The physicochemical properties and photocatalytic behavior of Fe/C and Fe/Nafion/C fabrics have been investigated under laboratory conditions (small vial, artificial light) and in large-scale photo-reactors under sunlight to achieve low-cost decontamination of textile and agro-chemical industry effluent wastewater. Fe-ions deposited onto chemically treated C fabrics or encapsulated in Nation thin films cast directly onto the carbon fabrics are efficient in decomposing H2O2 used as an oxidant in the photo-assisted abatement of non-biodegradable azo-dyes used in textiles. The Orange II taken as a model pollutant quickly fades under solar irradiation even at an initial pH 6. This range of pH is not possible with the homogeneous photo-Fenton process. In contrast, the use of supported catalysts on C fabrics allows the costly pH adjustment to be avoided. This makes catalyst recovery and economical decontamination of wastewater containing non-biodegradable pollutants possible. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.