The ability of Turkish illitic clay (TIC) in removal of Cd(II) and Pb(II) ions from aqueous solutions has been examined in a batch adsorption process with respect to several experimental conditions including initial solution pH, contact time, initial metal ions concentration, temperature, ionic strength, and TIC concentration, etc. The characterization of TIC was performed by using FTIR, XRD and XRF techniques. The maximum uptake of Cd(II) (11.25 mg g(-1)) and Pb(II) (238.98 mg g(-1)) was observed when used 1.0 g L-1 of TIC suspension, 50 mg L-1 of initial Cd(II) and 250 mg L-1 of initial Pb(II) concentration at initial pH 4.0 and contact time of 240 min at room temperature. The experimental data were analyzed by the Langmuir, Freundlich, Temkin and Dubinin Radushkevich (D-R) isotherm models. The monolayer adsorption capacity of TIC was found to be 13.09 mg g(-1) and 53.76 mg g(-1) for Cd(II) and Pb(II) ions, respectively. The kinetics of the adsorption was tested using pseudo-first-order, pseudo-second-order, Elovich and intraparticle diffusion models. The results showed that the adsorption of Cd(II) and Pb(II) ions onto TIC proceeds according to the pseudo-second-order model. Thermodynamic parameters including the Gibbs free energy (Delta G), enthalpy (Delta H), and entropy (Delta S) changes indicated that the present adsorption process was feasible, spontaneous and endothermic in the temperature range of 5-40 degrees C. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.