A kind of sulfonated graphene (around 3 nm thick) with high dispersion properties has been synthesized. It is demonstrated to adsorb persistent organic aromatic pollutants effectively from aqueous solutions. The adsorption capability of the prepared sulfonated graphene nanomaterials approaches ∼2.3–2.4 mmol g−1 for naphthalene and 1-naphthol, which is one of the highest capabilities of today's nanomaterials. This highly effective adsorbent may be a promising candidate to remove aromatic chemicals from large volumes of aqueous solutions. It opens a new door for cost effective environmental pollution management with graphene in the near future.