Title:
Disposable/Flushable, Hygienic Toilet Seat Cover with a Form Fitting, Secure Fit
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The article of invention is an improved disposable/flushable toilet seat cover (16) that provides a hygienic, secure fit. It consists of a curved fitting edge (13) with a partial or continuous elastic rim (10) that ensures a secure fit and also provides a hygienic method of use. The article also consists of a generally funnel or cylindrical shaped opening (14) that extends into the toilet bowl and provides hygienic access to the toilet bowl.



Inventors:
Smith, Garey Alexander (Winter Springs, FL, US)
Application Number:
10/905057
Publication Date:
06/15/2006
Filing Date:
12/13/2004
Assignee:
Smith, Garey Alexander (Winter Springs, FL, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K13/14; A47K13/24
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TUAN N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GAREY ALEXANDER SMITH (MELBOURNE, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. The article of the invention that is a disposable/flushable toilet seat-cover.

2. The article of claim 1 wherein said article has a form fitting edge that curves around the toilet seat.

3. The article of claim 1 wherein said article consists of a partial or continuous elastic rim.

4. The article of claim 1 wherein said article consists of an extended and generally funnel or cylindrical shaped opening.

5. The article of claim 1 wherein said article consists of an extended tail flap that covers the back of the toilet seat where there is a hinge between the toilet cover and the toilet seat.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The field of the invention is in consumer household products, more specifically toiletry and sanitation-protection of health by maintenance of sanitary conditions.

DISCUSSION OF THE PRIOR ART

Sanitary practices are very important in preventing the contraction and spread of diseases. Public restrooms provide convenience in relief of discomfort or potential bodily emergencies. Attempts are made to keep restrooms clean or sanitized by performing routine cleaning with disinfectants. But the frequency in which toilets are cleaned may not be frequent enough to provide adequate sanitization for an arbitrary user. The article of invention aims at disease prevention and personal hygiene, specifically when using a toilet and especially in public restrooms that are used by many people and in which the rate, method, or thoroughness of cleaning is unknown and uncontrollable by the majority of people that use them.

There have been prior art attempts to implement a disposable toilet seat cover with a secure fit. One such method consisted of the use of a sticky substance (a form of adhesive) to hold the cover in place until after use-for example, the toilet seat cover in U.S. Pat. No. 5,551,096 to Gardner, 1996 Sep. 3—with a “coating of tacky adhesive”. However, the end result leaves the surface of the seat sticky and creates additional obstacles when cleaning the toilet seat-somewhat defeating the purpose.

There have also been attempts made to cover the perimeter of the toilet seats by folding flaps of the cover (or other portions of the cover) under the toilet seat, however, this requires first lifting the seat with the hands which creates further potential hygienic problems.

Prior art attempts have been made that allow segmented flaps of the cover to extend into the toilet bowl, but the use of these non-continuous flaps leave exposed gaps (between the flaps) and thus do little to protect the user or the toilet from exposure to waste—for example, the disposable toilet seat cover in U.S. Pat. No. 3,753,262 to Watsky, 1973 Aug. 21. In a another related case, U.S. Pat. No. 4,887,321 to MacLean, 1989 Dec. 19, the toilet seat cover has a front flap (“a protective flap portion”) that would extend into the toilet bowl, but this extended flap does not go around the entire circumference of the toilet bowl.

The toilet seat in this document refers to the typically horse-shoe shaped (hollow centered) portion of the toilet that is set on hinges to allow the seat to swing up or down. The toilet cover is the portion of the latrine that is also hinged to allow motion (up is open and down is closed), but is not hollow and rests on top of the toilet seat when closed. The toilet seat cover is any article that is designed to be placed over the toilet seat for a functional or ornamental result.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

The invention may be made to fit standardized sizes of toilet seats, or it may have variations that exist as one-size-fits-all articles—this capability is assisted by the use of a curved edge with an elastic rim in the general design. The elasticity of the rim may be designed to continue through the entire perimeter (edge) of the disposable cover or be present at select portions of the perimeter. A possible advantage of having a rim with intermittent areas of elasticity would be to allow the disposable toilet seat cover to more easily disintegrate once it has been disposed. One improvement to the prior art is the use of the curved, form fitting edge with an elastic rim to secure the cover—this prevents it from easily sliding off the seat when in use—the design also further limits exposure (skin contact) with the toilet by completely covering the perimeter of the toilet seat. An additional advantage of the article of the invention being submitted in this document lies in the mechanism that can be applied when using it to cover a toilet seat. The mechanism is such that the seat can be covered without first being lifted—this is in regards to the potential unsanitary exposure from lifting the toilet seat. One manner of hygienic use will be explained in the “Detail Description of the Invention—Operation of Invention” section.

The use of an extended, but continuous, and generally funnel (or cylindrical) shaped opening—in the center of the disposable toilet seat cover to provide access to the toilet bowl—allows the bowl to have additional shielding from being fully exposed to human waste when the article of invention is being used. That is, it creates a partial barrier between the upper portions of the toilet bowl and the person using the toilet. The upper portions of the toilet bowl—especially the lower rim from where tap water enters the bowl—is very conducive to bacterial growth and is possibly the least accessible and most difficult portion of the toilet bowl to clean.

While using a toilet, a person may have portions of their body protruding below the level that is formed by the surface of the toilet seat—this includes contact to the inner edges that encompasses the hollowed center of the toilet seat. The generally funnel or cylindrical shaped portion of the disposable toilet seat cover, which extends beyond the level of the toilet seat, will serve to provide additional hygienic protection by further reducing exposure. As an additional advantage, the toilet bowl is also protected, as mentioned above, by a reduced exposure to human waste—this reduces the rate at which the toilet gets unsanitary.

The extension portion of the disposable seat cover, though more practical to be a funnel or cylindrical shape, is not limited to these forms—that is, this specification includes all functional extensions indifferent of shape. A funnel shaped opening (or some variation of it ), however, has a slightly different advantage over all other forms in that its shape creates a sort of splash guard with some protection against the unfavorable event that water from the toilet bowl splashes up towards the person using the toilet. The generally funnel shaped opening gets smaller as the disposable cover extends further into the toilet bowl. Contrarily, the generally cylindrical shaped opening (or any other shape with a uniformly cross-section) extends into the bowl while maintaining generally the same cross-sectional area.

The back portion of the disposable toilet seat cover will be non-elastic and will instead form an extended flap that further covers portions of and beyond the hinge formed by the toilet seat and the toilet cover. The extended tail flap offers further protection by limiting contact with rear portion of the toilet seat (where the toilet cover and toilet seat form a hinge).

The material from which the invention (in general terms) is to be made is not limited by anything but its functionality and practicality—that is, the material must be flushable. Different embodiments of the invention may limit one or more aspects of the invention to emphasize certain features over others. However, these narrowing views are used to provide emphasis, and do not serve to limit the broadness of scope of the claims.

One manner of making the elastic rim is to adhere (by use of stitching or adhesive) a stretched band of elastic material to the rim of the disposable seat cover; as the elastic band is relaxed the affixed material will crumple as it adjusts to its new form.

There are other disposable toilet seat covers available, but this article of invention will demonstrate key advantages over currently available disposable seat covers. Further objects and advantages of this invention will be made more apparent from consideration of the remaining portions of the specification.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is a flushable (disposable) cover for the toilet seat. This covers the seat including the edges of the seat—and stays securely in place when in use. A secure fit in this case means that the disposable seat cover will not easily slide off the toilet seat—which would expose the user to contact with the toilet seat. The design has a curved, form fitting edge with an elastic rim that enables the cover to hold securely without exposing any portion of the toilet seat to the body of the person using it. The article will have a hollow section (generally funnel or cylindrically shaped extended opening) in the middle to allow a more hygienic access to the toilet bowl.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

1. Preferred Embodiment of the Invention—FIGS. 1 and 2

The preferred embodiment of the invention will consist of a material that is biodegradable, thin, flexible, but relatively strong. The material is more likely to be a form of paper that is non-porous to small amounts of water, but is gradually absorbent when covered in water. This embodiment of the invention will share the characteristic of having an elastic rim (10), which will allow for two main things: one thing it will do is securely hold the toilet seat cover (16) (the article of invention) in place when in use; the second main thing it will do is allow for flexibility, if needed, of being able to fit varying sized and shaped toilet seats. However, an embodiment may be specifically designed to fit a toilet seat of a standardized size and shape with no concerns of versatility. The preferred embodiment of the invention should at least be able to fit standardized sized toilet seats—otherwise custom covers (16) can be made to size and/or shape. This embodiment should have a hollowing in the center that provides access to the toilet bowl (22), but is generally oval in cross section and forms an extended funnel (or cylindrical) shaped opening (14) that extends into the toilet bowl. The funnel or cylindrical shaped extension (14) is completely continuous as it lines the inside edges of the toilet seat (18) and the upper portions of the toilet bowl (22). In the case of the funnel shaped extension (14), the portion of the toilet seat cover (16) that would protrude the furthest into the toilet bowl (22) has the smallest diameter—that is, the opening gradually reduces as it extends.

For this embodiment of the invention, the rim (10) will have alternating areas of elasticity and non-elasticity and will be coupled with a form fitting edge (13) that limits exposure.

The back portion of the disposable toilet seat cover (16) will be non-elastic and will instead form an extended flap (12) that further covers portions of and beyond the hinge formed by the toilet seat and the toilet cover.

2. Operation of Invention

The article of invention may exist as convenient, portable, individual packages or as multiple articles to be dispensed from a dispenser of adequate design and mechanism.

A manner or method of hygienic use for the disposable toilet seat cover (16) consists of the following: stretch a portion of the front of the cover then snap the elastic rim around the perimeter of the toilet seat (18)—without touching the seat with hand—by starting from the front of the seat then securing the side straight through to the back of the seat. The mechanism for removal (of the seat) after use is similar and requires doing the reverse of the procedure mentioned above; pulling from the back to the front while carefully guiding the disposable toilet seat cover into the toilet bowl to be flushed. The cover at this point has been discarded and should be flushed (after it is observed that it is adequately submersed in water.

DRAWINGS OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF INVENTION

The drawings indicated below serves as an example of one possible realization of the invention and do not serve as a limitation or distortion of the broadness of the claims provided with this document.

The drawings provided with this document, which shows views of the preferred embodiment of the invention will assist in distinguishing this invention from its prior arts.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view, from the underside, of the preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the preferred embodiment of the invention as it would appear over a cross-sectional view of a toilet seat.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a drawing of a typical toilet (latrine) and its various components mentioned in this document.

DRAWINGS—REFERENCE NUMERALS

  • 10 elastic rim (portions of elasticity)
  • 12 tail flap/ extended flap
  • 13 curved fitting edge
  • 14 funnel or cylindrical shaped extended opening
  • 16 disposable toilet seat cover (article of invention)
  • 18 toilet seat
  • 20 toilet cover
  • 22 toilet bowl
  • 24 toilet hinge