Title:
Portable apparatus for cleaning articles
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable apparatus for cleaning articles comprises a flexible waterproof pouch with a flexible absorbent lining and a watertight closure. A workpiece article to be cleaned is inserted into the pouch. External manipulation of the pouch causes the lining to abrade the workpiece, thus cleaning it. Soap solution, detergent solution, or cleaning fluid poured onto and absorbed by the absorbent lining enhances cleaning. The absorbent lining may have an abrasive surface which further enhances cleaning. The apparatus when not in use is flat and flexible and may be conveniently carried in a user's pocket. The watertight closure prevents escape of the liquid absorbed in the absorbent lining onto the user's clothing or person.



Inventors:
Ayala, Joe (Hasbroock Hts., NJ, US)
Application Number:
10/200996
Publication Date:
01/29/2004
Filing Date:
07/23/2002
Assignee:
AYALA JOE
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/210.1
International Classes:
A63B47/04; A63B57/00; (IPC1-7): A47L13/17
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SPISICH, MARK
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GERALD J. CECHONY (PHILADELPHIA, PA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. Apparatus for cleaning a workpiece, comprising a flexible waterproof pouch having: an openable watertight closure; and an absorbent lining arranged to form a pouchlike cavity for receiving a workpiece through the openable watertight closure, whereby inserting a workpiece through the openable watertight closure into the pouchlike cavity and externally manipulating the waterproof pouch causes abrasion of the workpiece by the flexible lining, whereby cleaning of the workpiece is effected.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1 including a liquid contained by absorption in the absorbent lining.

3. The apparatus according to claim 2 wherein the liquid is at least one of water, soap, detergent, soap solution, detergent solution, and solvent.

4. The flexible waterproof pouch according to claim 1 wherein the absorbent lining includes a permeable layer of abrasive material disposed on a surface adjoining the pouchlike cavity.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention generally relates to apparatus for cleaning articles, and, more specifically, to a highly portable, pocketable apparatus for cleaning articles.

[0002] A person on an itinerary away from his home may often have need to clean articles that he is using while on his itinerary. For example, a person who wears eyeglasses may have the need arise to clean them. A golfer often has the need to remove grass stains, scuff marks, mud, clumps of earth, and the like from a golf ball during his round.

[0003] It is a simple matter to carry tissues or a cloth which may, to a limited extent, be used to clean articles. A person who wears eyeglasses may carry commercial lens tissues for cleaning them. A golfer may keep a cloth rag in his golf bag for cleaning golf balls. Many people carry handkerchiefs which are often pressed into service for cleaning articles.

[0004] However, the cleaning of articles is often better accomplished with the use of soaps, detergents, cleaning fluids, or at least with water. It is infeasible or inconvenient to carry a tissue or rag impregnated with such liquids. If a rag is impregnated with such a liquid at the time of use, it is infeasible or inconvenient to retain the rag after that in its wet condition.

[0005] Apparatus is known in the art for containing a wet cleaning means while not permitting wetness to escape. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,829,086 to Billek teaches a golf-ball cleaner in which the ball is placed in a permeable container which in turn is placed in a rigid container of fluid. The rigid container is then closed and shaken, causing the golf ball to abrade against the inside of the permeable container. This abrasion in the presence of the fluid effects cleaning of the ball. The closed container may be transported without escape of wetness.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 6,036,386 to McDonald teaches a pair of joinable hemispheres lined with absorbent material having a central void in which a golf ball may be accommodated. The absorbent material is wetted with a fluid, a golf ball is inserted, and the hemispheres are joined. Rotation of one hemisphere relative to the other results in abrasion of the wet absorbent material against the ball surface, which effects cleaning of the ball. The joined spheres may be transported without escape of wetness.

[0007] Unfortunately, the past methods and apparatus, while transportable in luggage such as a golf bag, are somewhat bulky and thus not conveniently transportable on a user's person. And, the past methods and apparatus are limited in the range of articles they can clean.

[0008] As can be seen, there is a need for an apparatus that can clean a wide variety of articles and that is conveniently transportable on a user's person, such as in a user's pocket.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The present invention provides apparatus for cleaning a workpiece, comprising a flexible waterproof pouch having an openable watertight closure and an absorbent lining arranged to form a pouchlike cavity for receiving a workpiece through the openable watertight closure whereby inserting a workpiece through the openable watertight closure into the pouchlike cavity and externally manipulating the waterproof pouch causes abrasion of the workpiece by the flexible lining, whereby cleaning of the workpiece is effected.

[0010] These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following drawings, description and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] FIG. 1 is a front view of an apparatus according to the present invention;

[0012] FIG. 2 is a side view of an apparatus according to the present invention while it is in a closed condition;

[0013] FIG. 3 is a side view of an apparatus according to the present invention while it is in an open condition;

[0014] FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of an apparatus according to the present invention while it is in an open condition, along the section A-A identified in FIG. 1; and

[0015] FIG. 5 depicts typical use of the apparatus according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0016] The following detailed description is of the best currently contemplated modes of carrying out the invention. The description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating the general principles of the invention, since the scope of the invention is best defined by the appended claims.

[0017] The present invention provides an apparatus into which articles may be inserted for wet cleaning, the apparatus being externally dry, and conveniently portable, even easily pocketable. Referring to FIG. 1, cleaning apparatus 10 may comprise a pouch 100. Pouch 100 may be of a flexible waterproof material, such as vinyl. Integral to pouch 100 may be closure 110. Closure 110 may be any of the flexible watertight openable closures known in the art, such as a ZipLoc™ closure.

[0018] FIG. 2 is a side view of cleaning apparatus 10 with pouch 100 and closure 110 in their closed positions. Pouch 100 may be relatively flat to minimize the space it occupies while not in use, thus enhancing its portability.

[0019] FIG. 3 is another side view of cleaning apparatus 10. Since pouch 100 and closure 110 may be flexible, cleaning apparatus 10 may be opened to accommodate the insertion of a workpiece article to be cleaned, and is depicted in FIG. 3 in such opened position. FIG. 4 depicts cleaning apparatus 10 from the same viewpoint as in FIG. 3, and in cross-section along section line AA identified in FIG. 1. The watertight closure 110 employed in the embodiment depicted in FIG. 4 comprises raised land 114 which fits into groove 112, although those skilled in the art realize that this is but one of many types of watertight closure that are available. FIG. 4 shows absorbent material 120. Absorbent material 120 may be flexible, so that the entire cleaning apparatus 10 is flexible and may thus comfortably be carried on a user's person, such as in his pocket. If convenient, cleaning apparatus 10 may be folded to fit better in a pocket.

[0020] Absorbent material 120 is arranged within pouch 100 so as to form a pouchlike cavity 130 open to closure 110 for containing an article to be cleaned. A liquid (not shown) to aid in cleaning may be poured onto absorbent lining 120, and may be any of soap solution, detergent solution, solvent, alcohol, or plain water. While closure 110 is in closed position the liquid may not escape and thus may not wet the hands or clothing of a user transporting apparatus 10.

[0021] When an article is to be cleaned, closure 110 may be opened and the article may be inserted within pouch 100 and within cavity 130 formed in absorbent lining 120, and closure 110 may be closed. Pouch 100 may then be externally manipulated by the user's hands as illustrated in FIG. 5 to abrade the inner surface 122 of absorbent lining 120 against surfaces of the article, which effects cleaning of the article, particularly in the presence of liquid which may be contained in absorbent material 120. Manipulation may also effect positioning of the article within pouch 100 so that all portions of the article are cleaned.

[0022] In alternative embodiments of the invention, inner surface 122 may be of an abrasive material, such as ScotchBrite™, bonded to absorbent material 120. Such abrasive material enhances cleaning of the article. In other alternative embodiments, a separate sheet of abrasive material (not shown in the drawings) may be inserted within cavity 130 formed in absorbent material 120, and may be arranged to form a pouchlike cavity for containing the workpiece. The separate sheet may be permeable so as to pass liquid contained in absorbent lining 120.

[0023] The present invention generally provides a highly portable apparatus for cleaning articles. As can be appreciated by those skilled in the art, the present invention provides an improved apparatus that can clean a wide variety of articles and that is conveniently transportable on a user's person, such as in a user's pocket. It should be understood, of course, that the foregoing relates to preferred embodiments of the invention and that modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the following claims.