Abstract The two-fold interpenetrated metal-organic framework, [Zn2(bdc)2(dpNDI)]n (bdc=1,4-benzenedicarboxylate, dpNDI=N′N′-di(4-pyridyl)-1,4,5,8-naphthalenediimide) can undergo structural re-arrangement upon adsorption of chemical species changing its pore structure. For a competitive binding process with multiple analytes of different sizes and geometries, the interpenetrated framework will adopt a conformation to maximize the overall binding interactions. In this study, we show for binary mixtures that there is a high selectivity for the larger methylated aromatic compounds, toluene and p-xylene, over the small non-methylated benzene. The dpNDI moiety within [Zn2(bdc)2(dpNDI)]n forms an exciplex with these aromatic compounds. The emission wavelength is dependent on the strength of the host-guest CT interaction allowing these compounds to be distinguished. We show that the sorption selectivity characteristics can have a significant impact on the fluorescence sensor response of [Zn2(bdc)2(dpNDI)]n towards environmentally important hydrocarbons based contaminants (i.e., BTEX, PAH).