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The present invention relates to an antiperspirant pad for protecting a garment. More specifically, the present invention is a shaped absorbent pad for installation in the underarm area of a shirt or a blouse type of garment.
The problems associated with underarm perspiration are very well known and have been combated with a vide variety of measures. Approaches using chemical products, basically underarm deodorants, have been formulated with antiperspirant constituents. These are generally provided in roll-on, stick and spray-on forms and they work to apply a layer of deodorant and antiperspirant compounds directly to the underarm area of a user. While these products have undergone dramatic improvements over time, they still have shortcomings when a user is confronting situations that may cause enhanced underarm perspiration. This may occur, for instance, when weather is unduly hot and/or humid, or when the user is in a stressful situation, or where the chemistry has been consumed over the course of a day.
Another approach to underarm perspiration is the use of pads that act as a barrier between the user and the garment they are wearing. Such pads have been in use for many decades and have similarly undergone changes in attempts to become more effective. U.S. Pat. No. 5,884,330 (Erlich) discloses a garment protector that is applied to the fabric of a piece of clothing in the area of a wearer's underarm. This device is foldable near its mid-point and allows two egg-shaped section to flex accordingly. This protector uses the structure to assist in locating the pad in the appropriate place on the garment. The padding, when thus positioned, is able to absorb underarm perspiration and enhance the confidence of the user while wearing it. The garment protector in U.S. Pat. No. 5,790,982 is similar to the Erlich pad in that it is foldable and can be placed directly on the seam of the garment at the point where the garment sleeve meets the garment body.
In another example of a garment protector, U.S. Pat. No. 4,545,080 (Gorham) teaches the use of a pad that has a specific crease in it for alignment with the area where the sleeve of a garment meets the body of the garment. This crease facilitates the installation and adhesion of the pad to the garment, while orienting the pad portion towards the underarm are of the user. The garment pad in U.S. Pat. No. 3,588,916 (Glatt) discloses a garment shield that employs an adhesive layer as well as an absorbent layer for installation in the underarm area of a garment.
The problem with the prior art pads is that they still lack, at times, sufficient adhesion area to securely keep the pad attached to the clothing. Additionally the underarm protectors of the prior art do present problems when trying to place them in the desired location. In some cases, the known pads do not possess enough absorbent material to fully protect the user, and the garment.
A new garment protector comprises a disposable, multi-layered pad with an absorbent face and an adhesive face. The pad of the present invention has an overall “cross-shaped” appearance that more conveniently aligns and adheres to the area in a garment that corresponds to the underarm area of a user. The pad of the present invention has an enhanced adhesive area and absorbent area, with a zone where a high absorbency reservoir is provided specifically where it is needed by a user. The adhesive face of the pad is comprised of an impermeable material that acts as a barrier between the garment and the absorbent face, and on the surface of such impermeable material is an adhesive that allows for the removable affixing of the pad to the garment. Further, the adhesive face is covered by a sheath that covers the adhesive face until it is ready to be used.
The novel garment protector of the present invention further includes deodorant chemistry for counteracting any odor, and chemistry for enhancing the ability of the pad to absorb moisture.
These and other benefits and attributes of the present invention will be more fully discussed herein.
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a portion of a garment, specifically a section of a shirt at the sleeve area, showing the garment protector of the present invention installed in place.
FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the garment protector of the present invention with the absorbent face exposed.
FIG. 3 is an isometric view of the garment protector of FIG. 2, with the adhesive face exposed.
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the garment protector of FIG. 2 taken at 4-4.
A garment protector in accordance with the present invention is shown in the drawings, in particular FIGS. 1 and 2, a garment protector or multi-layered pad 30 is disclosed as applied to a shirt 10, the shirt being made from conventional fabric materials, where the shirt includes the sleeve 12, the shirtfront 14, the shirt back 16, the shirt interior 18, the sleeve interior 20 and the sleeve seam 22. The garment protector 30 includes the padding 32, the pull-tab 34, and the indents 36. In addition, the garment protector has interior lobes 44 and exterior lobes 46 and the reservoir 48.
Turning to FIG. 3, it can be seen that the garment protector 30 further includes the sheath 38, and the backing 40. The cross-section of the garment protector as depicted in FIG. 4 reveals the high capacity absorbent 42 as sandwiched in between the padding 32, and the sheath 38.
In use, the garment protector of the present invention provides an unexpectedly increased level of absorbency than previous devices of this kind, and it can be used more easily than some prior art protectors since it can be oriented to fit precisely on the particular garment at the point where it is needed. The multi-layered pad comprising the garment protector is fabricated in what may be generally viewed as a “cruciform” shape, which means that it is roughly “cross” shaped. This cruciform shape intuitively imparts what may be termed longitudinal axis's to the pad which run along the lengths established by opposing exterior lobes resulting in two such axis's that cross substantially near the center of the pad. In FIG. 2, these are shown as an “X” axis and a “Y” axis.
The pad is comprised of multi-layered components which will be described in more detail below, however, the present embodiment of the pad is pliable and easily folds along either of the longitudinal axis's described above. Thus when the user is ready to install the pad on a garment, it is possible to align the cruciform shape such that one axis will be oriented in line with the sleeve seam. With reference to FIG. 1, it can be appreciated that if it is the “X” axis of the pad that is aligned with placement on the sleeve seam, the opposing “Y” axis will be oriented in perpendicular fashion and will be in rough parallel alignment with the longitudinal axis of the sleeve, at least to the extent of the portion of the “Y” axis or lobe that extends into the sleeve interior. The other end of the “Y” axis or lobe will, as a result of the folding that occurs along the “X” axis generally, will be oriented to a second angle that is roughly ninety degrees relative to the portion of the “Y” axis that extends into the sleeve interior. This second “Y” axis lobe depends downwardly in the shirt, the whole pad conforming generally to the interior of the sleeve and shirt.
The arrangement of the pad described above, allows the pad to be oriented with some precision as far as ensuring that the bulk of the pad covers the area of the garment that would be subject to the greatest need for protection from underarm perspiration. As will be discussed further, the cruciform shape also allows the maximum areas of absorbency to be positioned where the need for protection is the greatest as well.
Turning now to the embodiment presented in FIGS. 2 and 4, the pad is comprised of several layers that contribute to a specific function of the garment protector. The depiction of the pad in FIG. 2 shows the side of the pad with the padding, which may be understood to be the absorbent face of the pad. The padding completely covers this side of the pad including the raised area or reservoir. In FIG. 3, the opposite side of the pad is shown with the sheathing and the backing surfaces exposed. This side may be understood as the adhesive face portion of the pad. In use, the absorbent face is directed towards the underarm of the user, while it is the adhesive face that contacts and adheres to the interior portions of the shirt (or other garment).
The adhesive face includes the backing which is preferentially a pliable plastic material of a kind and type that would do service in applications of this type, and it has applied thereon, a thin adhesive film (not shown) that may be located on the surface of the backing or it may be embedded within the backing itself, and which adhesive is suitable for affixing the pad to a garment fabric. The sheathing covers the backing and the adhesive film and is itself a thin plastic film that can be easily separated from the backing and adhesive by pulling back on the pull tab and withdrawing the sheathing away from the backing, as shown in FIG. 3, after which the sheathing is disposed in a normal fashion. The sheathing is provided to protect the adhesive from drying out, or from becoming unintentionally affixed to anything prior to the time it is to be used. The pads are preferably packaged in pairs and each pair would be preferably packaged as one unit, ready for use. It should be understood that the garment protector of the present invention is disposable, so that once used, it will be thrown away. As will be discussed further, there are additives that can be made to the pads that would require hermetic sealing in order to retain effectiveness, thus the preference for packaging in use related sizes.
Once the pad has the adhesive face exposed, it is brought into position over the subject area of the garment where the protection is desired. As mentioned above, this is typically the area where the sleeve of a shirt or blouse (or similar) meets the body of the garment, which many times is delineated by a seam that brings the separate pieces of fabric together. The alignment is as discussed above and when ready, the user merely presses the adhesive face against the fabric of the garment and it will adhere and be affixed in position. The actual adhesive that would be used for the pad of the present invention is any adhesive that is suitable for removable installation of the pad to the shirt or blouse. These adhesives are known in the art and the exact type is not specifically a part of the present invention. Preferably the adhesive selected for the purposes herein, would be one that not only provides the compatible adhesion, but also does not have any propensity or properties for exciting an allergenic response from the user.
Continuing, the absorbent face of the pad is now left exposed to the area of the user's underarm when the shirt or blouse is being worn. It is noted that the absorbent face has structure that uniquely functions to absorb perspiration. The cruciform shape allows for an expanded area of coverage although it is noted that there is a difference in the contours on the absorbent face. The reservoir area is comprised of the padding which overlies another layer of highly absorbent material. By design, the reservoir area of the pad has increased absorbency over the outlying non-reservoir area that is comprised solely of the padding layers. The reservoir is positioned by alignment and by design, directly where the absorbency is needed the most in the usual case. The outlying areas by contrast, have padding that is also absorbent but the padding is also able to wick collected perspiration to the reservoir area. In this manner, the pad of the present invention utilizes the expanded surface area presented by the cruciform shape and the usage of a central reservoir to operate to collect excessive perspiration and to contain it. It is believed that the present invention will therefore have longer service and will enhance the confidence of users who know that their garment protector will not fade or “give out” part way through an evening or an event.
The padding is typically a cotton based material however it is believed that much of the padding material that would be suited for the padding layers in the present invention would include some fibers in order to provide structural strength that would not be as efficient as the basic cotton material in terms of absorbency. The important factors for selection of a padding materials for the present invention, is that they retain a suitable degree of absorbency to be able to wick perspiration away from the user and allow it to be accumulated within a highly absorbent reservoir. As the drawings imply, the reservoir is preferentially comprised of a different material than the padding, and this comes about in part because the absorbent in the reservoir is encapsulated within the padding above and below. The use of less structured absorbents is possible, which may include for instance, a material like 3M's Gamgee® absorbent padding which provides an enhanced level of absorbency over the materials that would comprise the padding layers.
In addition to supplying the reservoir with a high capacity absorbent, the pad of the present invention may also have other additives. For instance, deodorant may be included in the padding layers and in the absorbent within the reservoir area. A conventional deodorant chemistry can be included and would beneficially prevent the collected perspiration from becoming a problem by reason of smell. In addition, chemical desiccants could be used within the structures of the padding and the reservoir to allow the chemical absorption of perspiration within the present invention, which would help to reduce the feeling of “wetness” that could develop as the reservoir becomes saturated. This enhancement would not necessary extend the useful life of the product but it would make it easier to handle when the garment protector is removed from the shirt or blouse at the end of its period of use. The removal process is merely the action of the user to coax an edge of the pad to lift slightly and then to gently pull the whole pad off the surface of the fabric. Given the appropriate selection of adhesive, this procedure will not harm the fabric nor will it cause any discoloring or staining. In yet another enhancement of the present invention, the pad may be provided in colored treatments, such as white or black to be able to coordinate with clothing selections and to render the garment protector as discrete as possible, but it also may come in flesh tones, or other colors for the same purpose.
Given the enhanced functionality of the present invention, and its overall ease of use, the applicant believes that the garment protector taught herein will represent a significant advance over the prior art garment protectors. Nonetheless, the embodiments and features disclosed within this application are meant to be illustrative of the invention and are not meant to be limiting of the scope of the invention.