Soil Your Undies

A collection of Candis lace underwear in assorted colors on a pink backdrop, embodying sustainable underwear recycling 2024.

It turns out that your cotton underwear has a new use! When I look at my Candis Creations pretty underwear, I think of them as clothing to be worn. I see the many benefits of wearing women’s underwear like health, hygiene and making me feel pretty and confident. But American scientists and farmers saw a new purpose. Your cotton underwear can be used to test the health of your garden or farm soil!

Soil Your Undies

The Soil Your Undies campaign is designed to test the health of your soil by seeing how well organisms in your soil break down your undies. The organisms that eat your undies are the same that would break down natural plant material. If your soil is healthy then your undies will be eaten! The elements of your undies that are not made from cotton will remain intact though.  The health of your soil can be affected by pH levels (soil acidity and alkalinity), temperature and moisture. So, if your undies are mostly intact, you know to address your soil health.

The Soil Your Undies campaign started in 2018 in America as a way for farmers to test their soil health. But it has since grown globally. Australia and New Zealand have expanded the campaign to include school children as a way to learn about soil health.

How to Soil Your Undies

  1. Bury a pair of new ladies’ underwear in the topsoil of your garden, about 8cm deep
  2. Mark the spot where you buried your ladies’ undies. Originally, the experiment called for people to leave the elastic waistband poking out of the soil but the family dog tended to dig them up. So find a marker like a garden gnome to mark the spot.
  3. Leave the underwear for at least 60 days to give the organisms a chance to eat their delicious underwear. Try not to disturb the area during this time in case you accidentally dig up your undies.
  4. Dig up your undies and see how well they’ve been eaten!