Title:
Foot cleaning brush assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A foot cleaning brush assembly comprising an anchor unit (1) adapted to be supported on a generally horizontal support surface and having a laterally extending anchoring formation (8) for receiving a foot of a person to anchor the anchor unit in position whilst it is in use. A brush unit (2) is releasably received in a zone (3) of the anchoring formation. The brush unit is composed of a base (4) from which a multitude of bristles (6) extend and the anchor unit has friction affording means such as feet (13) on its operative under surface for cooperation with a support surface to inhibit slipping of the anchor unit. The anchoring formation preferably has a dimension in the direction of the length of the support zone appreciably less than the length of a person's foot so that, in use, a person's foot will contact the support surface on which the anchor unit is located both in front of and behind the anchoring formation which is thus engaged by the central region of such foot.



Inventors:
Van Der, Hoven Clifton Aubrey (George, ZA)
Application Number:
10/433190
Publication Date:
05/12/2005
Filing Date:
11/27/2001
Assignee:
VAN DER HOVEN CLIFTON A.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
4/606, 601/136
International Classes:
A47K7/02; (IPC1-7): A47K7/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KARLS, SHAY LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AKERMAN LLP (WEST PALM BEACH, FL, US)
Claims:
1. A foot cleaning brush assembly comprising an anchor unit adapted to be supported on a generally horizontal support surface and having a laterally extending anchoring formation for receiving a foot of a person to anchor the anchor unit in position whilst it is in use, and a brush unit; wherein the anchor unit has a zone which receives, releasably attached thereto, the brush unit; wherein the brush unit is composed of a base from which a multitude of bristles extend; and wherein the anchor unit has friction affording means on its operative under surface for cooperation with a support surface to inhibit slipping of the anchor unit.

2. An assembly as claimed in claim 1 in which the base of the brush unit is provided with fastening means for releasably attaching it to the said zone of the anchor unit.

3. An assembly as claimed in claim 2 in which the fastening means is suction cups carried by the base of the brush unit and co-operating with a smooth surface provided in said zone of the anchor unit.

4. An assembly as claimed in claim 2 in which the brush unit and said zone of the anchor unit are provided with co-operating releasable fasteners.

5. An assembly as claimed in claim 1 in which the base of the brush is substantially flat.

6. An assembly as claimed in claim 5 in which the length of the bristles in various regions are varied to provide an undulating upper plane.

7. An assembly as claimed in claim 1 in which the base of the brush has one face having a suction cup towards each end thereof and a multitude of bristles projecting from an oppositely directed face.

8. An assembly as claimed in claim 1 in which the support zone and brush unit have a length extending between two ends thereof in which case the anchoring formation extends laterally away from the support zone intermediate the ends of the support zone so as to form a Tee-shape in plan view.

9. An assembly as claimed in claim 8 in which the anchoring formation has a dimension in the direction of the length of the support zone appreciably less than the length of a person's foot so that, in use, a person's foot will contact the support surface on which the anchor unit is located both in front of and behind the anchoring formation which is thus engaged by the central region of such foot.

10. An assembly as claimed in claim 1 in which the anchoring formation has an enlarged stop at an end remote from the support zone.

11. A foot cleaning brush kit comprising an assembly comprised of: an anchor unit adapted to be supported on a generally horizontal support surface and having a laterally extending anchoring formation for receiving a foot of a person to anchor the anchor unit in position whilst it is in use; a brush unit; wherein the anchor unit has a zone which receives, releasably attached thereto, the brush unit, wherein the brush unit is composed of a base from which a multitude of bristles extend, and wherein the anchor unit has friction affording means on its operative under surface for cooperation with a support surface to inhibit slipping of the anchor unit, together with a sterilizing receptacle in which at least the bristles of the brush unit can be located.

12. A foot cleaning brush kit comprising an assembly as claimed in claim 11 in which the sterilizing receptacle is adapted to receive the brush in an upside-down orientation with the bristles projecting downwards into a sterilizing liquid in use.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a foot cleaning brush assembly and, more particularly, to a brush assembly which can easily be used by a person standing in a shower in order to clean their feet, particularly the underneath of the feet.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

The importance of cleaning one's feet adequately has long been recognized. It is not always, however, convenient or physically easy enough to clean one's feet properly. The problem is particularly acute when a person is showering in that the feet are difficult to reach unless one is particularly supple. On the other hand, if one attempts to lift one foot in order to clean it, it is difficult to keep one's balance whilst standing on one foot and cleaning the other.

As a result, many different types of cleaning brushes and other apparatus have been proposed. Thus, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,729,858; 5,321,867 and 5,724,695 all described complicated brushes and other cleaning equipment having special designs and configurations so that a foot can be cleaned on the top as well as all sides with the cleaning apparatus positioned on the floor, for example of a shower. All three of these prior patents have numerous brush elements generally configured to a channel or tunnel shape and resting on feet, typically in the form of suction cups.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,617,917 describes another such a brush arrangement but an arrangement that does provide for enhanced anchoring of the brush assembly to the floor of a shower during use thereof. In this case a type of tunnel formation of brushes has a flap projecting outwardly from the base of the brush assembly so that a person's one foot can stand on the flap to anchor the apparatus whilst the other foot is moved against the brush bristles in order to clean it.

All of these prior patents suffer from the disadvantage that they have, in applicant's view, become unnecessarily complicated and, accordingly, costly. The complexity of these brushes not only increases the cost but also increases the difficulty of cleaning the brush assembly itself and, indeed, makes cleaning rather difficult, if not tedious and that is if the configuration allows for proper cleaning of the brush assembly at all. The other problem with these arrangements (other than that of U.S. Pat. No. 4,617,917) is that they are extremely difficult to anchor in the correct position and suction cups do not generally function properly on shower floors that are purposely, in many cases, made to a rough non-slip surface finish. Suction cups will therefore not operate effectively in a shower although they may, when stuck to the smooth wall of a bath.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of this invention to provide a foot cleaning brush assembly of a simplified construction but which provides enhanced versatility when compared to the prior art brushes referred to above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with this invention there is provided a foot cleaning brush assembly comprising an anchor unit adapted to be supported on a generally horizontal support surface and having a laterally extending anchoring formation for receiving the foot of a person to anchor the anchor unit in position whilst it is in use, and a brush unit; the assembly being characterized in that the anchor unit has a support zone which receives, releasably attached thereto, the brush unit; in that the brush unit is composed of a base from which a multitude of bristles extend; and in that the anchor unit has friction affording means on its operative under surface for cooperation with a support surface to inhibit slipping of the anchor unit.

Further features of the invention provide for the base of the brush unit to be provided with fastening means for releasably attaching it to the said zone of the anchor unit; for the fastening means to be suction cups carried by the base of the brush unit and co-operating with a smooth surface provided in said zone of the anchor unit, or, alternatively, for the brush unit and said zone of the anchor unit to be provided with co-operating releasable fasteners such as fasteners of the hook and loop type which is typified by that sold under the trade name “velcro”; and for the base of the brush to be substantially flat in which case the length of the bristles in various regions can be varied to provide an undulating upper plane in which the free ends of the bristles are located so that cleaning of recessed regions of the foot can be effectively carried out.

Still further features of the invention provide for the support zone and brush unit to have a length extending between two ends thereof in which case the anchoring formation extends laterally away from the support zone intermediate the ends of the support zone; and for the anchoring formation to have a dimension in the direction of the length of the support zone appreciably less than the length of a person's foot so that, in use, a person's foot will contact the support surface on which the anchor unit is located both in front of and behind the anchoring formation which is thus engaged by the central region of such foot.

The invention also provides a foot cleaning brush kit comprising an assembly as defined above together with a sterilizing receptacle in which at least the bristles of the brush unit can be located, preferably in an upside-down orientation with the bristles projecting downwards into a sterilizing liquid in use.

A foot cleaning brush assembly as defined above provides a number of advantages over the brush assemblies of the prior art. In particular, the brush unit itself can be extremely simply made and can therefore be inexpensive. The brush unit can accordingly be replaced from time to time at little cost whilst the life of the anchor unit can be substantially indefinite. The anchor unit provides a safe anchorage for the brush unit which, as indicated above, could simply be attached to it by means of suction cups which are rendered effective by configuring the surface in the said zone of the anchor unit to be appropriately smooth. The brush unit can, as an alternative, be removed from the anchor unit and can be attached to the wall of a bath for example if a person wished to clean their feet in a bath instead of the shower. It can also be attached to the generally smooth tile surface of the wall of a shower to enable a person to rub their back against it. This results from the fact that the suction cups in such a case are attached directly to the base of the brush thereby enabling it to be attached to any appropriately smooth surface with the bristles exposed and accessible.

In order that the above and other features of the invention may be more fully understood one embodiment thereof will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a schematic isometric view showing the brush unit in an exploded relationship relative to the anchor unit of one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the foot cleaning brush assembly illustrated in FIG. 1 in the assembled condition;

FIG. 3 is a view from one side of the assembled foot cleaning brush assembly;

FIG. 4 is a view from the other side thereof;

FIG. 5 illustrates the brush unit alone in an orientation appropriate to use thereof when stuck to a wall of a bath or shower, for example; and,

FIG. 6 is a schematic perspective view illustrating a sterilizing receptacle that can be sold as a part of a kit together with the foot cleaning brush assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION WITH REFERENCE TO THE DRAWINGS

In the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 4 a foot cleaning brush assembly, comprises an anchor unit (1) and a brush unit (2).

The anchor unit has, in this embodiment of the invention, an elongate recess (3) that receives a base (4) of the brush unit. The base (4) carries a suction cup towards each end thereof on one face and a multitude of bristles projecting from an oppositely directed face. The suction cups cooperate with a smooth bottom surface (7) to the recess in effective manner to hold the brush unit in position whilst it is required for use in this way.

The anchor unit has a laterally extending anchoring formation (8) that, in plan view, extends transversely to, and forms a Tee-shape with, the elongate recess as shown most clearly in FIG. 2. The anchoring formation has a squat rounded upper surface so that a person can stand on it comfortably with one foot whilst moving the other foot to and fro on the brush. The anchoring formation has a dimension in the direction of the length of the recess appreciably less than the length of a person's foot so that, in use, a person's foot will contact the support surface on which the anchor unit is located both in front of, and behind, the anchoring formation which is thus engaged by the central region of such foot. The anchoring formation has, at its end opposite the recess, an enlarged stop (9) to prevent a person's foot sliding laterally off the anchoring formation. The anchoring formation can also have a hole (10) through it to enable it to be hung up on a hook or other suitable suspension member.

In order to facilitate cleaning of the under surface of a foot in recessed regions thereof, two transverse rows of bristles (6a) (see FIGS. 3 and 4) of greater height than the other bristles are provided towards each end of the brush. Bristles of intermediate length may be provided adjacent the longest bristles (6a) as indicated by numeral (6b) as well as in the central region of the length of the brush.

In use, the brush can be used in a shower with a person standing, as will be clear from the above, with the person's one foot engaging the anchoring formation and the other foot being moved to and fro over the brush to clean predominantly the under-surface of the foot, which is the surface generally requiring to be cleaned more than any other.

If a person decides to clean their feet in a bath the brush can be removed from the anchor unit and stuck, by means of the suction cups (5), to the wall of a bath tub and a person can move a foot to and fro over the brush in order to clean it whilst lying in the bath. FIG. 5 illustrates the brush in this orientation for purposes of clarity. In this general orientation the brush could also be attached to the generally smooth tile surface of the wall of a shower to enable a person to rub their back against it.

It is the intention that the foot cleaning brush assembly described above could be sold in the form of a kit together with a disinfecting or sterilizing receptacle. Such a receptacle is indicated by numeral (11) in FIG. 6 and may have a mounting flange (12) whereby it can be secured permanently or semi-permanently to a wall, for example in a shower. The receptacle (11) is dimensioned such that the brush unit, in this case, can be inverted so that the bristles are inside the receptacle in which condition they can be immersed in a suitable sterilizing solution contained therein. A kit comprising a foot cleaning brush assembly as described above and a sterilizing receptacle is therefore intended to be a feature of the invention.

It is to be noted that the anchor unit should, as indicated previously, not slip on a shower floor. It may thus be made of a material that is inherently friction affording; it may have such a layer applied to it; or, it may have friction affording feet such as those indicated by numeral (13) in FIGS. 3 and 4.

It will be understood that numerous variations may be made to the embodiment of the invention described above without departing from the scope hereof which is primarily directed at the provision of a brush unit and anchor unit which can be releasably attached together and which can be used in a shower as described above.