Abstract Highly-active anatase TiO 2 nanorods have been successfully synthesized via a simple two-step method, hydrothermal treatment of anatase/rutile titanium dioxide nanoparticle powder in a composite-hydroxide eutectic system of 1:1 M KOH/NaOH, followed by acid post-treatment. The morphology and crystalline structure of the obtained nanorods were characterized using XRD, TEM, SEM/EDX and BET surface area analyzer. The obtained TiO 2 nanorods have a good crystallinity and a size distribution (about 4–16 nm); with the dimensions of 200–300 nm length and of 30–50 nm diameter. Compared with its precursor anatase/rutile TiO 2 nanoparticles and the titanate nanotubes, the pure anatase TiO 2 nanorods have a large specific surface area with a mesoporous structure. The photocatalytic performance of the prepared nanorods was tested in the degradation of the commercial Cibacrown Red (FN-R) textile dye, under UV irradiation. Single-crystalline anatase TiO 2 nanorods are more efficient for the dye removal.