The cobalt(II)/ascorbic acid/hydrogen peroxide system was used for decolorization of azo, acridine, anthraquinone, thiazine and triphenylmethane dyes. More than 90% decolorization was obtained with all dyes except Remazol Brilliant Blue R (75%). With other transition metals the system was less efficient. With copper, higher concentration and prolonged incubation time was necessary to obtain the same extent of decolorization. The rate of decolorizaton was not affected by pH in the range of 3-9. The reaction is very fast, with more than 90% decolorization being attained within 15 min. The system produces hydroxyl radicals which are responsible for the decolorization.