The objective of this work was to prepare modified adsorbents from fuller's earth (FE) by acid and alkali treatment for enhancement cationic dye adsorption. Toluidine blue (TB) was selected as adsorbate for evaluating the adsorption performance of fuller's earth samples, which was affected significantly by acid and alkali modification. The adsorption of TB was studied by visible spectra. The absorption band of the monomer at low loading of TB in FE suspension with respect to its maximum in aqueous solution is red-shifted, which is related to accessibility of dye interlamellar space in the presence of positively charged surface sites. Since all surfaces are negatively charged under experimental conditions, this effect has not been observed in acid- and alkali-treated FE suspensions. It was seen that the adsorption capacity of alkali-treated surface (FEAI) for TB was higher than these of acid-treated adsorbent (FEAc) and FE. Scanning electron micrographs (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) and fluorescence (XRF) spectra were applied to analyze the structure of the raw and modified FE samples. Absence of any identifiable amount of a crystalline compound in the solid reaction products after acid treatment was confirmed by XRD and SEM, whereas the crystalline form of FEAI was preserved. Experimental data for high-concentration regions were well described by Freundlich and Langmuir adsorption equations. The thermodynamic parameters were estimated for FE, FEAc, and FEAl by using temperature dependence of adsorption equilibrium constants. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.