Title:
Bath mat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In one example form, the present invention relates to a bath mat that includes a base layer which has an active ingredient. In another example form, the bath mat includes a base layer, a first layer and an active ingredient that is between the base layer and first layer. Some example active ingredients that may be included in the bath mat are one or more of a surfactant, effervescent material, aromatic material and skin conditioner. In still another example form, the bath mat includes a base layer and one or more articles (e.g., wash cloth, pillow or absorbent pad) that are detachably connected to the base layer. In yet another example form, the bath mat includes a base layer and a temperature indicator that forms part of the base layer.



Inventors:
Bushman, Lisa L. (Kaukauna, WI, US)
Mohr, Rebecca C. (Appleton, WI, US)
Application Number:
10/956399
Publication Date:
03/30/2006
Filing Date:
09/30/2004
Assignee:
Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070079435Portable bathtub barrierApril, 2007Solan
20050086732Base structure for modular above ground swimming poolsApril, 2005Spicer
20080038375METHOD AND COMPOSITIONS FOR BATHFebruary, 2008Park
20100064429MOUNTING APPARATUS FOR BATH FITTINGMarch, 2010Strickland
20030159203Closet fittingAugust, 2003Hoover
20100017956Inlay-type sinkJanuary, 2010Chen
20080168599Spa system with flow control featureJuly, 2008Caudill et al.
20100095445Anti-splash urinalsApril, 2010Rice et al.
20080083062Hot tub cover protector and method of using the sameApril, 2008Chase et al.
20080052813AIR-MIXING NOZZLE FOR BIDETMarch, 2008Kwon et al.
20070245482Curtain for a showerOctober, 2007Jenkins



Primary Examiner:
PACKARD, BENJAMIN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Christopher M. Goff (27839) (St. Louis, MO, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bath mat comprising a base layer that includes an active ingredient.

2. The bath mat of claim 1 wherein the base layer is formed of a film.

3. The bath mat of claim 1 wherein the active ingredient includes a surfactant.

4. The bath mat of claim 1 wherein the active ingredient includes an effervescent material.

5. The bath mat of claim 1 wherein the active ingredient includes an aromatic material.

6. The bath mat of claim 1 wherein the active ingredient includes a skin conditioner.

7. The bath mat of claim 1 wherein the base layer is formed of a non-skid material.

8. The bath mat of claim 1 wherein the active ingredient is suspended in the base layer.

9. The bath mat of claim 1 wherein the base layer is formed of the active ingredient.

10. A bath mat comprising: a base layer; a first layer; and an active ingredient between the base layer and first layer.

11. The bath mat of claim 10 wherein the base layer is formed of a film.

12. The bath mat of claim 10 wherein the first layer is formed of a nonwoven material.

13. The bath mat of claim 10 wherein the base layer and the first layer are the same size.

14. The bath mat of claim 10 wherein the first layer includes at least one opening that allows the active ingredient to be distributed into bath water when the bath mat is placed into bath water.

15. The bath mat of claim 10 wherein the active ingredient includes a surfactant.

16. The bath mat of claim 10 wherein the active ingredient includes an effervescent material.

17. The bath mat of claim 10 wherein the active ingredient includes an aromatic material.

18. The bath mat of claim 10 wherein the first layer is a porous material such that bath water is able to contact the active ingredient through the porous material and the active ingredient is able to be dispersed into the bath water through the porous material.

19. The bath mat of claim 10 wherein at least one of the base layer and the first layer is formed of a non-skid material.

20. A bath mat comprising: a base layer; and an article detachably connected to the base layer.

21. The bath mat of claim 20 wherein the base layer is formed of a film.

22. The bath mat of claim 20 wherein the article is a washcloth.

23. The bath mat of claim 22 wherein the washcloth includes an active ingredient.

24. The bath mat of claim 23 wherein the active ingredient is a surfactant.

25. The bath mat of claim 20 wherein the article is a pillow.

26. The bath mat of claim 20 wherein the article is an absorbent pad.

27. The bath mat of claim 20 wherein the base layer includes an active ingredient.

28. The bath mat of claim 20 wherein the article is attached to the base layer by a perforated section such that the perforated section may be torn to remove the article from the base layer.

29. The bath mat of claim 20 wherein the article is adhered to base layer such that article may be peeled from the base layer.

30. A bath mat comprising: a base layer; and a temperature indicator that forms part of the base layer.

31. The bath mat of claim 30 wherein the temperature indicator is embedded in the base layer.

32. The bath mat of claim 30 wherein the temperature indicator is detachably connected to the base layer.

33. The bath mat of claim 30 wherein the temperature indicator provides alphanumeric information as to the temperature of the bath.

34. The bath mat of claim 30 wherein the temperature indicator changes color to provide information as to the temperature of the bath.

35. The bath mat of claim 30 wherein the temperature indicator is a thermochromic ink.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an article for bathing, and in particular to a bath mat.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are a variety of techniques that people use to relax and alleviate stress. One common technique includes immersion in a warm bath.

Bath tubs are continuously being designed with different features in order to enhance the bathing experience. As an example, many baths now include a whirlpool type feature that creates a spa-like atmosphere to aid in relaxation. The drawback with adding any type of feature to a tub is that such features typically add significant cost and maintenance to the tub.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a bath mat that decreases the amount of items which need to be gathered when preparing for a bath. The bath mat allows an individual to simply grab the bath mat and a towel in order to be ready for bathing. In addition, the bath mat may be used in the home or readily transported for use while traveling.

In some embodiments, the bath mat may include soap that gets dispersed into bath water when water is added to a tub. In addition, the bath mat may include a material that effervesces when the bath mat is immersed in water to create a whirlpool type experience within the tub.

Other embodiments of the bath mat may include one or more disposable articles (e.g., washcloth, pillow, absorbent pad) that are detachable from the rest of the bath mat. In addition, the bath mat may provide an indication as to the temperature of the bath water before an individual enters the bath. The bath mat may also be disposable such that it could be discarded after each bath.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top view of an example bath mat that is placed in a tub.

FIG. 2 is a section of view of the bath mat shown in FIG. 1 taken along line 2-2.

FIG. 3 is a section view similar to FIG. 2 illustrating another example bath mat.

FIG. 4 is a top view similar to FIG. 1 illustrating another example bath mat that is placed in the tub.

FIG. 5 is a section of view of the bath mat shown in FIG. 4 taken along line 5-5.

FIG. 6 is a top view similar to FIGS. 1 and 4 illustrating another example bath mat that is placed in the tub.

FIG. 7 is a section of view of the bath mat shown in FIG. 6 taken along line 7-7.

FIG. 8 is a top view of another example bath mat.

FIG. 9 is a top view of the bath mat shown in FIG. 8 with a detachable wash cloth partially removed from the rest of the bath mat.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an example bath mat that includes a pillow.

FIG. 11 is a top view of an example bath mat that includes a detachable absorbent pad.

FIG. 12 is a top view of the bath mat shown in FIG. 11 with the absorbent pad removed from the rest of the bath mat such that the bath mat is placed inside the tub and the absorbent pad is placed adjacent to the tub.

FIG. 13 is a top view of yet another example bath mat before the bath mat is placed into a tub.

FIG. 14 is a top view of the bath mat shown in FIG. 13 with the bath mat placed in the tub such that a temperature indicator on the bath mat is activated to provide information as to a temperature of water inside the tub.

FIG. 15 is a top view of an example bath mat that includes a wash cloth which may be peeled from the rest of the bath mat.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 illustrates a bath mat 10 that is placed into a tub 100. The bath mat 10 includes a base layer 12 that has an active ingredient 14 which is dispersed into bath water when the tub 100 is filled with water. The bath mat 10 makes preparing for a bath quicker and easier. In addition, the bath mat 10 may make clean up after a bath quicker and easier.

Some example active ingredients that may be included in the base layer 12 are a surfactant, an effervescent material, an aromatic material and a skin conditioner (among others). It should be noted that the bath mat 10 is not limited to include any one particular type of active ingredient 14. In addition, the base layer 12 may also include various combinations of active ingredients.

As an example, the active ingredient may be a surfactant (e.g., soap) that gets dispersed into bath water when the bath mat 10 is immersed in bath water. The surfactant may generate a bubble bath that promotes relaxation for adults and/or amusement for children.

As discussed above, the active ingredient 14 in the bath mat 10 may be an effervescent material. Many effervescent materials combine carbonate salts (e.g., sodium carbonate and/or sodium bicarbonate) with an acidic material such as citric, malic, or fumaric acid to generate carbon dioxide gas. Carbon dioxide is gas that is generated by a neutralization reaction that occurs when the acid and carbonate come into contact with one another. The neutralization reaction may be accelerated by dissolving the materials in close proximity to each other.

In some embodiments, the bath mat 10 may incorporate a design that simulates interaction with the effervescent material. As an example, the effervescent bubbles may appear to come from the mouth of a fish design on the bath mat 10.

It should be noted that the bath mat 10 may durable or disposable (i.e., single use). The useful life of the bath mat 10 will depend on the types of materials that are used in the bath mat 10 and the commercial application for the bath mat 10 (among other factors).

FIG. 2 shows an example embodiment of the bath mat 10 where the active ingredient 14 actually forms the base layer 12, while FIG. 3 shows that the active ingredient may be suspended in the base layer 12. A range of materials can be used for base layer 12 and active ingredient 14 such that the active ingredient 14 is released over time. Some example materials for the base layer 12 include one or more thermoplastics, organic polymers (e.g., natural polysaccharides), starches, gums and alginate (among numerous other materials).

The quantity of active ingredient 14 in the bath mat 10 will be based on the properties that are desired within particular commercial products. The type of base layer 12 will be selected based on processing parameters, solubility and the type of active ingredient 14 (among other factors). In addition, the type of base layer 12 may be selected so that the bath mat 10 has non-skid properties. As examples, the base layer 12 may be made of a film or a meltblown, spunbond and/or nonwoven material. The base layer 12 may also be formed of combinations of these types of materials depending on the application for the bath mat 10.

It should be noted that films may refer to a thermoplastic film that is fabricated using an extrusion and/or foaming process (e.g., cast film or blown film extrusion processes). In addition, some films may include apertures, slits or other porous configurations that may allow the base layer to transfer a liquid.

In some example embodiments where the base layer 12 is a non-skid material, the base layer 12 may be a film layer that provides the bath mat 10 with a relatively large static coefficient of friction. As an example, the static coefficient of friction of the bath mat 10 may be at least 0.5.

In example embodiments where the base layer 12 is a meltblown material, the meltblown material may be in the form of fibers that are formed by extruding a molten thermoplastic material through a plurality of die capillaries. These molten threads or filaments may be converged with high velocity heated gas (e.g., air) streams which attenuate the filaments to reduce their diameter (e.g. to microfiber diameter). Thereafter, the meltblown fibers may be carried away by the high velocity gas stream and deposited on a collecting surface to form a web of randomly dispersed meltblown fibers.

It should be noted that the meltblown fibers may be continuous or discontinuous and may be smaller than about 0.6 denier. In addition, the meltblown fibers may be self bonding such that they are readily deposited onto a collecting surface.

In example embodiments where the base layer 12 is a spunbond material, the spunbond material may be in the form of fibers that are formed by extruding molten thermoplastic material as filaments from a plurality of fine capillaries of a spinnerette.

As an example, the spunbond fibers may be continuous and have average deniers larger than about 0.3, and more particularly, have average deniers between about 0.6 and about 10.

Meltblowing differs from spunbonding in that the extruded polymers are broken up and dispersed into individual fibers by a forced air stream before being deposited onto a collecting surface. In addition, meltblown fibers may be substantially cooled by air such that they do not significantly crystallize and/or bond together. It should be noted that any of the fibers described herein may be oriented randomly or carded (i.e., combed to be oriented in primarily one direction).

In some embodiments, the base layer 12 may be a nonwoven material or a nonwoven web material. A nonwoven material may refer to materials and webs of material which are formed without the aid of a textile weaving or knitting process. Nonwoven materials may be cellulose-based and/or thermoplastic-based (among others).

In some embodiments, the active ingredient 14 may be dispersed into bath water over time as the bath mat 10 is exposed to water. In other embodiments, the active ingredient 14 may be dispersed into the bath water along with the base layer 12, especially when the active ingredient 14 forms the base layer 12 (FIG. 2).

The properties of the base layer 12 and the active ingredient 14 may be controlled to define the properties of the bath mat 10 (e.g., melting temperature, shear strength, viscosity, crystallinity, solid phase matrix, hardness, tackiness and heat stability). The base layer 12 and the active ingredient 14 should have properties that are required for a particular product and/or process application.

FIG. 4 illustrates another example bath mat 30 that is placed into tub 100. As shown in FIG. 5, the bath mat 30 includes a base layer 32, a first layer 33 and an active ingredient 34 that is between the base layer 32 and the first layer 33. The active ingredient 34 is dispersed into bath water when the tub 100 is filled with water.

In the example embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, base layer 32 and first layer 33 are formed as separate layers. Although base layer 32 and first layer 33 are shown as layers of the same size, it should be noted that the base layer 32 and first layer 33 may be different sizes, shapes and/or materials.

In some embodiments, the first layer 33 is a limiting layer that releases the active ingredient 34 over time. As an example, first layer may 33 may be a porous material (e.g., foam) such that the release rate of the active ingredient 34 will be determined in part by the nature of the porous material and the form of the active ingredient 34 (i.e., liquid, powder or solid).

In addition, when the active ingredient 34 is an effervescent material, the porosity of the first layer 33 may regulate the rate of effervescence. The rate of effervescence may be regulated by controlling (i) the escape of gas from the bath mat 30; and/or (ii) the degree of contact between the bath water and the active ingredient 34.

In alternative embodiments that are not illustrated in the FIGS., the active ingredient 34 may be incorporated into the first layer 33 where the first layer 33 dissolves away over time when the bath mat 10 is exposed to water. Therefore, as the first layer 33 dissolves into the bath water, the active ingredient 34 is dispersed into the bath water (or a shower).

FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate another example embodiment of the bath mat 30 where the first layer 33 includes at least one opening 35 that allows the active ingredient 34 to be distributed into bath water when the bath mat 30 is placed into bath water. As an example, the first layer 33 may be an impermeable material that includes multiple openings 35 such that the active ingredient 34 is dispersed into the bath water through the openings 35. The number, type and shape of the openings 35 that are in the first layer 33 will be based in part on the properties that are desired within particular commercial products and the type of active ingredient 34 (among other factors).

The material for the base layer 32 and/or the first layer 33 may be selected so that the bath mat 30 has non-skid properties. In addition, the active ingredient 34 may be similar to any of the active ingredients described above and the base layer 32 and first layer 33 may be similar to any of the materials described above for base layer 12.

In some embodiments, the active ingredient 34 may be included in one or more discreet pockets (not shown) that are between the base layer 32 and the first layer 33. In addition, the active ingredient 34 may be in the form of individual water-soluble packets (not shown) that are situated between the base layer 32 and the first layer 33.

FIGS. 8 and 9 illustrate another example bath mat 40. The bath mat 40 includes a base layer 42 and an article 43 that is detachably connected to the base layer 42. In the example embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9, the article 43 is a wash cloth 44 that may be detached from the base layer 42. The article 43 (e.g., wash cloth 44) may be attached to the base layer 42 by a perforated section 45 such that the perforated section 45 may be torn to remove the article 43 from the base layer 42 (see FIG. 9). As shown in FIG. 15, the article 43 (e.g., wash cloth 44) may also be adhered to base layer 42 such that article 43 may be peeled from the base layer 42.

In some embodiments, the wash cloth 44 and/or the base layer 42 may include an active ingredient as discussed above. The type and amount of active ingredient 14 in the wash cloth 44 and/or the base layer 42 will be based on the properties that are desired within particular commercial products.

It should be noted that the article 43 may be a variety of items. FIG. 10 shows an example embodiment of the bath mat 40 where the article 43 is a pillow 46 that is detachably connected to the base layer 42.

FIGS. 11 and 12 illustrate another example embodiment of bath mat 40 where the article 43 is an absorbent pad 47. FIG. 11 shows the absorbent pad 47 attached to the base layer 42. FIG. 12 shows the absorbent mat detached from the base layer 42 such that the base layer 42 is placed inside tub 100 and the absorbent pad 47 is positioned adjacent to the tub 100.

Placing the absorbent pad 47 adjacent to the tub 100 provides an individual with a place to stand while they dry off after a bath. The absorbent pad 47 absorbs the water that drips off the individual as the individual dries off.

FIGS. 13 and 14 illustrate another example bath mat 50. The bath mat 50 includes a base layer 52 and a temperature indicator 53 that is part of the base layer 52. In some embodiments, the temperature indicator 53 may be embedded in the base layer 52 while in other embodiments the temperature indicator 53 may be attached (e.g., detachably connected) to the base layer 52.

The temperature indicator 53 provides information as to the temperature of bath (or shower) water when the bath mat 50 is placed into the bath water. The bath mat 50 therefore reduces the possibility that an individual will be burned when they come into contact with the bath water. Providing information as to the temperature of the bath water may be especially important when bathing children.

In the example embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 13 and 14, the temperature indicator provides alphanumeric information 55 as to the temperature of the bath. FIG. 13 shows the bath mat 50 prior to the bath mat 50 being immersed in bath water. As shown in FIG. 14, the example word “hot” becomes visible on bath mat 50 when the bath mat 50 is immersed in sufficiently hot water within tub 100.

In other embodiments, the temperature indicator 53 may include a portion that changes color to provide information as to the temperature of the bath water. Some example temperature indicators 53 include thermometers, thermal tapes and labels, temperature color change indicators (reversible and non-reversible) and thermochromic inks, pigments or dies. The type of temperature indicator 53 that is used in the bath mat 50 will be based on processing parameters, the type of base layer 52 and the properties that are desired within particular commercial products (among other factors).

As part of fabricating any of the bath mats described herein, multiple bath mats may be cut from a sheet that is feed out from a continuous roll. The multiple bath mats may then be stacked for packaging or delivered as the continuous roll. In some forms, multiple bath mats may be inter-folded, o-folded and/or compressed into various geometric shapes. In addition, when the bath mats are stacked, the bath mats may be separated by a substrate that serves as a barrier between the bath mats. In addition, the bath mats may be embossed with logos, use instructions or any other design or information. There are also embodiments that are contemplated where the bath mat has a clear and/or unobtrusive product form such that the bath mat is discreet and does not interfere with the aesthetics of the room where the tub 100 is located.

While the invention has been described in detail with respect to specific embodiments, it will be appreciated that there are variations of, and equivalents to these embodiments. Accordingly, the scope of the present invention should be determined by the appended claims and any equivalents thereto.