Sorption of three surfactants and personal care products in four types of commonly occurring Indian soils was extensively studied. The soils used in the study were red soil, clay soil, compost soil and sandy soil as classified by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). The three surfactants used in the study were representative of cationic, non-ionic and anionic surfactant groups. The sorption of surfactants followed the descending order: sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) > trimethyl amine (TMA) > propylene glycol (PG). The maximum adsorption capacity (Qmax) was obtained in compost soil (28.6 mg/g for SDS; 9.4 mg/g for TMA and 4 mg/g for PG). The rate of adsorption was the maximum in compost soil followed by clay and red soils, and minimum for sandy soils. It is found that the Freundlich model fits the isotherm data better than the Langmuir model. Freundlich coefficient (Kf) increased as the organic content of soils increased. Desorption of target pollutants in tap water was 20–50% whereas acid desorbs 40–90% of target pollutants from soil matrix. It was also found that the adsorption and desorption were significantly affected by the presence of clay and organic matter. The results also indicate that surfactants and personal care products, especially TMA and PG, are highly mobile in sandy soil followed by red soil. Therefore, immobilization of target pollutants is most economical and effective in compost and clayey soils whereas for other type of soils the combination of physiochemical and biological process will be effective option for remediation. © 2016, Islamic Azad University (IAU).