Don't Try This At Home: "To keep clear from Bugs"

The following is a set of instructions from 1762 on how to remove an infestation of bedbugs.  It would probably work... but we do not recommend you try! Get a professional exterminator instead. "If your rooms are very bad, and they have got into the walls, it is hard to get them out, but the best thing you can do is to nail up before every window, and the chimney and doors, a blanket; first take out of the room all gold and silver lace, or cloths; then open all your drawers, and closets; set the chairs about the room, and lay the best bedcloths on tables, loose; draw the curtains so as that the smoke can come to every place; then place in the middle of the room a long iron pan free from every thing about it, and in it place a chaffing dish of charcole, light it, then when you have placed every thing in readiness and safe from the sparks of fire, set open the door, and let somebody hold it, for you cannot stay a moment in the room after you throw the following into the charcole. When you have got all ready, throw a pound of roll brimstone, and some India pepper; get out immediately, put the blankets close, shut the door, and hang another on the outside; do this early in the morning, for you must not go into the room for at least fiveor six hours; then take off the outward blanket and open the door, which must stand so at least half an hour before you venture in, then go in, take down all the blankets and set open all the windows, shake all your things well, shut your drawers close, brush your bed-cloths well, take them out of the room, then shake and brush the curtains well, take them out, brush the bedstead, wainscot, wall, or paper, very clean, and sweep the room, where you may find numbers of bugs, which you must be very careful to burn..."

Brimstone is sulphur, and India pepper referrs to a type of hot pepper. (The author is right, you do not want to be in the room while that is burning!) A chafing dish is a container made of pottery or metal that is used to hold coals for slow, gentle cooking. It also shows up in fumigation recipes like this one. (I like the image of a friend holding the door open for you, so you can make a quick dash out of the poisonous fumes!)

Source: The Servants Directory by Hannah Glass, 1762.

If your rooms are very bad, and they have got into the walls, it is hard to get them out, but the best thing you can do is to nail up before every window, and the chimney and doors, a blanket; first take out of the room all gold and silver lace, or cloths; then open all your drawers, and closets; set the chairs about the room, and lay the best bedcloths on tables, loose; draw the curtains so as that the smoke can come to every place; then place in the middle of the room a long iron pan free from every thing about it, and in it place a chaffing dish of charcole, light it, then when you have placed every thing in readiness and safe from the sparks of fire, set open the door, and let somebody hold it, for you cannot stay a moment in the room after you throw the following into the charcole. When you have got all ready, throw a pound of roll brimstone, and some India pepper; get out immediately, put the blankets close, shut the door, and hang another on the outside; do this early in the morning, for you must not go into the room for at least fiveor six hours; then take off the outward blanket and open the door, which must stand so at least half an hour before you venture in, then go in, take down all the blankets and set open all the windows, shake all your things well, shut your drawers close, brush your bed-cloths well, take them out of the room, then shake and brush the curtains well, take them out, brush the bedstead, wainscot, wall, or paper, very clean, and sweep the room, where you may find numbers of bugs, which you must be very careful to burn. Whilst the room is smoking, prepare strong lie, into which put ox-galls, and scour the room, and wash the bedstead that the smoke may get into it, and wash all those pieces; then take half a pint of spirits of wine, half a pint of spirit of turpentine, and an ounce of camphire, mix all together, and with a bunch of feathers wash the bedstead all over; then lay on the bed, and sprinkle some on that, and over all the bedclothes and curtains. It will be better to lie in the blankets as they are, if they can be borne with, as the smell kills the vermin; otherwise they must be sent to the scowerer's. And it would not be amiss to paint the room, and then you may be certain of a clear riddance.