This study focuses on a new approach for removal of phenol from an aqueous solution. In this approach cross-linked polyitaconic acid was used as phenol adsorpent. Cross-linked polyitaconic acid was prepared from itaonic acid and the cross-linking agent 1,4-butane diglcidyl ether using chain growth polymerization technique. The adsorption property of cross-linked polyitaconic acid was investigated in terms of adsorbent dosage, pH, temperature, contact time and contaminant concentration. The adsorption capacity of cross-linked polyitaconic acid was studied using Freundlich and Langmuir models at equilibrium to determine mechanism of adsorption process whether it is a chemical or physical process. It appears that analysis of the adsorption mechanism suggested that hydrogen bonding was the primary driving force for phenol adsorbed on the polymeric adsorbents in cyclohexane and multiple hydrogen bonding was involved for poly(N-methyl-N-p-vinylbenzylurea (PMVBU) with phenol. The results also showed that the adsorption properties of cross-linked polyitaconic acid model followed Langmuir model with B value of 0.031 which support our results in that the adsorption is favorable. The pseudo-second-order model was the best for describing the kinetic adsorption of phenol with correlation coefficient valued (R2) is being 0.9975 and, K2 and qe of 0.0118, 11.933, respectively. This validated that the adsorption process was a chemical adsorption. © 2014, Chemical Publishing Co. All rights reserved.