American Standard ActiClean Toilet Makes Cleaning for Holiday Guests Easy

Despite the extra tech, the toilet cuts a classic profile. (Image Credit: American Standard)
Despite the extra tech, the ActiClean cuts a classic profile. (Image Credit: American Standard)

Holidays are tough. Keeping the house clean the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the annual goal at my house; but inevitably, we all end up running around frantically on the morning of December 25th, trying to spit-shine the house so that it’s acceptable for guests.

This year, cleaning the toilet is one thing that I’m not going to worry about. Not because I’m a horrible slob (I mean, I am, but that’s besides the point); but because American Standard sent me one of their new ActiClean toilets last month and I’ve barely had to think about keeping that part of the bathroom clean since.

Easily accessible from the lid, no need to go digging in the tank. (Image Credit: American Standard)
Easily accessible from the lid, no need to go spelunking in the tank. (Image Credit: American Standard)

The ActiClean system is a special module that comes pre-installed on, appropriately enough, ActiClean toilets. It consists of a proprietary cleaning solution and an activation panel that’s hidden under a door in the top of the toilet tank lid. There’s one option for a one-minute quick clean and another for a ten-minute deep clean. The whole thing runs on four AA batteries (that American Standard says should last about a year). The cleaning cartridge lasts about 9 weeks if you stick to the recommended schedule of one quick clean and one deep clean per week. Luckily, it will only set you back about $10 to pick up a new cartridge at Lowe’s or the ActiClean home page.

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It's all I can do not to give into the germaphobe in me and press Deep Clean every day (Image Credit: American Standard)
It’s all I can do not to give into the germaphobe in me and press the Deep button every day (Image Credit: American Standard)

In practice, the ActiClean system works exactly as advertised. Doing a quick clean in the middle of the week, followed by a deep clean on the weekend has meant that the toilet looks as new as when I installed it (which was probably the easiest plumbing job I’ve ever done – all the tech is self-contained and installs in the lid, plus American Standard includes everything you need for installation in the box). You lift the panel in the lid, choose a level of clean, and the system fills the bowl with cleaning solution. It soaks for one minute or ten, then flushes itself. You’re left with a clean toilet bowl.

Even without the ActiClean system, this toilet has a lot of features going for it to make it inherently easier to keep spotless. The VorMax flushing mechanism is rather clever, pushing water from the side all the way around the top of the rim. There are no “dead spots” in the water flow, and the centrifugal force is much more effective than the flush in a standard toilet. I do have to double-flush occasionally though. Despite their claims that it has the “highest score possible” in waste movement, the 1.28 gallons per flush (GPF) just doesn’t push enough water through the bowl to clear everything, every time (Update: Turns out it wasn’t the toilet’s fault but my failure to adjust the flapper chain that was causing the occasional issue. Everything’s fine here. All fine. …How are you?). But considering non low-flow toilets can use up to 7 gallons per flush, I figure I’m still coming out ahead on water usage. The bowl uses American Standard’s EverClean technology to create a surface that stays cleaner over time, repelling mold, mildew, and water stains. Think of it as Teflon for toilets.

Good luck finding this in the dark (Image Credit: American Standard)
Good luck finding this in the dark (Image Credit: American Standard)

While all of this might seem like marketing-speak, it’s marketing speak that works. After a month of using the ActiClean system, a manual cleaning of my the toilet only turned up the most superficial dirt left behind. As an added bonus – the low GPF system is considerably quieter than the standard toilet the ActiClean replaced. The seat is fantastic as well, with a side handle so that you have a “safe” place to grab to lift it and a nice slow-close mechanism that keeps it from slamming shut. It also has quick-release buttons so that you can remove the entire seat to give it a thorough cleaning (which I should do, but I don’t, because, again, slob).

If you’re looking to upgrade an existing bathroom or have need of a replacement toilet, the American Standard ActiClean should be on your list. At $399 retail price, it’s definitely not a low-end product; but I feel like you get considerably more for your money. When it comes down to it, no one likes cleaning the bathroom. The ActiClean system takes that odious chore and turns it into a button push. I’m not above spending a couple hundred more if it means never having to take a toilet brush to my commode again. You can pick one up exclusively at Lowe’s. If you want to see videos and demonstrations of the ActiClean in action (they’re not gross, promise), head over to the official website.

American Standard provided samples for this review. Opinions are my own.

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Writer, father of two, runner, Marvel-phile, recovered WoW addict, unrepentant Generation 1 Transformers nerd (seriously, I know more about G1 than is healthy). Author of the superhero novel: 'Nightingale: The League Cycle, Book One.'