Spruce wood shavings from Picea abies were used for an adsorptive removal of both basic as well as acid dyes from waters. The sorption properties of the sorbents were modified with HCl, Na2CO3 and Na2HPO4, The treatment of the wood sorbents with alkaline carbonate solution as well as with phosphate solution increased the sorption ability for the basic dye (Methylene Blue), whereas the treatment with mineral acid decreased the sorption ability for Methylene Blue to some extent. The opposite is true for the sorption of the acid dye - Egacid Orange. The maximum sorption capacities estimated from the Langmuir-Freundlich isotherms ranged from 0.060 to 0.165 mmol g(-1) for Methylene Blue, and from 0.045 to 0.513 mmol g(-1) for Egacid Orange. The basic dye sorption decreased at low pH values in accordance with a presupposed ion-exchange mechanism of the sorption. The sorption of acid dye, on the other hand, decreased with increasing pH. The presence of inorganic salts as well as surfactants exhibited only minor effects on the dye sorption. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.