Title:
SCRUBBER MAT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
There is disclosed a scrubber mat having a backing, a plurality of loops and an attachment device. The plurality of loops may be attached to a front side of the backing. The attachment device may be attached to a back side of the backing. There is also disclosed a process including disposing the scrubber mat substantially parallel to a relatively flat surface, introducing a liquid cleanser into a reservoir defined by a backing of the scrubber mat and attaching the plurality of suction cups to the relatively flat surface by applying a force to the scrubber mat.



Inventors:
Bolton, John (Santa Barbara, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/466434
Publication Date:
03/01/2007
Filing Date:
08/22/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
134/6, 601/136, 4/606
International Classes:
A47K7/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
KARLS, SHAY LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THE LAW OFFICE OF RICHARD S ERBE (P.O. BOX 418 5380 SENECA PLACE, SIMI VALLEY, CA, 93062, US)
Claims:
1. An apparatus comprising: a resin backing a plurality of loops bonded to the resin backing, wherein each of the plurality of loops comprises a resin material and a material selected from the group anti-fungal material and anti-bacterial material a suction cup integrated with the resin backing, wherein the suction cup has a diameter between approximately 1/16 of an inch and ⅛ of an inch.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the resin backing defines a reservoir, an opening disposed proximate the bottom of the backing and a plurality of apertures disposed proximate the top of the backing.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the resin backing includes a cap, the cap adapted to prevent liquid from passing through the opening.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the apertures are adapted to prevent liquid from passing through the apertures when a person is not rubbing a body part against the plurality of loops and allowing liquid to pass through the apertures when a person is rubbing a body part against the plurality of loops.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the plurality of loops comprises an anti-fungal material.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the plurality of loops each have a fluorescent color.

7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein the anti-fungal material is OBPA and the resin includes TVC.

8. A process comprising: disposing a scrubber mat substantially parallel to a relatively flat surface, wherein the scrubber mat includes a backing formed from an organic elastomer, the backing having a front side and a back side a plurality of loops bonded to the front side, each of the plurality of loops having an agent selected from the group consisting of an anti-bacterial agent and anti-fungal agent a plurality of suction cups adhesively attached to the back side via a sheet the backing defining a reservoir, an opening disposed proximate the back side of the backing and a plurality of apertures disposed proximate the front side of the backing introducing a liquid cleanser into the reservoir attaching the plurality of suction cups to the relatively flat surface by applying a force to the scrubber mat.

9. The process of claim 8 further comprising compressing the backing and rubbing a part of a user's body against the plurality of loops thereby causing the liquid cleanser to pass through the plurality of apertures and lather.

10. The process of claim 8 further comprising closing the opening prior to attaching the plurality of suction cups to the relatively flat surface.

11. The process of claim 8 wherein the opening is closed with a cap.

12. The process of claim 9 wherein the liquid cleanser is a body lotion.

13. The process of claim 12 further comprising exfoliating dead skin cells from the part of the user's body during rubbing the part of the user's body against the plurality of loops.

14. A scrubber mat comprising: a backing having a front side and a back side, a plurality of loops attached to the front side, an attachment device attached to the back side.

15. The scrubber mat of claim 14 wherein the backing defines a reservoir, an opening disposed proximate the back side and a plurality of apertures disposed proximate the front side.

16. The scrubber mat of claim 15 wherein the backing includes a cap, the cap adapted to prevent liquid from passing through the opening.

17. The scrubber mat of claim 16 wherein the apertures are adapted to prevent liquid from passing through the apertures when a person is not rubbing a body part against the plurality of loops and allowing liquid to pass through the apertures when a person is rubbing a body part against the plurality of loops.

18. The scrubber mat of claim 17 wherein the plurality of loops comprises an anti-fungal material.

19. The scrubber mat of claim 17 wherein the loops are resin filaments.

20. The scrubber mat of claim 17 wherein the loops include anti-fungal agents.

21. The scrubber mat of claim 19 wherein the attachment device comprises a magnetic material.

22. The scrubber mat of claim 19 wherein the loops include a TVC material.

23. The scrubber mat of claim 19 wherein the loops include OBPA.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION INFORMATION

This patent application claims priority from Provisional Application No. 60/710,285, filed Aug. 23, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference.

NOTICE OF COPYRIGHTS AND TRADE DRESS

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. This patent document may show and/or describe matter which is or may become trade dress of the owner. The copyright and trade dress owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright and trade dress rights whatsoever.

BACKGROUND

1. Field

This disclosure relates to a bath accessory of a bath scrubber safety mat for the shower or bathtub.

2. Description of the Related Art

Non-slip bath mats comprising a plastic material with suction cups are widely used in baths and showers. Because of residual water, bacteria, mildew and fungus commonly grow on bath mats.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an upper plan view of a scrubber mat.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged detail of the filament layer of the scrubber mat of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the scrubber mat of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of the scrubber mat of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is an upper plan view of a scrubber mat.

FIG. 6 is a bottom view of a scrubber mat.

FIG. 7 is an upside down side view of the scrubber mat of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is an upside down side view of the backing of the scrubber mat of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a bottom plan view of the backing of the scrubber mat of FIG. 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Throughout this description, the embodiments and examples shown should be considered as exemplars, rather than limitations on the apparatus and methods disclosed or claimed.

Description of Apparatus

Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown an upper plan view of a scrubber mat 10. The term scrubber mat refers to a flat relatively thin article having an abrasive first surface that is adapted to, when a second surface of the mat is set or laid on a relatively flat surface, provide scrubbing and cleansing of surfaces of body parts in contact with the first surface and protection of the body part from attack by fungal or bacterial agents present on or on the first surface of the mat. The second surface can provide cushioned support and prevent slippage of the mat on the flat surface. During scrubbing, dead skin cells may be removed from skin by abrading action of the first surface. Most of the dead skin cells may be removed from the first surface by flowing water on and/or through the first surface. Cells that remain on the first surface may be prevented from decay by fungal and bactericidal agents present in or on the first surface.

The scrubber mat 10 may include loops 14 having ends 15, 17 attached to or integrated with a backing 32 (as shown in the side view of FIG. 3). The term loop refers to a ring or curved piece of material, such as a cone. The loop 14 may comprise a natural or synthetic fiber. The term fiber refers to a thin flexible single filament or a group of filaments twisted into a fiber having a relatively small cross section.

Example of loops 14 include a serpentine shaped synthetic resin, woven horsehair and stitched polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC. The loops 14 may be manufactured from non-woven continuous or discontinuous lengths of filaments of organic resins. Organic resins may be thermoplastic, which aids in the spinning, crimping, shaping and bonding of filaments and/or fibers by thermal processes. Examples of organic resins include hydrocarbon resins such as vinyl, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene, polyamides (Nylon), polyesters (Dacron) or polypropylene. An enlarged detail of the loops 14 is shown in FIG. 2.

The loops 14 may be soft, yet have relatively high frictional qualities. The frictional qualities may be sufficient to abrade skin and exfoliate dead skin cells but not sufficient to scratch or irritate the skin. The selection of material may be based on a desired softness after treatment of a person's foot and the ability to easily exfoliate dead skin cells when one's foot is traversed across the loops 14. An example of the chemical composition of the loops 14 includes polymer at approximately 80% to 97% suitably by weight, vesicant at approximately 0.1% to 5% suitably by weight, inert mineral filler at approximately 1% to 10% suitably by weight, anti-fungicide at approximately 0% to 5% generally by weight and an anti-bacterial agent at approximately 0.01% to 3% usually by weight. An example of a polymer material is TVC, a polyvinyl chloride polymer at approximately 93.95%, vesicant at approximately 1%, clunch at approximately 4%, anti-fungicide at approximately 1% and an anti-bacterial agent at approximately 0.05%. An example of a chemical that acts both as an anti-bacterial and an anti-fungal agent is an oxy-substituted aromatic arsine such as oxybisphenoxarsine (OBPA).

The term mineral filler may include irregular lumps of rock such as clunch. Typically, clunch may include limestone, iron, chalk, and/or clay. Other fillers such as sand may be used. Clunch typically serves as a base for mortar.

The oxy-substituted aromatic arsine, such as OBPA, is a bacteriostat, disinfectant and fungicide. OBPA prevents the growth of microorganisms when compounded in resins and also acts as a preservative. OBPA can be formulated as an emulsifiable concentrate, pelleted, tableted, soluble concentrate/liquid and ready-to-use liquid.

The ends 15, 17 of the loops 14 may be integrated or bonded with the scrubber mat 10 such that substantially none of the ends 15, 17 are free. A scrubber mat 10 having loops 14 without any ends 15, 17 sticking out has aesthetic qualities as well as preventing a person from being scratched, poked and tickled by a free end 15, 17.

Referring now to FIG. 3, the backing 32 may have the form of a panel. The term panel refers to a generally flat piece of material. The backing 32 may have a geometry of a rectangle, an oval, a square or other regular or irregular shape. The shape of the backing 32 may be selected based on the surface it may be placed on, for example, a wall or a floor in a bathroom, a locker room or outside the entrance of a home.

For example, if the scrubber mat 10 is used in a bathtub, the backing 32 may have a generally rectangular shape with beveled corners. Moreover a scrubber mat 10 adapted for use in a shower may have a thickness of approximately ⅕ inch to 1 inch, a length of approximately 21 inches and a width of approximately 18 inches or other dimensions.

The backing 32 may be constructed from a water resistant or water proof material. Resistance to water helps reduce growth of bacteria, fungal, viral and other volatile organic compounds on the backing 32. Moreover, resistance to water helps the backing 32 maintain its shape and texture for a relatively long life cycle by resisting distortion due to water logging.

The backing 32 may comprise a material that is soft, pliable and/or yieldable. The backing 32 may have spring properties such that it is comfortable to stand on. The selection of the material for the backing 32 may be based on the weight of the person who may use the backing 32. The backing 32 may be manufactured from material similar to that used as doormats or floor mats. Examples of backing 32 materials include plastic, closed cell foam resin, sponge, rubber, combinations herein or other materials having similar characteristics.

The backing 32 may be porous or non-porous. For example, a backing 32 suitable for relatively vertical placement, such as a wall, may include a non-porous material as moisture may easily fall from the backing 32 due to gravity. A backing 32 suitable for relatively horizontal placement, such as a tub floor, may include a porous material as moisture may be wicked up from the tub floor and evaporate from the backing 32. Allowing water to escape from the surface proximate the backing aids in providing for an environment which bacteria and other microorganisms will not thrive.

The loops 14 may be attached to or integrated with at least one side of the backing 32. The attachment of the loops 14 may be achieved via stitching, weaving, molding, bonding, adhesives or other methods. In turn, the loops may be embedded into the backing 32. Ends of the loops 14 may be bonded to the backing 32 and integrated with a closed cell foam material. In an embodiment of continuous filaments or fibers, the adhered or embedded bent lower end of a loop may be a starting point for the adjacent loop.

Referring again to FIG. 1, the loops 14 may be arranged side by side and/or may overlap each other. The loops 14 may be in contiguous rows and/or patterned mosaics. The selection of the arrangement of the loops 14 may be determined for aesthetic reasons. The selection of the arrangement of the loops 14 may be determined for maximum frictional qualities in order to maximize dead skin cell exfoliation.

The loops 14 may have spring characteristics, or resiliency, such that when a person displaces the loops 14 in a variety of directions, the flattened loops 14 cushion the feet of the user and readily return or rebound to their original position relative the backing 32.

Referring now to FIG. 4, there is shown a bottom view of the scrubber mat 10. The scrubber mat 10 may include one or a plurality of attachment devices 36. The attachment devices 36 may be integral to or attached to the bottom of the backing 32. The attachment devices 36 may be adapted to secure the scrubber mat 10 to a floor, such as a tile floor in a bathroom, a bathtub, a shower floor or other surface. Examples of attachment devices 36 include small suction cups, hook and loop fasteners, magnets, adhesives and other materials.

The attachment devices 36 may be distributed uniformly across the bottom of the backing 32 or randomly across the bottom of the backing 32. The attachment devices 26 may be selected such that the scrubber mat 10 does not displace horizontally along the surface it is attached to when a person scrubs their feet over the loops 14. Moreover, the attachment devices 26 may be impermeable or resistant to water in order to prevent slippage.

For example, if the attachment devices 36 are suction cups that are secured to the floor of a tub or shower, the scrubber mat 10 may provide secure footing for a bather. The use of suction cups as attachment devices 36 provide for the easy securing and removal from the floor of a tub or shower. In general, suction cups may have a diameter of approximately ½ inch to 2 inches. Such suction cups are typically used for adhesion to smooth surfaces.

The loops 14, mat 32 and/or the attachment devices 36 may include chemical compositions and/or coatings to inhibit growth of bacteria, fungal, mildew, viruses and/or volatile organic compounds. The scrubber mat 10 may be readily cleaned by running water, household soaps, household cleansers or other chemicals and/or abrasives. The materials selected for the scrubber mat 10 may be selected based on resistance to water, soaps and detergents.

When the scrubber mat 10 is secured to a surface, such as a shower basin, a person may rub the bottom of their feet, toes and/or calves across the loops 14. In turn, the loops 14 may abrade skin cells on the feet or the back surface of the heel causing dead skin cells to be removed. Moreover, the loops may invigorate the skin of the feet and massage underlying muscles and tendons as well as aid in circulation.

Referring now to FIG. 5, there is shown an upper plan view of a scrubber mat 100. The scrubber mat 100 may include a backing 124, a sheet 120 and a suction cup 122. For example purposes, the scrubber mat 100 of FIG. 6 shows a plurality of sheets 120 and a plurality of suction cups 122 per each sheet 120.

The term sheet 120 refers to a broad surface of something that is generally thin in comparison to its length and width. The sheet 120 may be manufactured from a resin, a woven material such as canvas, a paper or other material that is resistant to water. The sheet 120 may have a rear adhesive layer. The sheet 120 may include a magnetic material and/or a static electrically charged material that allows for attachment of the sheet to the bottom of the backing 124. The selection of the adhesive may be based on the ability to frequently adhere and remove the sheet from the backing 124.

The suction cups 122 may be adhered to the sheet 120 via an adhesive, thermal bonding or other method. Additionally, the suction cups 122 may be integrated with the sheet 120. The suction cups 122 may have a small diameter such that the suction cups are adapted to securely attach the scrubber mat 100 to a surface which includes relieved tile grout that is spaced close together. For example, small diameter suction cups 122 may have a diameter of approximately 1/16 of an inch to ⅛ of an inch.

A scrubber mat 100 which is formed of resin based filaments may have a weight of approximately 1-10 pounds per square yard. Thus, children, adults and senior citizens may all easily pick up and secure the scrubber mat 100 to a bathroom surface. Moreover, dye may be added to the materials prior to or during the manufacturing process in order to provide colors, patterns and/or images that are appealing to children, adults and senior citizens. For example, a fluorescent color may provide for a feeling in a purchaser of being present in a relatively sterile UV environment.

Referring now to FIG. 6, there is shown a bottom view of a scrubber mat 600. The scrubber mat 600 may have length and width dimensions selected based on a shower's tile floor and a person's feet. For example, the length and width of the scrubber mat may be approximately 36 inches×48 inches or other dimension. The scrubber mat 600 may include a backing 605 and suction cups 650. The backing 605 may include a reservoir 610, an opening 630, a cap 620 and a hinge 640.

The reservoir 610 is a part of the backing 605 in which a liquid may be at least partially contained. The reservoir 610 may be defined by the interior surfaces of the backing 605. The backing 605 may define an opening 630 into which liquid may be introduced into the reservoir 510. As shown in FIG. 6, the reservoir 610 may have a regular or irregular shape. A cross sectional area of the reservoir 510 may span ½, ¾ or other proportion of the dimensions of the backing 605. The size and shape of the reservoir 610 may be selected based on the amount of liquid desired to be at least partially contained.

The reservoir 610 may include a cap 620. The term cap refers to a device that covers an opening such that a liquid does not pass through the opening beyond the cap. The cap 620 may be constructed of the same material as the backing 605 or a different liquid resistant material. The cap 620 may have dimensions based on those of the opening 630. The cap 620 may be integrated to the backing 605. The cap 605 may be attached to the backing 605 via a hinge 640 (as shown in the upside down side view of the backing 605 in FIG. 8).

The opening 630 may be disposed at any section of the bottom portion of the backing 605. The opening 630 may have a regular or irregular shape. The opening 630 may have a size that is selected based on dimensions just large enough to introduce liquids into the reservoir 610. For example, the opening 630 may have a generally circular shape with a 4 inch diameter or other shape and dimension.

The opening 630 may comprise a plurality of apertures 910 (as shown in the bottom plan view of the backing 605 in FIG. 9). An aperture is a an opening or open space, such as a hole, gap, cleft, chasm or slit. The size, quantity and distribution of the apertures 910 may be determined based on the type of liquid for introduction into the reservoir (not shown). Additionally, the size of the apertures 910 may be selected to limit the size of solid particles that could accidentally be introduced into the reservoir.

Referring now to FIG. 7, there is shown an upside down side view of the scrubber mat 600 of FIG. 6. As shown in FIG. 7, the scrubber mat 600 further comprises loops 700 on the top side of the scrubber mat 600.

The backing 605 may include one or a plurality of apertures 710. The aperture 710 may be adapted to remain impermeable to liquid within the reservoir 610 so long as a person does not stand on or rub their feet across the loops 700. The aperture 710 may be adapted to allow liquid to pass there through when a person stands on the loops 700 or rubs their feet across the loops 700.

If the liquid within the reservoir 610 is a cleanser, such as a liquid soap or another body lotion, or medicinal cream, optionally including antifungal, germicidal and/or bacteriostatic agents, and a person rubs their feet across the loops 700, the liquid may be dispensed through the apertures 710, resulting in a lather on the person's feet. The lather in combination with the abrasive qualities of the loops can be therapeutic to a person who works on their feet all day or generally enjoys self-pampering.

The scrubber mat 600 may be used as follows:

(1) Remove cap 620 from the backing 605 to expose opening 630;

(2) Introduce liquid massaging lotion into the reservoir 610;

(3) Close opening 630 with cap 620;

(4) Moisten suction cups 650 with water;

(5) Apply force to the scrubber mat 600 such that the suction cups 650 adhere to a surface of a tub or shower;

(6) Scrub the bottom of a person's foot, toes and/or calves against the loops 650;

(5) Clean the scrubber mat 600 with water from the faucet.

The scrubber mat 600 may be adapted to clean easier than luffah materials or sponges, resulting in reduced water consumption.

The relative position of various parts of the scrubber mat 100, 600 are described herein based upon the top view of FIG. 1, the bottom view of FIG. 3 and the bottom view of FIG. 6. For example, terms such as top, bottom, left and right are used. However, the scrubber mat 600 may be used in various positions such as upside down for exfoliating the dead skin cells from a person's head. Additionally, the scrubber mat 600 may be used in a vertical position against a wall for exfoliating the dead skin cells from a person's back. Thus, some descriptive terms are used in relative terms and not absolute terms.

Closing Comments

The foregoing is merely illustrative and not limiting, having been presented by way of example only. Although examples have been shown and described, it will be apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art that changes, modifications, and/or alterations may be made.

As used herein, “plurality” means two or more.

As used herein, whether in the written description or the claims, the terms “comprising”, “including”, “carrying”, “having”, “containing”, “involving”, and the like are to be understood to be open-ended, i.e., to mean including but not limited to. Only the transitional phrases “consisting of” and “consisting essentially of”, respectively, are closed or semi-closed transitional phrases with respect to claims.

Use of ordinal terms such as “first”, “second”, “third”, etc., in the claims to modify a claim element does not by itself connote any priority, precedence, or order of one claim element over another or the temporal order in which acts of a method are performed, but are used merely as labels to distinguish one claim element having a certain name from another element having a same name (but for use of the ordinal term) to distinguish the claim elements.

As used herein, “and/or” means that the listed items are alternatives, but the alternatives also include any combination of the listed items.





 
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