Title:
Compact toilet cleaning kit
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toilet maintenance system for storing toilet accessories comprising a container and a plunger. The plunger comprises an upper handle part equipped at its lower end with a first assembling means configured according to first gender. The plunger also comprises a lower handle part equipped at its upper end with a second assembling means configured according to second gender. The first assembling means and the second assembling means are capable of mating, locking in place and attaching the upper handle and the lower handle, and are also capable of being unmated for disassembling the upper handle part and the lower handle part. The plunger also comprises a rubber pump attached to the lower end of the lower handle part. The plunger can be assembled before its utilization and can be disassembled after its utilization, and compactly stored into the container. The container includes a swiveling handle for carrying.



Inventors:
Karlicek, William L. (Carlsbad, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/009822
Publication Date:
06/15/2006
Filing Date:
12/10/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03D11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PHILLIPS, CHARLES E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
George Samuel Levy (Irvine, CA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A toilet maintenance system for storing toilet accessories comprising: a) a container and b) a plunger comprising i) an upper handle part equipped at its lower end with a first assembling means configured according to first gender, ii) a lower handle part equipped at its upper end with a second assembling means configured according to second gender, wherein said first assembling means and second assembling means are capable of mating, locking in place and attaching said upper handle and said lower handle, and furthermore wherein said first assembling means and said second assembling means are capable of being unmated for disassembling said upper handle part from said lower handle part, and iii) a rubber pump attached to lower end of said lower handle part, thereby allowing the assembly of said plunger before utilization of said plunger and allowing the disassembly of said plunger after utilization of said plunger and compact storage of said plunger into said container.

2. A device as in claim 1 wherein said one of said assembling means comprises a cylindrical receptacle inside of which at least two L-shaped grooves are formed, and wherein other of said assembling means comprises a cylinder outside of which at least two diametrically opposed protuberances are formed, the number of said grooves and the number of said protuberances being equal and the positions of said grooves corresponding to the position of said protuberances on their respective cylinder, and depth of said grooves matching elevation of said protuberances, thereby allowing the mating of said upper handle part to said lower handle part by sliding and twisting said upper handle part into said lower handle part.

3. A device as in claim 2 wherein said first gender of first assembling means of said upper handle part is configured as female and said second gender of second assembling means of said lower handle part is configured as male.

4. A device as in claim 1 wherein said one of said assembling means comprises a cylindrical receptacle of slightly oval cross section, and wherein other of said assembling means comprises a cylinder also of slightly oval cross section, thereby allowing the mating of said upper handle part to said lower handle part by sliding and twisting said upper handle part into said lower handle part.

5. A device as in claim 1 wherein one of said assembling means comprises a cylindrical receptacle inside of which a female screw thread is formed, and wherein other of said assembling means comprises a cylinder outside of which a male screw thread is formed matching in configuration said female screw thread, thereby allowing the mating of said upper handle part to said lower handle part by screwing said upper handle part into said lower handle part.

6. A device as in claim 1 wherein said first assembling means comprises a cylindrical receptacle inside of which a female screw thread is formed, and wherein said second assembling means comprises a cylinder outside of which a male screw thread is formed matching in configuration said female screw thread, thereby allowing the mating of said upper handle part to said lower handle part by screwing said upper handle part into said lower handle part.

7. A device as in claim 1 wherein said lower handle part of said plunger is flared at the lower end that screws into said rubber pump thereby facilitating the rinsing and cleaning of the contaminated portion of the assembly and eliminating sharp angles and concave areas that trap contaminants.

8. A device as in claim 1 wherein said upper handle part comprises at its upper end an extra wide section thereby facilitating the safe and ergonomic grasping and use of the plunger assembly.

9. A device as in claim 1 wherein said container has one or more partitions thereby allowing the separate storing of clean and unclean said toilet accessories.

10. A device as in claim 1 wherein said container has a carrying handle.

11. A device as in claim 1 wherein said container has a lid, and said plunger is small enough in its disassembled state in relation to said container to fit within said container when said lid is closed.

12. A plunger comprising a) an upper handle part equipped at its lower end with a first assembling means configured according to first gender, b) a lower handle part equipped at its upper end with a second assembling means configured according to second gender, wherein said first assembling means and second assembling means are capable of mating, locking in place and attaching said upper handle and said lower handle, and furthermore wherein said first assembling means and said second assembling means are capable of being unmated for disassembling said upper handle part from said lower handle part, c) a rubber pump attached to lower end of said lower handle part, thereby allowing the assembly of said plunger before utilization of said plunger and allowing the disassembly of said plunger after utilization of said plunger and compact storage of said plunger.

13. A device as in claim 12 wherein said one of said assembling means comprises a cylindrical receptacle inside of which at least two L-shaped grooves are formed, and wherein other of said assembling means comprises a cylinder outside of which at least two diametrically opposed protuberances are formed, the number of said grooves and the number of said protuberances being equal and the positions of said grooves corresponding to the position of said protuberances on their respective cylinder, and depth of said grooves matching elevation of said protuberances, thereby allowing the mating of said upper handle part to said lower handle part by sliding and twisting said upper handle part into said lower handle part.

14. A device as in claim 13 wherein said first gender of first assembling means of said upper handle part is configured as female and said second gender of second assembling means of said lower handle part is configured as male.

15. A device as in claim 12 wherein said one of said assembling means comprises a cylindrical receptacle of slightly oval cross section, and wherein other of said assembling means comprises a cylinder also of slightly oval cross section, thereby allowing the mating of said upper handle part to said lower handle part by sliding and twisting said upper handle part into said lower handle part.

16. A device as in claim 12 wherein one of said assembling means comprises a cylindrical receptacle inside of which a female screw thread is formed, and wherein other of said assembling means comprises a cylinder outside of which a male screw thread is formed matching in configuration said female screw thread, thereby allowing the mating of said upper handle part to said lower handle part by screwing said upper handle part into said lower handle part.

17. A device as in claim 12 wherein said lower handle part of said plunger is flared at the lower end that screws into said rubber pump thereby facilitating the rinsing and cleaning of the contaminated portion of the assembly and eliminating sharp angles and concave areas that trap contaminants.

18. A device as in claim 1 wherein said upper handle part comprises at its upper end an extra wide section thereby facilitating the safe and ergonomic grasping and use of the plunger assembly.

19. A device as in claim 12 wherein said upper handle part has a flared smooth lower section and concave connecting port thereby facilitating its cleaning and the elimination of any areas that can trap contaminants after use.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to toilet accessories, more particularly to toilet cleaning kits that include a compact storage container for holding a plunger, as well as other optional accessories such as a brush and a cleaner solution spray bottle.

BACKGROUND

Toilets, especially the newer “low flow” models required by various local and state regulations, have a tendency to become plugged during normal use. A common method for unplugging toilets is to use a standard toilet plunger. However, after the use of a plunger, a problem arises: what to do with the plunger and where to store it in a compact and hygienic fashion.

Plungers as described in the prior art can be rinsed in the toilet bowl after use and then either left in the bathroom next to the toilet or transported, dripping and contaminated to another storage location. In most cases, simple rinsing does not remove contaminated items attached to the plunger or handle and other contaminates that might remain in the bowl after flushing. Simple rinsing certainly does not disinfect the plunger or handle.

Most plunger/handle assemblies available today include a wooden handle that is porous and becomes wet and un-sanitary after one use.

In addition, the prior art does not include compact means for storing plungers and other toilet accessories.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,971,141 by Shafik describes a container that can hold a brush and a plunger. The container is bulky and must be at least as high as the height of the plunger. In addition, the container has no room left for carrying any other item such as a cleaning solution spray bottle.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,984,100 by Ramsey describes a container that can carry a plunger, a brush and gloves but is not compact. It must be as high as the height of the plunger. In addition, the container is not designed to catch dripping liquid from these instruments after their use.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,367,621 by Johnson describes a container capable of holding a plunger and a brush. The container is compact but the handles of the instruments must stick out from the container, and therefore are unsightly.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,008,933 by Wanek illustrates bathroom furniture capable of holding a variety of items such as a plunger, a brush, and soap bars. The device is not compact because it must be as high as the height of the plunger. In addition, the proximity of the soap bars with the plunger and the brush represents an unsanitary situation.

Patent application 2003/0173243 by Polito shows how three containers of different heights can be used to hold a plunger, a brush and extra rolls of tissue paper. This design lacks compactness as the largest container must be as high as the height of the plunger.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,446,792 by Kaniaris describes a cylindrical container for carrying a plunger and a brush. The device, however, is not compact since its height must be at least equal to the height of the plunger.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,640,722 by Bui shows how a toilet tank can be adapted to hold a plunger and a brush. This design however is dependent on the toilet tank and cannot be universally used.

The device described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,109,429 by Cunningham can carry several items such as a brush and a plunger but it is not compact and must be as high as the plunger.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,958,150 by Borger et al. describes a container for carrying toilet accessories, in which the plunger handle is allowed to be exposed outside the container.

Patent application 2002/0027402 by Hanser shows how a container can be used to hold a plunger, a brush and toilet paper. However, the device is not compact.

Prior art does not teach any means for storing a toilet plunger together with other toilet accessories in a compact and hygienic way. Prior art does not describe how to construct a toilet plunger that can be made compact for storage purposes. Shortcomings in the prior include the lack of compact and hygienic means for storing several toilet accessories such as a plunger, a toilet brush and a cleaning solution spray bottle.

Further features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention over the prior art will be more fully understood when considered with respect to the following detailed description claims and accompanying drawings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention described therein comprises a multi-partition container as well as a plunger that can be easily disassembled into at least two parts or reassembled. The compact form factor of this container is achieved because the plunger is stored in the container in its disassembled state. The division of the container into two or more partitions allows other toilet maintenance accessories to be stored separately and hygienically.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 represents a container with an open cover, holding a disassembled plunger as well as other toilet accessories such as a toilet brush and a spray bottle of cleaning fluid.

FIG. 2, shows a closed container equipped with a carrying handle and holding a disassembled plunger as well as other toilet accessories such as a toilet brush and a spray bottle of cleaning fluid.

FIG. 3 illustrates the upper part of the plunger handle, comprising the female attachment receptacle.

FIG. 4 shows the top view of the upper plunger handle.

FIG. 5 shows the bottom view of the upper plunger handle.

FIG. 6 describes the lower part of the plunger handle comprising the male attachment mechanism.

FIG. 7 shows the top view of the lower part of the plunger handle.

FIG. 8 shows the side view of the lower part of the plunger handle.

FIG. 9 illustrates the exploded view of the plunger.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As shown in FIG. 1, the present invention comprises a container with at least two partitions separated by an internal wall 2. This container is designed to store a plunger which can be disassembled into a upper handle part 3 and a lower handle part 4 that carries the rubber pump. The smaller form factor achieved by this disassembly allows this device to provide compact storage. The partition between the area where the plunger is located and the rest of the device allows the storage of other items to be hygienic. As FIG. 1 indicates, other items can be stored such as a toilet brush 9 and a spray bottle 5 of cleaning fluid.

The storage container is also equipped with a cover 6 attached by means of hinges 7 and lockable by means of a snap lock 8.

As shown in FIG. 2 the storage container is also equipped with a swiveling handle attached to the body of the container by means of swivels 21.

FIGS. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 describe the construction of the plunger in detail. The plunger, in its disassembled state comprises two parts. The upper handle part 3 equipped with a female attachment mechanism and the lower handle part 4 equipped with a male attachment mechanism. The female and male attachment mechanisms are shaped such that the male part can be inserted into the female part and locked into place.

FIG. 3 shows the upper handle part 3 of the plunger which is approximately cylindrical in shape and equipped at its lower end with the female attachment mechanism. The female mechanism consists of a cylindrical hole 31 equipped with L-shaped groove 32 on the inside. FIG. 4 shows the top end view of the handle 3, and FIG. 5 describes the bottom end view of the upper handle 3, which comprises the female locking mechanism.

FIG. 6 illustrates in detail the construction of the lower handle part 4 of the plunger which is equipped at its upper end with the male attachment mechanism. This locking mechanism comprises a cylinder 42 shaped to fit into the cylindrical receptacle 31 in the upper handle part 3. Mounted on the cylinder are two diametrically opposed protuberances shaped to fit into the L-shaped grooves 32 located in the inside of the upper handle part 3. When the lower plunger part 4 is inserted and twisted into the upper plunger part 3, the protuberances follow the L grooves 32 and lock in place the upper part 3 to the lower part 4. FIG. 7 shows the top view and FIG. 8 the side view of the lower handle part.

FIG. 9 provides an exploded view of the whole plunger, showing the upper handle part 3, the lower handle part 4 and the rubber pump 71 which attaches to the lower handle by means of a screw mechanism.

It is obvious that the male and female mechanisms can be exchanged between the upper and lower handle parts. However, designing the handle such that the upper handle part includes the female adapter and the lower handle part, the male adapter has an advantage: If the female adapter were on the lower handle part, dirty water would have a tendency to collect into the cavity. Designing the upper handle part as female and the lower handle part as male avoids that problem.

The ability of the plunger to be easily assembled and disassembled allows it to be compactly stored into a container 1 as shown in FIG. 1. The assembly mechanism described above is only one version of several possible alternatives. For example the upper handle part and the lower handle part could be shaped as slightly oval cylinders that could fit into each other. Twisting one with respect to the other can effectively lock them into place. This technique is commonly used in swimming pool equipment such as brush cleaners.

Alternatively, the handle assembly mechanism can be constructed as a lockable articulation between two rigid members. The rigid members are folded for storage and extended before the plunger is used.

Yet, another variant of the assembly mechanism can be in the shape of a screw. Accordingly, the upper handle part can carry the female screw which is an inwardly threaded cylinder, and the lower part, the male screw which is an outwardly threaded cylinder. Obviously the location of the male and female screws can be inverted between the upper and lower handle parts, but placing the female on top and the male at the bottom avoids the collection of dirty water in the female cavity as already discussed above.

Several additional features of the plunger handle improves its ergonomic and hygienic properties. As shown in FIG. 3 the upper handle part comprises at its upper end an extra wide section 34 to facilitate the safe and ergonomic grasping and use of the plunger assembly.

Furthermore, the upper handle part has a flared smooth lower section 33 to facilitate its cleaning and the elimination of any areas that can trap contaminants after use.

In addition, the lower part of the plunger is flared at the lower end 33, where it screws into the rubber pump. This configuration facilitates the rinsing and cleaning of the contaminated portion of the assembly and eliminating sharp angles and concave areas that trap contaminants.

The device described in the present invention can be utilized to maintain and sanitize toilets. In case of need, it can be transported to the defective toilet by means of its handle. The lid is opened and the plunger is assembled by sliding its upper part into to its lower part and twisting one with respect to the other clockwise by 90 degrees. The plunger can then be used as a normal plunger.

Once the toilet is unplugged, the plunger can be held over the toilet bowl and sprayed with the disinfectant and the brush can be used to remove any waste material still on the lower plunger assembly or in the bowl itself.

The plunger is then disassembled by applying a counterclockwise 90 degree turn and pulling apart the two plunger sections. The sections are then returned to the container. To achieve hygienic storage, each plunger section can be returned to a different container partition. For example, the lower plunger section can be placed together with a toilet brush, and the upper section with other accessories such as a cleaning fluid spray bottle. The container is then closed and returned to storage, without dripping any water or waste material on the floor during transport or storage.

While the above description contains many specificities, the reader should not construe these as limitations on the scope of the invention, but merely as exemplifications of preferred embodiments thereof. Those skilled in the art will envision many other possible variations within its scope. Accordingly, the reader is requested to determine the scope of the invention by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, and not by the examples which have been given.