Title:
Bottle cap with internal brush
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Described is a bottle cap having one or more internal brushes included thereon. The internal brushes may be useful for scrubbing a cleaning liquid, such as laundry detergent, dispensed from a bottle into the bottle cap. Unlike conventional methods, wherein detergent is scrubbed by hand or with a separate brush, the present invention provides a built-in internal brush on a cap of the detergent bottle. After use, liquid left in the cap and on the brushes may return to the bottle through a conventional drainback mechanism.



Inventors:
Siacunco, James P. (Dublin, CA, US)
White, Tami O. (Pleasanton, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/144230
Publication Date:
12/24/2009
Filing Date:
06/23/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/223, 222/566
International Classes:
B65D51/00; B65D25/40; B65D69/00
View Patent Images:
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20090057260Tamper-Evident ContainerMarch, 2009Mohindra



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TUAN N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THE CLOROX COMPANY (P.O. BOX 24305, OAKLAND, CA, 94623-1305, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A bottle cap comprising: a liquid receiving section; and at least one brush disposed along at least a portion of the liquid receiving section, the brush extending beyond a lip of the liquid receiving section.

2. The bottle cap of claim 1, wherein the brush is formed along about 20% to about 80% of the liquid receiving section.

3. The bottle cap of claim 1, further comprising a pouring lip for pouring a liquid from the liquid receiving section out of the bottle cap.

4. The bottle cap of claim 1, wherein at least one brush is disposed within the liquid receiving section.

5. The bottle cap of claim 1, further comprising an attachment means for attaching the bottle cap onto a bottle.

6. The bottle cap of claim 5, wherein at least one brush is encased within an external structure defined by the bottle and bottle cap when the bottle cap is in place on the bottle.

7. The bottle cap of claim 6, wherein the bottle has a drainback feature allowing liquid from at least one of the liquid receiving section and the brush to flow back into the bottle when the bottle cap is in place on the bottle.

8. The bottle cap of claim 7, wherein wherein at least one brush is positioned along the top edge of the liquid receiving portion.

9. The bottle cap of claim 1, wherein at least one brush is attached to an inner ring disposed circumferentially inside of the liquid receiving section.

10. The bottle cap of claim 9, wherein a pouring lip is formed integrally with the inner ring.

11. The bottle cap of claim 9, wherein the inner ring is formed integrally with the bottle cap.

12. The bottle cap of claim 1, wherein: at least one brush is attached to a flexible base having a slit therein;and the slit fits over a lip of the liquid receiving portion.

13. A container for a liquid, the container comprising: a bottle; and a bottle cap fitting on the bottle, wherein the bottle cap has a liquid receiving section and at least one brush disposed along at least a portion of the liquid receiving section, the brush extending beyond a lip of the liquid receiving section.

14. The container of claim 13, wherein: the bottle has a pouring spout, a pump spray mechanism, a pop-up squirt top or a flip-up squirt top for delivering liquid from the bottle; and the bottle cap fits over the pouring spout, the pump spray mechanism, the pop-up squirt top or the flip-up squirt top.

15. The container of claim 13, wherein the bottle has a drainback feature allowing liquid from at least one of the liquid receiving section and the brush to flow back into the bottle when the bottle cap is replaced on the bottle after use.

16. The container of claim 13, wherein: the drainback feature includes a drainback reservoir for receiving liquid from at least one of the bottle cap and the brush when the bottle cap is replaced on the bottle after use; and the brush is disposed within the drainback reservoir when the bottle cap is on the bottle.

17. The container of claim 13, further comprising: a pouring lip for pouring a liquid from the liquid receiving section out of the bottle cap, wherein the brush is formed along about 20% to about 80% of the liquid receiving section; and the pouring lip is located along at least a portion of the liquid receiving section without the brush formed therealong.

18. A kit comprising: a bottle; a bottle cap fitting onto the bottle; and instructions for use of the kit, wherein the bottle cap has a liquid receiving section and a brush disposed along at least a portion of the liquid receiving section, the brush extending beyond a lip of the liquid receiving section.

19. The kit of claim 18, wherein the instructions include pre-treatment instructions.

20. The kit of claim 18, wherein: the bottle has a drainback feature allowing liquid from at least one of the liquid receiving section and the brushes to flow back into the bottle when the bottle cap is replaced on the bottle after use; the drainback feature includes a drainback reservoir for receiving liquid from at least one of the bottle cap and the brushes when the bottle cap is replaced on the bottle after use; and the brushes are disposed within the drainback reservoir when the bottle cap is on the bottle.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to a bottle cap having an internal brush and more specifically to an internal brush or brush insert that can be used with the pouring spout of a drainback bottle.

2. Description of the Related Art

Laundry detergent bottles often include a drainback dispensing opening for delivering the detergent from the bottle. The drainback dispensing opening allows for detergent that remains on the bottle's spout to drainback into the bottle. Laundry detergent bottles also often include a measuring cup which may threadably attach over the bottle's spout. After detergent is measured and placed into the clothes washer, the measuring cup may be screwed back over the bottle's spout thereby permitting detergent remaining in the measuring cup to flow back into the bottle through the drainback dispensing opening.

Typical drainback bottles are well-known in the art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,706,819 issued to Li; U.S. Pat. No. 4,993,605 issued to Del Re; U.S. Pat. No. 5,108,009 issued to Davidson et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,462,202 issued to Haffner et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,566,862 issued to Hafflier; U.S. Pat. No. 6,123,231 issued to Geisinger; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,223,945 issued to Giblin et al. each describe various types of drainback bottles. None of these designs, however, address the delivery and application of a liquid to a substrate, such as the delivery and application of laundry detergent to clothing.

For stain removal from clothing, it is often useful to apply a cleaning agent, such as laundry detergent, directly onto the stain. It is further often useful to scrub the detergent into the stain. Conventionally, this may be accomplished by folding the clothing at the stain location and rubbing the detergent into the stain from each side. This method, however, may be messy and may cause detergent to spill out from the stain location before penetrating the clothing fabric.

Another conventional method for scrubbing detergent into a stain may include the use of a separate scrubbing brush. While this method may avoid the mess of detergent run-off, as described above, this method requires the use of a separate brush. Furthermore, once the brush is used, detergent in the brush bristles may result in a detergent spill when the detergent eventually runs off the bristles. Alternatively, the brush requires rinsing after use, thereby providing an additional step for the user and wasting the detergent that is rinsed off the brush bristles.

There are several conventional brushes known in the art. For example, cosmetic products, such as nail polish and mascara, typically have a brush attached at the end of a shaft which fits into the cosmetic product bottle. U.S. Pat. No. 6,966,716 issued to Pink and U.S. Pat. No. 6,237,609 issued to Vasas describe such brush assemblies. These brushes are typically designed for application of the cosmetic to a user and are generally not designed or suitable for the delivery and application of a consumer cleaning product to a substrate, such as a laundry detergent to a stain on clothing.

Accordingly, what is needed is a simple, easy-to-use device for delivery and application of a liquid that provides the ease and less mess of a brush applicator with the convenience of a drainback design.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the principles of the present invention, in one embodiment, a bottle cap comprises a liquid receiving section; and a brush formed along at least a portion of the liquid receiving section, the brush extending beyond a lip of the liquid receiving section.

According to another embodiment of the present invention, a container for a liquid comprises a bottle; and a bottle cap fitting on the bottle, wherein the bottle cap has a liquid receiving section and a brush formed along at least a portion of the liquid receiving section, the brush extending beyond a lip of the liquid receiving section. In one embodiment, the brush may be positioned adjacent to the interior or the exterior portion of the liquid receiving section or there may be one or more brushes or groups of brush bristles positioned on either side of the liquid receiving section. In another embodiment, the brush or groups of brush bristles may be positioned on top of the liquid receiving section, as an extension of the liquid receiving section.

In another embodiment of the invention, one or more brushes may be attached to the bottle cap in a manner so that they can be in a recessed position when the bottle cap is in a closed position on the container and in an extended position when the bottle cap is separated from the container. In this embodiment, the brush or brushes do not have to extend beyond the lip of the liquid receiving section when the brush is in a recessed position, but in an extended position the brushes must extend beyond the lip of the liquid receiving section. The brushes may have a tab, pull, button or other suitable means for moving the brush or brushes between a recessed position and an extended position.

According to a further embodiment of the present invention, a kit comprises a bottle; a bottle cap fitting onto the bottle; and instructions for use of the kit, wherein the bottle cap has a liquid receiving section and a brush or groups of brush bristles formed along at least a portion of the liquid receiving section, the brush extending beyond a lip of the liquid receiving section.

To use the bottle cap with internal brush according to the present invention, a user may pour a small amount of a liquid (e.g., laundry detergent, stain pre-treatment, whitening or bleaching compositions) from a bottle either directly on the substrate (e.g., a stain on clothing) or into the bottle cap. When poured directly on the substrate, the user may use the brushes built into the bottle cap to scrub the liquid into the substrate, for example, as for stain pretreatment. In the case that the liquid is first poured into the bottle cap, the liquid may be allowed to flow down the side of the bottle cap and into the brushes. The brushes built into the bottle cap can then be used to scrub the liquid into the substrate. After use, the bottle cap may be returned to the bottle, allowing any liquid remaining on the brushes or in the bottle cap itself to flow back into the bottle.

In one embodiment, the brushes may be formed integrally with the bottle cap. In another embodiment, the brushes may be a separate component adapted to fit on conventional detergent bottle caps, thereby allowing retrofit of internal brushes onto conventional drainback bottles. These features are described in greater detail below.

Further features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the detailed description of embodiments below, when considered together with the attached drawings and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing aspects and others will be readily appreciated by the skilled artisan from the following description of illustrative embodiments when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective front view of a bottle cap in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows a side perspective view of the bottle cap of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 shows a plan view of the bottle cap of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of a bottle cap retrofitted to become a bottle cap with internal brushes according to one aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 5 shows a front perspective view of a bottle and bottle cap in accordance with the principles of the present invention, the bottle receiving the bottle cap of the present invention;

FIG. 6 shows a plan perspective view of bottle and bottle cap of FIG. 5; and

FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of the bottle and bottle cap of FIG. 5 being fit together.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference will now be made to the drawings wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout. Exemplary embodiments of the present invention are illustrated in the context of a bottle cap having an internal brush included thereon, fitting on a consumer cleaning product bottle, such as a laundry detergent bottle. The skilled artisan will readily appreciate, however, that the materials and methods disclosed herein will have application in a number of other contexts where a bottle cap having an internal brush may be advantageous, such as carpet cleaners, tire cleaners, other professional and institutional products, personal care products and the like.

All publications, patents and patent applications cited herein, whether supra or infra, are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety to the same extent as if each individual publication, patent or patent application was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference.

It must be noted that, as used in this specification and the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an” and “the” include plural referents unless the content clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to a “surfactant” includes two or more such surfactants.

Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which the invention pertains. Although a number of methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice of the present invention, the preferred materials and methods are described herein.

As used herein, the term “drainback” when referring to a “drainback feature”, “drainback mechanism”, “drainback bottle” and the like, refers to a bottle allowing for the flow of residual liquid back from the cap back into the bottle when the cap is replaced on the bottle. Examples of drainback bottles may include those described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,706,819 issued to Li; U.S. Pat. No. 4,993,605 issued to Del Re; U.S. Pat. No. 5,108,009 issued to Davidson et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,462,202 issued to Haffner et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,566,862 issued to Haffner; U.S. Pat. No. 6,123,231 issued to Geisinger; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,223,945 issued to Giblin et al. as well as others known in the art.

As used herein, the term “internal” when referring to an “internal brush” refers to the position of the brush when a bottle cap is in place on a bottle. For example, an internal brush on a bottle cap would be encased within an external structure defined by the bottle and bottle cap when the bottle cap is in place on the bottle.

As used herein, the term “substrate” refers to an item to which a liquid may be applied. For example, when the liquid is a laundry detergent, the substrate may be a piece of clothing; when the liquid is a tire cleaner, the substrate may be a tire; when the liquid is a carpet cleaner, the substrate may be carpet.

Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a bottle cap 10 having an internal brush 12 according to one embodiment of the present invention. The bottle cap 10 may include a liquid receiving section 14 for dispensing liquid from a bottle (not shown) therein. A pouring lip 16 may be included to assist in the delivery of the liquid from the bottle cap 10 to a substrate. The brush 12 may be formed along at least a portion of the liquid receiving section 14. The brush 12 may extend, as shown in FIG. 1, beyond a lip 16a of the liquid receiving section 14. The bottle cap 10 may also include an attachment means 18, such as threads, to attach the bottle cap 10 to a bottle.

Referring to FIG. 2 and FIG. 3, there are shown side and plan views, respectively, of the bottle cap 10 of FIG. 1. The brushes 12 may be formed in an inner ring 20 formed circumferentially and fitting within the liquid receiving section 14 of the bottle cap 10. The brushes 12 may be in a continuous line or arch shape around the interior of exterior of the liquid receiving section 14. The brushes 12 may be in the form of groups of brush bristles or a combination of one or more brushes in lines or bunches. The inner ring 20 may be a separate component inserted into the receiving section 14 via, for example, a friction fit or with glue, epoxy or the like. This embodiment may allow retrofit of conventional bottle caps to be upgraded to the bottle cap 10 of the present invention. Alternatively, the inner ring 20 may be formed integrally with the bottle cap 10.

The brushes 12 may attach to the inner ring 20 by any conventional means. In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 2, the brushes may form bunches 22 that may be attached to holes 24 in the inner ring 20. The brushes 12 may be included in from about 10% to about 90%, more preferably from about 20% to 80% of the circumference of the inner ring 20. Typically, the brushes 12 are included in from about 40% to about 70% of the circumference of the inner ring 20. In another embodiment, the brush may cover the entire circumference of the inner ring 20 or extend all the way around the liquid receiving section 14. In this embodiment where the brush or brushes extend around the entire circumference the cap may include a spout or funnel or other suitable configurations for pouring liquids which are positioned closer to the interior of the liquid receiving section. This allows the liquids to be poured onto a substrate being treated or back into the bottle without being poured over or into the brushes.

The brushes 12 may also be attached over a conventional bottle cap 10′ having a receiving section 14′ as shown in FIG. 4. In this embodiment, the brushes 12 may be formed in a flexible base 30 having a slot 32 cut therein. The slot 32 may frictionally fit along an upper edge 14a of the receiving section 14′. Alternatively, the upper edge 14a may contain glue, epoxy or the like, to affix the base 30 onto the bottle cap 10′.

In addition to the above embodiments, any means may be used to form a brush 12 within a bottle cap. In one embodiment of the present invention, one requirement for the brush 12, among these various means for forming a brush 12 within a bottle cap, is that the brush 12 may be required to fit into a dispensing region (as described below) of a bottle when the bottle cap is placed on the bottle.

Referring now to FIG. 5 and FIG. 6, there are shown front and plan views, respectively, of a bottle 40 and a bottle cap 10 according to one embodiment of the present invention. The bottle 40 and bottle cap 10 may be of conventional design, however, the bottle cap 10 contains internal brushes 12 according to the present invention. In a typical embodiment of the present invention, the bottle 40 may include a drainback feature, as described above, for draining liquid from the bottle cap 10 and the brushes 12 back into the bottle 40 when the bottle cap 10 is placed onto the bottle 40. The drainback feature may include a drainback reservoir 42 for receiving fluid from the bottle cap 10 and/or the brushes 12 and a drainback hole 44 for communicating fluid in the drainback reservoir 42 to the inside of the bottle 40. The brushes 12 may be disposed within the drainback reservoir 42 when the bottle cap 10 is on the bottle 40.

Referring to FIG. 7, there is shown a perspective view of the bottle cap 10 being placed on the bottle 40. As mentioned above, the brushes 12 are so-called internal brushes as they are internal to the bottle/bottle cap combination when the bottle cap 10 is placed on the bottle 40. In other words, the brushes 12 may fit into a dispensing region 46 of the bottle 40 when the bottle cap 10 is placed on the bottle 40 as shown in FIG. 7. The dispensing region 46 may include a protruding spout 48. As can be seen, when the bottle cap 10 is placed on the bottle 40, any liquid that remains on the bottle cap 10 or within the brushes 12 may flow into the drainback reservoir 42 and back inside the bottle 40.

While the above description describes a bottle cap 10 having internal brushes 12 for use with a drainback bottle 40, the present invention may include any application wherein a bottle cap 10 having internal brushes 12 may be useful. For example, instead of an open dispensing region 46 being capped by the bottle cap 10, a spray mechanism or a pop-up or flip-up squirt top, as are known in the art, may be capped by the bottle cap 10. This spray mechanism/pop-up squirt top may be used to dispense liquid from the bottle onto a substrate. In this embodiment, the brushes 12 may then be used to scrub the liquid into the substrate.

In one embodiment of the present invention, a kit is provided. The kit may include the bottle cap 10 and the bottle 40, as described above, filled with a liquid, along with instructions for use of the liquid and the bottle 40/bottle cap 10 combination. The instructions may be, for example, pre-treatment instructions when the liquid is a cleaner, such as a laundry detergent.

This invention has been described herein in considerable detail to provide those skilled in the art with information relevant to apply the novel principles and to construct and use such specialized components as are required. However, it is to be understood that the invention can be carried out by different equipment, materials and devices, and that various modifications, both as to the equipment and operating procedures, can be accomplished without departing from the scope of the invention itself.