

Use Diatomaceous Earth

If you’re unfamiliar with diatomaceous earth, it’s an all-natural pesticide made from fossilized sea creatures that are crushed into diatoms. The texture is powder-like and is known to crush and dehydrate insects like bed bugs or fleas. because of its razor-sharp edges. Be careful not to rub the powder too hard on your leather couch though as it can damage the fibers and can also dry out the leather.

Things you will need:

Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade 10 Lb
  • 10 Lbs de - meets U.S. Food chemicals codex standards


1. There are two forms of diatomaceous earth. Choose the pest control treatment that is labeled as food-grade because the other option (industrial-grade DE) can be dangerous for home use and can cause respiratory problems.

2. Wear your gloves and mask to protect yourself from the DE powder.

3. Wipe the surface of your leather couch using a soft cloth and leather cleaner.

4. Sprinkle the diatomaceous earth powder on your leather seats and couch. Focus on the areas where the bed bugs are most likely to be dwelling like in the tiny cracks and wooden frames.

5. Leave it alone while you go and sprinkle it on your bedroom and bed frames and other furniture as well because the bed bugs might have spread all over your home.

6. After one or two days, vacuum up the dust from the DE. Make sure to dispose of the vacuum bag properly.

7. Wipe your leather couch using a dry cloth and apply a leather conditioner to bring back the moisture and natural oils that were removed during the DE process.

Tips and extra information:

  • Diatomaceous earth can be an irritant to human skin, so it’s best to stay away from treated areas before you vacuum them.
  • If you have a dehumidifier, lower the humidity in the room where your leather couch is in. DE will work better in dry environments.

Try fumigation

Fumigation is also a very effective way to be free from any bug infestations. This method will work on leather couches and leather car seats. Unfortunately, you will need pesticides for chemical sprays which can be harmful to you and your family if inhaled. If you still don’t want to hire a professional for fumigation, here’s how you can DIY:

Things you will need:

Ortho Home Defense Max Bed Bug, Flea and Tick Killer - With Ready-to-Use Comfort Wand, Kills Bed Bugs and Bed Bug Eggs, Bed Bug Spray Also Kills Fleas and Ticks, 1 gal.
  • Use Ortho Home Defense Max Bed Bug, Flea & Tick Killer to kill bed bugs, bed bug eggs, fleas, and...
  • Use spray as a spot treatment around bed frames, mattress seams/tufts/folds, and baseboards
  • Kills even the toughest bed bugs (pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs)


  1. Wear your gloves, mask, and complete PPE.
  2. You will need a friend since fumigation is a hazardous process and you’ll need someone to assist you through it.
  3. Get rid of any loose dirt and dust on your leather couch.
  4. You can use the Ortho Bed Bug Killer Spray if you don’t want to go through all the trouble of mixing chemicals and pouring it into a fogger. Plus they’re great for indoor use.
  5. Keep your distance from your couch as you are spraying so you won’t inhale the toxic chemicals. Note the crevices and the underside of the couch.
  6. Expect to see dead bed bugs after you’re done. After this, you can start vacuuming them up.
  7. Wipe down your leather couch using a damp towel to get rid of the toxic particles left. Do this thoroughly and repeatedly. Wipe the excess moisture using a dry microfiber towel when you’re done.
  8. Apply leather conditioner on your leather seat or couch.

Tips and extra information:

  • If you can avoid using this bed bug cleaning method, do so. We only recommend fumigating if there is a severe bed bug infestation and you can’t call an exterminator right away.

Call a pest control company

If you’ve tried the methods we mentioned above and the bed bug infestation still persists, then it’s time to call a professional exterminator. The problem is most likely more than you can handle and you might be subjecting yourself or your family to more health risks. There is a high chance that it is now widespread and it’s best to leave it to the experts for a more thorough cleaning.


Bed bugs will attach themselves to your skin and will feed off your blood. If you suspect that the bed bugs have already infested other furniture and your clothing items, it’s always a good idea to do a general cleaning of your home. Always remember that prevention is better than cure, so avoid leaving food wrappers and always vacuum the crumbs and dirt around your home to avoid another bed bug infestation in the future.


What scent drives bed bugs away?

Bed bugs are sensitive to many smells such as lemon, lavender, cinnamon, and peppermint. You can find essential oils with these ingredients including tea tree and eucalyptus and use them on your humidifier to drive away bed bugs in your home. However, if you already have an existing bed bug problem in your home, these scents alone will not get rid of them.


  • Luke

    With a 14-year journey dedicated to preserving and enhancing leather goods, his unwavering passion continues to fuel his expertise. When he's not immersed in the world of leather, you can find Luke enjoying exhilarating bicycle rides or exploring nature through invigorating hikes.

  • Ralf

    Ralf is a multifaceted creative enthusiast with a deep passion for various crafting hobbies, including sewing, pottery, and the captivating world of leathercraft.