The aim of this work is to reduce the impact on the environment of a basic textile dye (azucryl red) using a semiconductor TiO2 and Fe doped TiO2 powders calcined at 600 °C as catalysts. The refinements based on the Rietveld method of x-ray diffraction patterns indicate the formation of Rutile phase for un-doped TiO2, while a phase transformation into Anatase phase occurs upon Fe doping. Scanning electron microscopy analysis reveals the formation of spherical-like particles at the nanoscale that agglomerate into aggregates, meanwhile the chemical composition checked by EDX spectroscopy is close to the stoichiometry. FTIR analysis reveals the presence of OH groups that favor the photocatalytic reaction, while EPR analysis confirms the existence of Fe3+ resulting in the creation of oxygen vacancies. Excellent photocatalytic degradation of azucryl red is obtained by 0.2% Fe doped TiO2, the removal of 100% of dye is achieved within a very short time of 10 min. © 2019 IOP Publishing Ltd.