Title:
Self-cleaning spinner top
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A washing machine with a self-cleaning spinner top is provided to remove lint and prevent soap scum buildup. The self-cleaning spinner top includes a reservoir and an upper wall. A water inlet routes a portion of incoming water to the spinner top's reservoir. This water is retained until a spin cycle begins. During a spin cycle, centrifugal force extracts the water in the reservoir, causing it to flow over the upper wall to an outer tub. A deflector on top of the outer tub ensures no water escapes and routes the water to the outer tub. The reservoir water that is extracted during the spin cycle also carries with it any lint or soap particles to prevent a build up condition. In this manner, a clean spinner top may be maintained.



Inventors:
Strait, Jon D. (Carbondale, IL, US)
Application Number:
10/803706
Publication Date:
09/22/2005
Filing Date:
03/18/2004
Assignee:
Maytag Corporation (Newton, IA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
68/3R, 68/13R, 68/17R, 68/196, 134/104.1, 8/159
International Classes:
D06F37/12; D06F39/02; D06F39/06; D06F39/08; (IPC1-7): D06F39/02
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
MARKOFF, ALEXANDER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCKEE, VOORHEES & SEASE, P.L.C. (DES MOINES, IA, US)
Claims:
1. A new top for a washing machine basket, the top comprising: an upper wall; and a reservoir below the upper wall.

2. The top for a washing machine basket of claim 1 wherein the top is plastic.

3. The top for a washing machine basket of claim 1 wherein the reservoir is curved.

4. The top for a washing machine basket of claim 1 wherein the reservoir may hold water.

5. A washing machine having a self-cleaning basket top, the washing machine comprising: an inner basket having an upper basket portion; an outer tub having an upper tub portion; a motor operatively connected to the inner basket; and a first top secured to the upper basket portion, the first top including a reservoir and an upper wall.

6. The washing machine of claim 5 further comprising a second top secured to the upper portion of the outer tub, the second top being formed to deflect water from the reservoir to the outer tub.

7. The washing machine of claim 5 wherein the first top is plastic.

8. The washing machine of claim 5 further comprising a water inlet.

9. The washing machine of claim 8 wherein the water inlet includes a diverter.

10. The washing machine of claim 8 wherein the water inlet is operatively connected in the washing machine to route water into the reservoir.

11. The washing machine of claim 5 wherein the reservoir holds water.

12. The washing machine of claim 11 wherein the water in the reservoir is removed when the motor spins the inner basket.

13. A method of cleaning the top of a spinner basket in a washing machine, the method comprising: storing water in a reservoir on an upper portion of a spinner basket top; extracting the water from the reservoir by spinning the spinner basket; and collecting the water in an outer tub.

14. The method of cleaning the top of a spinner basket in a washing machine of claim 13 further comprising: injecting water into a spinner basket; and routing a portion of the water into the reservoir.

15. The method of cleaning the top of a spinner basket of claim 13 wherein the water from the reservoir is collected in the outer tub after being routed to the outer tub by an outer tub top.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a washing machine including a new top for a washing machine basket. More particularly, though not exclusively, the present invention relates to a washing machine basket top that is self-cleaning.

PROBLEMS IN THE ART

Currently, top loading washing machines typically include a perforated basket which holds the clothes or articles being washed and an agitator to mix the clothes and articles in the wash water. During the wash cycle, the agitator may splash some wash water onto the top of the perforated basket.

The water that is splashed may also include lint and soap. Lint can eventually build up at the top of the basket and create an unsightly mess. Soap scum can also result from suds or soap that is left behind. These problems can be avoided by minimizing soap scum and lint build-up and it is therefore desirable to have a top for an inner basket that is self cleaning.

Prior attempts at removing lint and soap scum build-up are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,526,344 and 4,888,965. U.S. Pat. No. 2,526,344 to Geldhof et al. introduces a spray rinse into the basket for the clothes or other articles being washed and simultaneously attempts to eliminate any suds lock between the basket and the tub. The Geldhof patent essentially introduces additional water that must subsequently be removed during a spin cycle. Any lint and soap that is removed during the spin cycle will sit until a subsequent rinse cycle can take place. This may allow soap scum to harden while the washing machine is not in use. It is therefore desirable to have a way to clean an inner basket top that removes lint and soap build-up without injecting additional water into the inner tub.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,888,965 to Fanson et al. attempts to rinse the outer tub by deflecting water ejected through the holes in the perforated basket upward. While this may rinse the outer tub during the spin cycle, it does not rinse the top of the spinner basket nor the top of the outer tub. It is therefore desirable to have a self-cleaning top for the inner perforated basket during spin cycle that cleans both the perforated basket's top and the inside of the outer tub top.

FEATURES OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, a general feature of the present invention is the provision of a washing machine with an inner basket that solves the problems found in the prior art.

A further feature of the present invention is the provision of a washing machine basket that includes a self-cleaning spinner top.

Another feature of the present invention is the provision of a washing machine basket with a self-cleaning spinner top that minimizes lint and soap build-up during a spin cycle.

A still further feature of the present invention is the provision of a washing machine that includes a self-cleaning spinner top that does not require additional water to be injected into the inner basket.

Another feature of the present invention is the provision of a washing machine that includes a spinner top that cleans itself and the top of the outer basket.

These as well as other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following specification and claims.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally comprises a cabinet in which a perforated inner wash basket is mounted in a conventional manner. An agitator, drive motor and drive mechanism are mounted within the cabinet, as is well known, to operate the washing machine. Between the perforated wash basket or inner basket, and the cabinet is a tub or outer basket that collects and contains wash and rinse water. Once collected, the wash water or rinse water may be removed from the tub by a pump, as is well known.

During the wash cycle, the motor operates to agitate the wash solution and clothes load. This causes wash water to be splashed onto the top of the perforated basket. The water that splashes on the top of the perforated basket may also contain lint and/or soap that may lead to build-up conditions.

A top for the perforated basket is added that minimizes any such build-up conditions. The top of the perforated basket includes a reservoir portion near the top thereof that retains clean water originally injected into the inner basket during the wash or rinse cycles. This clean water is retained until the spin cycle begins. The water is placed into the reservoir by one or more deflectors in the water inlet. A deflector in the water inlet allows a majority of the water to be injected into the inner perforated basket while simultaneously directing a small portion of the water into the reservoir. Therefore, every time the washer fills with water, the reservoir is also filled. Alternatively, if a deflector is not used, water may be placed in the reservoir during the agitation of a wash cycle.

When the washing machine goes into the spin cycle, centrifugal forces cause the water in the reservoir to flow over the top of the spinner, thus cleaning off lint, soap, and other residues from the top of the spinner basket and top of the outer tub. A top on the outer tub routes the water to the outer tub where it can be pumped away.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of a washing machine of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the preferred embodiment of the upper portions of the inner perforated basket and the outer tub of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view looking down on the upper portion of the perforated inner basket of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view looking under the water inlet of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention will be described as it applies to its preferred embodiment. It is not intended that the present invention be limited to the described embodiment. It is intended that the invention cover all modifications and alternatives which may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention.

Now, referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a cross-section of a typical washing machine 10. The washing machine 10 generally includes an inner basket 12 and an outer basket 14. The inner basket 12 is rotatably secured within the outer basket 14 and may be rotated therein by a motor 18. The operation and connection of the inner basket 12, the outer basket 14 and the motor 18 are well known in the art.

Near the top of the washing machine 10, a water inlet 16 is placed. Water flows through the water inlet 16 and into the inner basket 12 and outer basket 14. This water may be used in combination with a detergent during the wash cycle or without detergent during a rinse cycle.

The inner basket 12 of the present invention also includes an inner basket top 20. Preferably, the inner basket top 20 is molded plastic that may be spin-welded or otherwise secured to the top of the inner basket 12. As is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the inner basket top 20 includes a reservoir 22 that is located below the highest point of the inner basket top 20. The reservoir 22 may be of any shape capable of retaining water including the curved shape shown. The reservoir 22 may also have straight or angled sides without detracting from the present invention.

The outer basket 14 also includes an outer basket top 24. The outer basket top 24 routes any water ejected from the reservoir 22 into the outer basket 14. The outer basket top 24 is also preferably a molded plastic piece that may be snap-fit to or otherwise secured to the top of the outer basket 14.

The water inlet 16 is generally shown in FIG. 4. The water inlet 16 is preferably a piece of molded plastic that includes one or more deflectors 26 molded therein. When water flows through the water inlet 16, a majority of it will pass into the inner basket 12 while a smaller portion will be routed by the deflectors 26 into the reservoir 22 as is generally shown in FIG. 2.

During a spin cycle, centrifugal forces will cause the water in the reservoir 22 to flow up and over the upper wall, the highest point on the inner basket top 20. Once the water has flowed over the highest point on the inner basket top 20, it is routed by the outer basket top 24 down and into the outer basket 14. During this process, the water from the reservoir 22 removes any excess lint or soap build-up from both the top of the inner basket 12 and the outer basket 14. In this manner, it can be seen that no additional water is needed to clean the inner basket top 20 and outer basket top 24 and that such cleaning may take place during the spin cycle of the washing machine 10.

A general description of the present invention as well as preferred embodiment of the present invention has been set forth above. Those skilled in the art to which the present invention pertains will recognize and be able to practice additional variations in the methods and apparatuses described which fall within the teachings of this invention. Accordingly, all such modifications and additions are deemed to be within the scope of the invention which is to be limited only by the claims appended hereto.