Silk has a smooth, soft texture that is not slippery, unlike many synthetic fibres.
Silk is one of the strongest natural fibres. Its elasticity is moderate to poor: if elongated even a small amount, it remains stretched. It can be weakened if exposed to too much sunlight. It may also be attacked by insects, especially if left dirty.
Silk is a poor conductor of electricity and easily produces static.
Silk's absorbency makes it comfortable to wear in warm weather and while active. It is often used for clothing such as shirts, ties, blouses, formal dresses, high fashion clothes, lingerie, pyjamas, robes, dress suits, sun dresses and kimonos as well as furniture coverings - upholstery, wall coverings, window treatments (if blended with another fiber), rugs, bedding and wall hangings, and there are industrial and military applications - parachutes, bicycle tires, comforter filling and artillery gunpowder bags, and can be used as paper or canvas to paint on.
A special manufacturing process removes the outer irritant sericin coating of the silk, which makes it suitable as non-absorbable surgical sutures. This process has also recently led to the introduction of specialist silk underclothing for children and adults with eczema where it can significantly reduce itch.