We investigated the adsorption of Tl+ onto purified Illite du Puy (IdP). Distribution coefficients (Kd) for trace Tl adsorption indicated a moderate pH-dependence from pH 2.5 to 11. Adsorption isotherms measured at Tl+ concentrations from 10–9 to 10–2 M at near-neutral pH on illite saturated with Na+ (100 mM), K+ (1 and 10 mM), NH4+ (10 mM) or Ca2+ (5 mM) revealed a high adsorption affinity of Tl+ in Na+- and Ca2+-electrolytes and strong competition with K+ and NH4+. Cation exchange selectivity coefficients for Tl+ with respect to Na+, K+, NH4+, and Ca2+ were derived using a 3-site sorption model. They confirmed the strong adsorption of Tl+ at the frayed edges of illite, with Tl selectivity coefficients between those reported for Rb+ and Cs+. X-ray absorption spectra of Tl adsorbed onto Na-exchanged IdP indicated a shift from adsorption of (dehydrated) Tl+ at the frayed edges at low loadings to adsorption of (hydrated) Tl+ on planar sites at the highest loadings. Our results suggest that illite is an important adsorbent for Tl in soils and sediments, considering its often high abundance and its stability relative to other potential adsorbents and the selective nature of Tl+ uptake by illite.