Title:
Apparatus and method for removing flooring scuffs
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus and method for using entangled fibers (120) to remove scuffs from flooring are described. A pad (100) for removing scuffs includes a non-metallic fabric (110) attached to a non-spherical backing (140). The non-metallic fabric (110) has a surface of entangled fibers (120) that extend away from the pad. The scuffs are contacted by the entangled fibers (120), and a rubbing motion of the pad (100) is used to remove the scuffs.



Inventors:
Owens, Anthony (Chicago, IL, US)
Application Number:
10/770319
Publication Date:
08/04/2005
Filing Date:
02/02/2004
Assignee:
OWENS ANTHONY
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/159.1, 15/160, 15/209.1, 15/210.1, 15/227, 15/229.11
International Classes:
A47L13/16; A47L13/282; (IPC1-7): A47L13/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GUIDOTTI, LAURA COLE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Fullin Legal Services LLC (Libertyville, IL, US)
Claims:
1. An apparatus comprising: a non-spherical backing having a first surface and a second surface; and a non-metallic fabric having a first surface that is attached to the first surface of the non-spherical backing, and having a second surface of entangled fibers wherein the entangled fibers extend away from the non-metallic fabric.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising at least one support member attached to the second surface of the non-spherical backing.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the at least one support member includes at least one strap for attaching the apparatus to a shoe.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the non-spherical backing forms an overshoe.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the non-spherical backing is made of rubber.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the fabric is melton.

6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein melton is felt.

7. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein felt contains cotton.

8. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein felt contains nylon.

9. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein melton is as used in the manufacture of tennis balls in accordance with the International Tennis Federation's tennis ball specification.

10. An apparatus comprising: a handle having a first end and a second end; a head movably connected to the second end of the handle; and a pad mounted the head wherein the pad has at least one surface of entangled fibers that extend away from the pad.

11. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the entangled fibers are attached to a non-metallic fabric.

12. The apparatus of claim 10, further comprises a non-spherical backing attached to the non-metallic fabric.

13. The apparatus of claim 10, further comprising a folding mechanism in a middle section of the handle wherein the folding mechanism allows the first end of the handle be folded proximately close to the second end of the handle.

14. The apparatus of claim 10, further comprising a bracket attached to the first end of the handle.

15. The apparatus of claim 10, further comprising a first side of the head and a second side of the head wherein the first and second sided form an acute angle.

16. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the pad attached to a curved surface of the head.

17. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the head is made of foam rubber.

18. A method comprising the steps of: providing a pad having a non-metallic fabric attached to a non-spherical backing wherein the non-metallic fabric has a surface of entangled fibers that extend away from the pad; and rubbing scuffs with the pad wherein the entangled fibers contact the scuffs.

19. A method of claim 18, further comprising the step of: cleaning a surface area proximately close and including the scuff.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH/DEVELOPMENT

The present invention does not involve any form of federally sponsored research or development.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Devices and methods for cleaning, polishing, or buffing floors, such as brooms for sweeping floors, or mops for washing floors, are known. Generally, the devices include a head and a handle. The head can support various types of pads that depend on the cleaning task, such as dry or wet washing with water or a solvent, drying, polishing, or buffing. The types of pads can include woven material, an absorbent bonded-fiber, an actual or simulated steel wool, soft or hard bristles, a sponge, and so forth. The choice of pad type depends on ease of use, cleaning effectiveness, and the potential for damaging the flooring. One type of pad can be less desirable than another for a given cleaning task. For example, pads formed of steel wool or bristles can be used to clean stone flooring effectively, but can scratch wood flooring. Generally, pads are planar because of the planar nature of flooring and walls. In addition, the pad can be shaped in a circle, an ellipse, a triangle, a rectangle, a square, or other polygons.

Scuffing can mark flooring with a scuff, a scratch or roughing of the flooring surface. For example, a shoe scraping across wood flooring can result in a scuff. Scuffs, which are caused by a minor abrasion of the flooring surface, can be removed by rubbing the scuffed flooring with a pad that has a non-abrasive surface. Pads with soft cleaning surfaces, such as cloth mops or sponges, either can not remove or require a great deal of effort to remove scuffs. Pads having an abrasive cleaning surface, such as a surface formed by bristles or steel wool, simulated or actual, can damage the surface of the flooring.

A fabric with a surface of entangled fibers covers commercially available tennis ball. The fibers, small diameter filaments, are flexible and non-abrasive, such that tennis balls can be used to effectively remove scuffs from wood, tile, or other flooring. For example, tennis balls can be mounted on a broom handle and used to remove scuffs from wood flooring. Tennis balls are not designed for removing scuffs from floors. A problem with using tennis balls to remove scuffs is a relatively small spherical shape that limits contact with the flooring surface. The limited contact with the floor makes the use of tennis balls inefficient and time consuming for typical floors. In addition, a tennis ball's spherical shape limits the use of tennis balls to reach the edge of flooring next to walls or in corners formed between walls.

Accordingly, there is a need for an apparatus for and method of efficiently and effectively removing scuffs from flooring, which apparatus includes a non-abrasive surface of entangled fibers of a fabric attached to a non-spherical backing and which method removes flooring scuffs by contacting the scuffs with the entangled fibers.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An apparatus and a method for the removal of scuffs from flooring are provided. The apparatus includes a fabric attached to a backing wherein the fabric has a surface of non-abrasive entangled fibers that extend away from the fabric. The steps of the method include providing a pad having a backing attached to a fabric having a surface of non-abrasive entangled fibers that extend away from the fabric, and rubbing scuffs in the flooring with the surface of non-abrasive entangled fibers.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates an apparatus for removing scuffs from flooring in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 2a illustrates an embodiment of an apparatus having a handle moveably connected handle to facilitate removing scuffs for flooring in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 2b illustrates an embodiment of an apparatus having a curved head for improved contact of flooring when removing scuffs in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 2c illustrates an embodiment of an apparatus having sides that form an acute angle for removing scuffs in a flooring corner in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 3 is a flowchart illustrating a method for use with an apparatus that removes scuffs in accordance with the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention includes an apparatus and method for removing scuffs from flooring. The apparatus includes a non-spherical backing attached to a fabric having a surface of non-abrasive entangled fibers. The entangled fibers form a non-abrasive surface that can be rubbed against flooring to remove scuffs. The non-abrasive surface of entangled fibers is capable of removing scuffs over a large flooring area without damaging the flooring.

FIG. 1 shows a pad 100 for removing scuffs from flooring. The pad includes a non-metallic fabric 110 having a surface of entangled fibers 120. The entangled fibers 120 are flexible small diameter filaments that can bend in any direction, but generally extend away from the non-metallic fabric 110. An adhesive 130, such as glue or cement, attaches the non-metallic fabric 110 to a non-spherical backing 140. Alternatively, the fabric can be attached by embedding the fabric into the backing. The pad can include another cleaning media (not shown), such as a sponge. For example, a sponge and the non-metallic fabric can be attached next to each other on one side of non-spherical backing. Alternatively, the sponge can be attached to one side of the backing and the fabric attached to the other side.

The pad 100 can be attached to a shoe 150 by a front strap 160 and a heel strap 170. Alternatively, the shoe can be attached to the backing by an adhesive that allows for temporary adhesion, or the pad 100 can be formed into an overshoe that fits over the shoe. Also, a support device (not shown), such as a handle can be attached to the backing to facilitated holding the pad by hand, or as known in the art the pad can be designed and constructed to be attached to a motorized scuff removing machine.

The fabric, the entangled fibers, and the backing can be made of materials used for commercially produced tennis balls or found in tennis balls that meet the specification of the International Tennis Federation. The fabric and entangled fibers can be melton, such as felt that can be made of wool, cotton, or synthetic materials such as nylon. The backing can be made of rubber. The backing can be formed into a non-spherical shape to improve scuff removal efficiency by improving contact of the entangled fibers with the scuffed flooring.

The pad 100 can be held by hand by grasping either the non-spherical backing 140, or a support device (not shown) such as a handle to which the pad 100 attaches. The scuff is removed or reduced in appearance by rubbing the scuff with the entangled fibers 120. Alternatively, the pad 100 can be attached to a shoe 150 to facilitate the use of a person's feet to remove the scuff. Application of force to the pad 100 and repeated rubbing are used to remove the scuff. When the entangled fibers 120 become worn and ineffective in removing the scuff, the pad 100 can be replaced.

An embodiment shown in FIG. 2a depicts the mounting of a pad 200a having an entangled fiber surface to a scuff removing apparatus. The head 210a is designed and constructed to hold the pad 200a. For example, clips 230a along one or more sides of the head 210a can be used to secure the pad to the head. Alternatively, the pad can be temporarily attached to the head with a Velcro system (not shown) or permanently attached with glue (not shown).

A movable connector 220a connects the head 210a to a first handle section 240. The movable connector 220a allows the head 210a to rotate for improved contact of the pad 200a with the scuffed flooring or other surface. Alternatively, the head can be rigidly connected to the first handle section. A folding mechanism 260 connects a second handle section 250 to the first handle section 240. The folding mechanism 260 allows for more compact storage of the scuff removing apparatus. For example, the folding mechanism can include a hinged connection between the first handle section 240 and the second handle section 250 such that the sections can be held in an extended position by a slideable latching device that attaches to a stop. Alternatively, a threaded connection can join the two handle sections or the folding mechanism 260 can be eliminated so that the two handle sections form a single elongated handle (not shown) that does not fold. A cleaning media 280 such as a sponge is supported on a support 270 that is attached to an end of the second handle section 250 opposite the folding mechanism 260.

The scuff removing apparatus can be stored in a folded position. When unfolded, an extended handle (not shown) is formed when the first handle section 240 is connected to the second handle section 250 by appropriate operation and movement of the folding mechanism 260. A pad 200a is installed to the head 210a through the use of clips 230a. A cleaning media 280 such as a sponge is installed on the support 280. The cleaning media can be used to clean the area around the scuff. For example, scuffs in wood flooring can be cause by muddy engineer boots that scuffed the floor and deposited mud over the scuff. A sponge, a cleaning media, can be used to remove the mud from the flooring before removing the scuff. Once the flooring is properly conditioned, the head 210a is located over the scuff such that the entangled fibers contact the scuff. The movable connector 220a allows the entangled fibers surface of the pad 200a to contact the scuff. The extended handle (not shown) is used to move and apply downward force on the head 210a so as to remove the scuff by rubbing.

The present invention is not limited to the head 210a having a rectangular and planar shape. FIG. 2b shows a curved head 210b to which a pad 200b is attached by clips 230b. The curved head 210b attaches to a handle (not shown) by movable connector 220b. The curved head 210b can be constructed of a flexible material, such as foam rubber. As force is applied to the curve head 210b the curved surface flattens to provide improved contact of the pad 200b with the portion of the floor that is scuffed.

FIG. 2c shows an angular head 210c for use in removing scuffs at flooring corners. The angular head 210c has a first side 202 and a second side 204 that meet at an acute angle. Clips 230c are used to attach a pad 220c to the angular head 210c that is connected to a handle (not shown) by a movable connector 220c. Flooring often has square comers that are formed by adjacent walls that meet at ninety degree angles. An end of the angular head 210c having an acute angle that is formed by two adjacent sides is used for removing scuffs at the flooring corners.

A flowchart that illustrates a method for use with an apparatus that removes scuffs from flooring is shown in FIG. 3. The method can be utilized to remove scuffs from flooring or other surfaces. At step 301, a pad 100 having entangled fibers 120 is held. The pad can be held by hand, by attachment to shoes, or by attachment to a handle that is used to indirectly hold the pad. Different types of pads or heads, as shown and described in FIG. 2a, FIG. 2b, and FIG. 2c, can be provided and interchanged on the handle. At step 302, scuffs are rubbed with the entangled fibers 120. The method can also include the step of cleaning the scuffed surface before removing the scuff. Cleaning the scuffed surface first can avoid additional scuffing caused by dirt or debris.

An advantage of the present invention is easy and efficient removal of scuffs by entangled fibers 120 that do not damage the flooring surface. The use of non-spherical backing 140 improves contact of the entangled fibers 120 with the scuffed flooring surface. Better contact improves utilization of the entangled fibers 120 and reduces cost associated with disposal of entangled fibers that have not been used.

The present invention can be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes that come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.