© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.In this study, the surface properties of Laurus nobilis L. were determined by inverse gas chromatography. From this, the surface of Laurus nobilis L. was found to be an acidic (KD/ KA= 0.95). Then, the adsorption of hazardous crystal violet dye on Laurus nobilis L. was examined. For the adsorption process, the optimum conditions were determined as contact time (60 min), adsorbent dosage (1.0 g/L), agitation rate (200 rpm), and initial pH (≅ 7). The efficiencies of initial concentration, contact time, temperature, and their binary combinations on the improvement of adsorption percentage were statistically investigated via three different two-way ANOVA analyses. Adsorption data were applied to different isotherms, and it was determined that the Langmuir isotherm (r2 = 0.9998) was the most suitable isotherm for the adsorption process. The qm value was calculated as 400.0 mg/g at 25 °C from the Langmuir isotherm. According to kinetic models, it was observed that the adsorption occurred in three steps. According to enthalpy (+ 7.52 kJ/mol), activation energy (+ 8.91 kJ/mol), and Gibbs free energy (− 30.0 kJ/mol) values, it was determined that the adsorption occurred endothermically and spontaneously. As a result of reusability studies, it was determined that the adsorbent could be used repeatedly. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].