Abstract: A high-charge smectite from Arizona [cation-exchange capacity (CEC) = 120 meq/100 g] and a low-charge smectite from Wyoming (CEC = 90 meq/100 g) were used to prepare homoionic tetramethylammonium (TMA)-clay complexes. The adsorption of benzene, toluene, and o-xylene as vapors by the dry TMA-clays and as solutes from water by the wet TMA-clays was studied. The adsorption of the organic vapors by the dry TMA-smectite samples was strong and apparently consisted of interactions with both the aluminosilicate mineral surfaces and the TMA exchange ions in the interlayers. In the adsorption of organic vapors, the closer packing of TMA ions in the dry high-charge TMA-smectite, compared with the dry low-charge TMA-smectite, resulted in a somewhat higher degree of shape-selective adsorption of benzene, toluene, and xylene. In the presence of water, the adsorption capacities of both samples for the aromatic compounds were significantly reduced, although the uptake of benzene from water by the low-charge TMA-smectite was still substantial. This lower sorption capacity was accompanied by increased shape-selectivity for the aromatic compounds. The reduction in uptake and increased selectivity was much more pronounced for the water-saturated, high-charge TMA-smectite than for the low-charge TMA-smectite. Hydration of the TMA exchange ions and/or the mineral surfaces apparently reduced the accessibility of the aromatic molecules to interlamellar regions. The resulting water-induced sieving effect was greater for the high-charge TMA-smectite due to the higher density of exchanged TMA-ions. The low-charge Wyoming TMA-smectite was a highly effective adsorbent for removing benzene from water and may be useful for purifying benzene-contaminated water.