The magnetic lignin-based adsorbent (Fe3O4/C-ACLS) has been successfully prepared and applied to adsorbing azo dyes Congo red, Titan yellow and Eriochrome blue black R. The samples were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), vibration sample magnetometer (VSM), Raman spectroscopy and elemental analysis. In the process of adsorption, five kinds of influencing factors and recycling regeneration were discussed, and the adsorption mechanisms such as kinetics, isotherm, thermodynamics were explored. The results show that Fe3O4/C-ACLS can remove 98%, 92% and 99% of Congo red, Titan yellow and Eriochrome blue black R, respectively. Under the same conditions, the removal rate was 87%, 84% and 88% after 5 times adsorption cycle, respectively. Pseudo-first-order, pseudo-second-order kinetics, Elovich model and intraparticle diffusion model were studied, and the results show that the adsorption process conforms to pseudo-second-order kinetics model, and the diffusion rate is controlled by many steps. The results of isotherm model and thermodynamics show that the adsorption process is consistent with Langmuir model and is mainly a spontaneous chemical endothermic process of monolayer. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.