Title:
Cleaning device for cleaning pipes and receptacles
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cleaning device is provided for cleaning pipes and receptacles. A handle is disposed on one end of the post, and a cleaning head is disposed on the other end. The cleaning head has at least one cleaning element. The cleaning head has a longitudinal section with an outer contour that is rotationally symmetrical to the longitudinal axis of the cleaning head. At least a portion of the outer contour has a circumferential projection and/or a reduced diameter section.



Inventors:
Grobbel, Michael (Dusseldorf, DE)
Helermann, Oliver (Wuppertal, DE)
Application Number:
11/030383
Publication Date:
05/26/2005
Filing Date:
12/29/2004
Assignee:
Michael Grobbel (Dusseldorf, DE)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/160, 15/104.16
International Classes:
A47K11/10; A46B9/02; (IPC1-7): A47K11/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GUIDOTTI, LAURA COLE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROBERT BECKER IP LAW (PAGOSA SPRINGS, CO, US)
Claims:
1. A cleaning device for cleaning pipes and receptacles, comprising: a post 1; a cleaning head 2 disposed on one end of the post, wherein the cleaning head is provided with at least one cleaning element 2a, wherein the cleaning head 2 has a longitudinal section with an outer contour that is rotationally symmetrical to a longitudinal axis 13 of the cleaning head, and wherein at least a portion of said outer contour has at least one of a circumferential projection and a reduced diameter section; and a handle 3 disposed on an opposite end of said post 1.

2. A cleaning device according to claim 1, wherein said post 1 or said cleaning head 2 is provided with at least one joint 5, 5a; 12, 12a; especially in the form of a film articulation, that enables a relative movement between said handle 3 and said cleaning head 2.

3. A cleaning device according to claim 1, wherein at least one cross-sectional reduction 5, 5a; 12, 12a is provided on said cleaning head 2 or said post 1, and wherein said at least one cross-sectional reduction enables an angling of longitudinal axes 6,7 of respectively adjacent portions 8, 9 relative to one another in only a single plane or direction.

4. A cleaning device according to claim 3, wherein said at least one cross-sectional reduction 5, 5a; 12, 12a is formed by two recesses 10, 11 in the material of said cleaning head 2 or post 1 that transverse to the longitudinal axis are disposed opposite one another.

5. A cleaning device according to claim 3, wherein in the region of said at last one cross-sectional reduction 5, 5a; 12, 12a, a cross-sectional contour has an essentially right-angled, oval or similar shape.

6. A cleaning device according to claim 3, wherein at least two cross-sectional reductions 5;5a, 12;12a are disposed one after the other in the direction of said longitudinal axis 13 of said cleaning head 2 or of said post 1, and wherein said cross-sectional reductions are offset or rotated relative to one another on said longitudinal axis.

7. A cleaning device according to claim 6, wherein said angle of rotation between said cross-sectional reductions that are offset relative to one another along said longitudinal axis 13 is 90°.

8. A cleaning device according to claim 2, wherein a hollow profiled member 14, especially in the form of a tubular part, is provided, and wherein said hollow profiled member is adapted to be slid over said at least one joint to block the latter.

9. A cleaning device according to claim 8, wherein said hollow profiled member or tubular part 14 is displaceably mounted on at least one of the shaft of said cleaning head and said post 1.

10. A cleaning device according to claim 8, wherein an inner cross-sectional contour of said hollow profiled member 14 corresponds to a cross-sectional contour 16 of portions 8, 9 adjoining said at least one joint, which is in the form of a cross-sectional reduction.

11. A cleaning device according to claim 8, wherein said hollow profiled member 14 or tubular part is laterally open along at least a portion of its length, thereby being provided with a C-shaped cross-section or a window-like opening.

12. A cleaning device according to claim 8, wherein said post 1 is provided with a first portion having a smaller diameter and a second portion having a greater diameter, wherein said cleaning head 2 is secured to said first portion of said post 1, wherein said hollow profiled member 14 is displaceably mounted on said first portion, and wherein said hollow profiled member 14 is at least partially insertable into said second portion of said post 1.

13. A cleaning device according to claim 8, wherein said hollow profiled member 14 is formed on one of said post 1 and said cleaning head 2, or wherein said hollow profiled member 14 forms at least one of said post 1 and said handle 3.

14. A cleaning device according to claim 1, wherein said cleaning elements 2a, which may be formed on said cleaning head 2, are a plurality of bristles, tubular or strip-shaped textiles, or formed-on or spongy materials.

15. A cleaning device according to claim 1, wherein said cleaning head 2, with a formed-on cross-sectional reduction 5, 5a or a formed-on universal joint, is securable and replaceable, in particular on said post 1, via a detachable connection.

16. A cleaning device according to claim 15, wherein said detachable connection is a closure in the form of a bayonet closure, snap closure, catch closure or clip closure.

17. A cleaning device according to claim 15, wherein said detachable connection is provided between said cleaning head 2 and said post 1 via a positive securement against rotation.

18. A cleaning device according to claim 1, wherein said handle 3, said post 1, and said cleaning head 2 form a recessed area for a container or is provided with a container, wherein said container serves for receiving liquid, pasty or pulverous material, especially at least one of cleaning, fragrance and maintenance or repair material.

19. A cleaning device according to claim 18, wherein said container is refillable or replaceable, or is pressurized, or the material or medium disposed therein is under pressure.

20. A cleaning device according to claim 18, wherein said container is provided with a pump device.

21. A cleaning device according to claim 18, wherein after actuation of an opening valve or actuation of a pump device, material contained in said container is discharged.

22. A cleaning device according to claim 18, wherein an actuation element is disposed in said handle 3 or said post 1, and wherein operation of said actuation element opens said container.

23. A cleaning device according to claim 18, wherein material for freshening surrounding air is given off, for example via at least one of a spray head and means provided at said cleaning head Or at least one of cleaning the same and soaking or disinfecting.

24. A cleaning device according to claim 1, wherein an additional joint part is disposed between said cleaning head 2 and said post 1, and wherein said joint part can be detachably secured to at least one of said post and said cleaning head.

25. A cleaning device according to claim 1, wherein a holding device is provided for receiving said cleaning device, which is held therein by at least one magnetic connection or via a Velcro connection.

26. A cleaning device according to claim 25, wherein both of said cleaning device and said holding device, in a frictional or positive manner, carry at least one magnetic element that is respectively mutually withdrawable and/or ejectable.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a cleaning device for cleaning pipes and receptacles, especially toilet bowls.

To illustrate the features of the present invention, the function thereof will be explained in connection with the cleaning of toilet bowls.

Manual devices are known for cleaning pipes, containers, for example even bottles, but also sanitary mechanisms, especially toilet bowls. In their simplest form, these known devices comprise a cleaning head, which is preferably provided with bristles, and has a handle.

The upper edge of a toilet bowl generally has undercuts, as well as bends and curves in the region of the drain.

Based thereon, cleaning devices have been developed, for example, that in portions of the cleaning head follow the contour of undercuts (DE 43 45 101 A1). Furthermore, cleaning devices were developed that by means of movable zones between cleaning head and handle can follow a curvature (G 92 03 566.3 and EP 0847 713 B1). Further devices offer the possibility of blocking, upon demand, the movable zones disposed between cleaning head and handle via a special device (U.S. Pat. No. 1,154,369) and to use this device for removing a replaceable cleaning head (DE 199 38 787 C2).

The aforementioned cleaning devices are not in a position to adequately clean the various problematic zones of the toilet bowl in a single combined cleaning device. The complete cleaning of these problematic zones requires cleaning devices, the cleaning heads of which are adapted not only to the undercut but can also follow the curvatures.

The aforementioned cleaning devices, where portions of the bristle head follow the contour of the undercuts, have a number of drawbacks. For example, due to their shape they are not in a position, during cleaning, to permit an assisting application of force by rotational movement about the longitudinal axis, which will subsequently be called a rotational movement. Due to its shape, these devices can be guided only linearly or in a curved manner along the contour of the undercut.

A further shortcoming is that during the production of these cleaning devices, a considerable increased expenditure is required compared to a simple cleaning device, since the contour that follows the contour of the undercut is generally formed by disposing a wire netting having cleaning bristles on the cleaning head. In each case, however, different production processes are coupled with one another in order, independently of the process of providing bristles or similarly acting cleaning material on the cleaning head, to be able to additionally provide the cleaning elements that follow the undercut.

Even cleaning devices that can follow a curvature by means of movable zones between bristle head and bristle holder or holding handle have drawbacks.

By using a movable unit, in addition to the production of the cleaning head and handle, the production of such a joint or deformation element, and for the mounting thereof between cleaning head and handle, it becomes necessary to have at least one further manufacturing and also assembly step in order to be able to connect the joint or deformation element with the cleaning head and the handle. Furthermore, these joints, which are generally provided with complex surfaces, can have their operation adversely affected by dirt or contamination.

With the known devices having exchangeable cleaning heads (EP 0847 713 B1 and DE 199 38 787 C2), there results during replacement or repair of these cleaning heads the drawback that the joints or deformation elements that are subjected to wear either cannot be replaced, or the joints or deformation elements that are replaced with the cleaning head require a separate production and assembly.

Embodiments not having blockable joints or deformation elements (EP 0847 713 B1) are furthermore not in a position to transfer to the cleaning head lateral transverse forces, such as are required during the application of pressure to and cleaning of the upper undercuts of toilet edges. In particular, interposed helical springs or rubber elements shift or offset the cleaning movements and become twisted. In so doing, stored energy is again given off in an uncontrolled manner. The jerky release of the cleaning head connected therewith can give off into the environment, in an uncontrolled manner, contamination that is found on the cleaning head and was previously removed from the object that is to be cleaned.

Also unsuitable are configurations having cleaning heads that are replaceable via threaded connections (EP 0847 713 B1 and DE 92 01 932 U1), since during the cleaning such heads become loose due to rotational movements and can fall into the interior of the object that is to be cleaned.

The present invention proceeds from the basic concept of being able to provide, at minimal production expenditure and minimal use of resources, a cleaning device, the cleaning head of which has a contour for undercuts, and with which the cleaning head or handle itself forms a formed-on joint, so that the cleaning head can follow curvatures.

In this connection, the cleaning device should be able to carry out an assisting cleaning movement in the form of a rotational movement during the cleaning of undercuts and/or in curvatures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The objects and advantages of the present invention will appear more clearly from the following specification in conjunction with the accompanying schematic drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a first exemplary embodiment of an inventive cleaning device;

FIG. 2 shows a second embodiment of an inventive cleaning device during the cleaning of a toilet bowl;

FIG. 3 shows a third embodiment of an inventive cleaning device during the cleaning of a toilet bowl;

FIG. 4 is a detailed illustration of a joint that is formed by recesses in the material;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged detailed illustration of a universal joint formed by two reductions in cross-section that are disposed next to one another and are offset from one another;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an inventive cleaning device having a sleeve for arresting or fixing the position of the universal joint;

FIG. 7 is a side view of the first embodiment of FIG. 1 with the handle shifted downwardly to block the joint portions;

FIG. 8 is a perspective illustration of a further embodiment of a cleaning device having a cleaning head with a circumferential projection;

FIGS. 9 and 10 are perspective illustrations of the cleaning process;

FIG. 11 is a longitudinal section through a further embodiment of an inventive cleaning device;

FIGS. 12a &12b are side views of a further embodiment of an inventive cleaning device with secured and ejected cleaning head with blocked and non-blocked position of the sleeve-like part; and

FIGS. 13a &13b are sectioned illustrations of the views pursuant to FIGS. 12a and 12b.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The cleaning device of the present application comprises a post; a cleaning head disposed on one end of the post, wherein the cleaning head is provided with at least one cleaning element, wherein the cleaning head has a longitudinal section with an outer contour that is rotationally symmetrical to the longitudinal axis of the cleaning head, and wherein at least a portion of the outer contour has a circumferential projection and/or a reduced diameter section; and a handle disposed on the other end of the post.

Either the post or the cleaning head, especially the shaft thereof, which carries the at least one cleaning element, advantageously has one or more changes or reductions in cross-section. The changes in cross-section enable the material of the post or cleaning head to bend, and thus form a type of joint. Two joints are advantageously respectively disposed next to one another but offset by 90° on the longitudinal axis of the post or of the cleaning head, so that together they form in particular a Cardan or universal joint, and in particular a defined relative movement between handle and cleaning head is possible in a multitude of directions. It is also possible to release the cleaning head from the post, so that a new cleaning head can be secured to the post. It is thus possible to replace a dirty and used-up cleaning head with a fresh cleaning head. In this situation, it is expedient for economical reasons to dispose the joints on the cleaning head, so that they can also be replaced along with the cleaning head since they are also subjected to significant wear due to increased mechanical stresses.

The projection and/or reduced diameter section on the outer contour of the longitudinal section of the cleaning head, which is rotationally symmetrical to the longitudinal axis, is advantageously accomplished or prepared in a single operation along with the basic forming of the cleaning head, and thus requires no further production expenditure other than the basic forming. As a result, a minimal expenditure is made possible along with a minimal utilization of resources.

The projection and/or the reduced diameter section enables the cleaning elements to reach into the undercut of the object that is to be cleaned, whereby in this connection, due to the rotational symmetry of the cleaning head, a rotational movement can be transferred from the hand, via the handle, to the cleaning head. This acts as an assisting cleaning movement during the cleaning of undercuts. As a result, it is possible to undertake a more thorough cleaning in hygienically problematic zones, for example of toilet bowls.

By forming the cross-sectional reduction or reductions in a monolithic form on the cleaning head, post or handle, there result on the cleaning device movable regions up to the universal joint without having to produce and mount an additional device, for example in the form of a joint. This movable region, in the form of a cross-sectional reduction, is carried out in a single operation along with the production of the body of the cleaning head or the handle, and thus requires no further production expenditure, no further assembly, and no further material. As a result, minimal production expenditure at minimal utilization of resources is made possible.

Furthermore, due to two cross-sectional reductions, which are rotated or offset relative to one another by 90°, it is possible, in contrast to the heretofore known movable cleaning devices, to have a loss-free transfer of force in the form of rotational movement, even in an angled state, for example during the cleaning of curvatures. The assisting cleaning movement that is used in this connection enables a more thorough cleaning in hygienically problematic zones, for example at the drains of toilet bowls.

A further advantage of the invention is that the joint that is formed on the cleaning head, post or handle can, if necessary, be blocked by a tube or hollow profiled member that can be shifted or slipped over the cleaning device, and prevents a deflection of the cleaning head transverse to the longitudinal axis of the cleaning device when a force is introduced transverse to the longitudinal axis. Due to this now rigid transfer of force, a linear or curved cleaning movement is possible along the undercut of the object that is to be cleaned accompanied by a simultaneously combinable and introducible rotational movement without an undesired and uncontrollable deflection of the cleaning head.

Due to the respective position of the hollow profiled member, the cleaning device can be adapted in a more precise manner to the requirements of the respective shapes that are to be cleaned, thus enabling a cleaning with little expenditure of force.

The design of the handle can, depending upon the embodiment of the cleaning device with a formed-on or insertable reservoir or container, offer the possibility for storing solid, pulverous or gaseous materials. It is possible, for example, to provide a gas cartridge having a fragrance filling that is accommodated in the handle and can be activated from the outside. The advantages of a reservoir in the handle are varied, and can be adapted to the respective application of the cleaning device.

In order, with the previously described embodiments of the cleaning devices, to prevent dirt particles and the like from depositing on the joint, especially at the corners, edges and material recesses, the outer contour and geometry of the joint region can be filled with an elastic material and can thereby be made smooth. This can be effected in a single operation, for example via a two-component injection molding.

Further specific features of the present application will be described in detail subsequently.

DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the drawings in detail, FIG. 1 shows a side view of a first exemplary embodiment of an inventive cleaning device, and includes a joint that is formed on the reduced diameter E cleaning head 2, 2a; the joint is exposed by displacement of the handle 3 in an upward direction, and is effective in two planes that are disposed perpendicular to one another. The cleaning device has a shank or post 1 that is provided with two joints which are formed by notches or indentations, and which can be produced, for example, by recesses in the material or cross-sectional reductions 5, 5a, 10, 11, 12, 12a. Due to their nature, the joints can also be designated as film or strip articulations. The joints connect the handle 3 with the cleaning head 2, on which are disposed the cleaning elements 2a, for example in the form of bristles. To the extent that bristles are used, they can be cut by conventional cutting processes in such a way that the cleaning head, with its bristles, is rotationally symmetrical. By means of suitable cutting blades, at least two regions 2b and 2c can be cut, the diameters of which can differ from one another. The two regions 2b and 2c are optically separated from a region E that is a reduced diameter section in which the bristles are cut shorter than in the regions 2b and 2c.

The joints can be blocked or secured via a non-illustrated sleeve-like or tubular part by shifting the part over the joint region. This part can, for example, be the handle region 3, which in particular can be displaceably mounted on the post 1 in such a way that it cannot become detached. It is also possible for the handle region to be formed on the post, and for a further tubular part to be displaceably mounted on the region of the post that forms the joints, whereby the tubular part can, for example, be at least partially insertable into the handle region, so that the joint region is exposed.

FIG. 2 shows a longitudinal section through the lower portion of a second embodiment of an inventive cleaning device, having a circumferentially recessed outer cleaning contour K1, during the cleaning of a toilet bowl having the contour K2.

FIG. 3, in a view similar to FIG. 2, shows a third embodiment during the cleaning of a toilet bowl, whereby the cleaning head 2 has a set of bristles 2a that has a circumferential projection V. Not only a cleaning head having a circumferential constriction E but also a circumferential projection V is particularly suitable for extending into the contour K2 of the toilet bowl in order to free surfaces there of dirt.

FIG. 4 shows a portion of the shaft of a cleaning head 2 or a portion of the post 1 in which a joint is formed. The joint is formed by a cut out or recess in the material. Due to the mechanical weakening of the material, the shaft or post can be bent at this location, as a result of which the handle region and the cleaning head of the cleaning device can be moved relative to one another.

FIG. 5 shows a shaft or a post 1 having two joints that are disposed next to one another and are staggered by 90° relative to one another, thereby providing a further degree of freedom for the relative movement between handle and cleaning handle.

It is advantageous if with the aforementioned joints the narrowed regions have an approximately right-angled cross-sectional contour.

FIG. 6 shows two perspective illustrations of an embodiment of an inventive cleaning device or cleaning elements. The cleaning device has a tubular element 14 that is displaceably mounted or disposed on the post 1. With the device illustrated on the left, to release the joint region the element 14 is shifted upwardly in the Y direction, and is disposed partially in the handle region 3. With the device illustrated on the right, the element 14 is shifted downwardly and blocks the joints, which are not longer visible.

FIG. 7 shows a cleaning device according to FIG. 1 with the handle region 3 shifted downwardly, thereby blocking the non-visible joints, as a result of which no relative movement is any longer possible between handle region 3 and cleaning head 2.

FIG. 8 shows a perspective illustration of a cleaning device that from a mechanical standpoint corresponds to the device of FIG. 7, yet instead of a circumferential constriction E has a circumferential projection V.

FIG. 9 shows a perspective illustration of the cleaning process of an undercut profile with simultaneous rotation R and linear or curved movement LB of the cleaning head 2, 2a along the profile of the toilet bowl.

FIG. 10 shows an illustration of the cleaning process as in FIG. 9, but with the cleaning device rotated by 180° along the longitudinal axis 13.

FIG. 11 shows a longitudinal section through a further possible embodiment of a cleaning device, whereby post 1 and cleaning head 2 are monolithically formed. The joint 5, 5a is formed by recesses 5, 5a in the material. The joint region 5, 5a is covered with an elastic material EM, so that a smooth outer surface or contour results that has no edges or corners. In this connection, it is possible for the material EM to extend beyond the joint region 5, 5a over the post 1, whereby a smooth transition results and possibly an advantageous optical effect is achieved.

FIGS. 12a and 12b show side views of a further embodiment of an inventive cleaning device with blocked and non-blocked position of the sleeve-like part.

FIGS. 13a and 13b show sectioned illustrations of the cleaning device of FIGS. 12 and 12b. The joints 5, 5a, 12a are integrated in shaft S of the cleaning head 2. The bristles are cut in a rotationally symmetrical manner, and form three regions 2b, 2c and V. Formed at the free end 2d of the cleaning head 2 is a snap closure 20 (see also FIG. 9) that cooperates with a holding part 21 that is disposed in the post 1. The holding part 21 presses the arresting element or snap closure 20 of the cleaning head 2 into a window-like recess 1f of the post 1 (FIG. 13a) if it is pulled upwardly in the direction of the handle. In this position, the cleaning head 2 cannot be detached from the post 1. If the holding part 21 is shifted in the direction of the cleaning head 2, after the snap closure 20 has been released the holding part encounters the upper surface 2e of the cleaning head 2 or its shaft S, and presses it out of its seat in the post 1. This makes it possible to eject or throw away a dirty or used cleaning head 2 without having to contact it with ones hands. Provided above the holding part 21 is a recess in the handle region of the post for a container BE. This container is provided with a valve Ve on its upper side that cooperates with a control element B disposed on the end face of the handle portion. By pressing upon the control element B, the valve Ve is opened and the medium disposed under pressure in the container BE escapes outwardly through the nozzle 3a. Extending around the lower portion 1b of the post 1 is a tubular part 14 that is displaceably mounted on the portion 1b. If the part 14 is shifted upwardly in the direction of the handle, it closes the opening in the portion 1b via which the holding part 21 is accessible from the outside (FIG. 12a). If, as illustrated in FIG. 12b, the part 14 is shifted downwardly in the direction of the cleaning head 2, it blocks the no longer visible joints of the cleaning device and the head can no longer be moved relative to the handle.

In a further possible, non-illustrated, embodiment, the joint is formed by a separate part which can, for example, be a cylindrical rod, the joint of which is also formed by appropriate recessing of the material, as indicated, for example, in various figures by the reference numerals 5, 5a. This separate joint part can, for example, have one side thereof fixedly connected with the cleaning head, for example by being adhesively connected. On the other side, which faces away from the cleaning head, the joint part can be formed in such a way that together with the post or handle part of the cleaning device it forms a releasable connection, for example in the form of a snap connection. The additional joint part can be produced from a high-grade and durable material, the properties of which are optimum for the function of the joint. The cleaning head and/or the post can, although this is of course not absolutely necessary, be manufactured from an economical material.

The specification incorporates by reference the disclosure of International application number PCT/EP03/03808 filed 12 Apr. 2003 and German priority document number DE 102 16 445.2 filed Apr. 19, 2002.

The present invention is, of course, in no way restricted to the specific disclosure of the specification and drawings, but also encompasses any modifications within the scope of the appended claims.