Molecular motion of carbocyanine fluorophores DOCI, DODCI and DTDCI were studied in AOT/n-heptane microemulsions containing added polar solvents: water, methanol or acetonitrile. The response varied remarkably depending on the nature of the fluorophore and polar solvent. When the amount of added polar solvent was low, molecular mobility was invariably retarded, due to a combination of electrostatic and hydrophobic forces that induce the guest fluorophore to cling to the AOT molecules of the host reverse micelle. However, at high amounts of added methanol or water, these interactions diminished considerably, causing increase in the mobility of the guest fluorophores up to different extents. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.