Abstract The adsorption and diffusion of sodium p-dodecylbenzene sulfonate of a tetramer type (DBS) in cellulose from the wide concentration range of DBS solution were investigated by the method of the cylindrical film role at temperature between 10 and 50°C. The surface concentration of DBS in cellulose at first increased gradually with increase in the concentration of DBS in solution, then increased abruptly in the vicinity of the critical micelle concentration (CMC), reached a maximum, and finally decreased gradually. The diffusion profile of DBS in cellulose near and above the CMC showed the existence of two kinds of adsorbed species, the monomer and dimer of DBS. The adsorption of dimer corresponded to the adsorption maximum in the adsorption isotherm. The adsorption of monomer DBS ion on cellulose showed a Langmuir-type adsorption isotherm. The diffusion behavior of DBS in cellulose also supported these findings. With an increase in the DBS concentration above the CMC, larger micelles of DBS, which were not adsorbed by cellulose, were also formed and the adsorption of dimer gradually decreased due to the fact that the concentration of dimer in solution decreased as the micelle formation proceeded. Thus, a so-called adsorption maximum was observed in the adsorption isotherm. The adsorption of monomer DBS ions on cellulose was enhanced by the addition of sodium chloride. The diffusion coefficient of DBS in cellulose increased with increase in the concentration of DBS and/or NaCl added to the DBS solution.