Title:
Cleansing device with inclusion
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cleansing device is provided including a face layer having a face layer perimetric edge; a backing layer having a backing layer perimetric edge, wherein at least a portion of the backing layer perimetric edge is coupled to the face layer perimetric edge such that the face and backing layers define an interior space, the space including a cleansing device opening; a retaining layer coupled to one of the face and backing layers to form a retaining zone having a retaining zone opening; and an inclusion disposed within the retaining zone.



Inventors:
Cohen, Jason C. (Appleton, WI, US)
Miller Jr., Rodney Lee (Shiocton, WI, US)
Jelenc, Tatum Marie (Chilton, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/303072
Publication Date:
06/14/2007
Filing Date:
12/13/2005
Assignee:
Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
401/7, 15/227
International Classes:
A47L13/19
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KARLS, SHAY LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KIMBERLY-CLARK WORLDWIDE, INC. (Neenah, WI, US)
Claims:
1. A cleansing device comprising: a face layer having a face layer perimetric edge; a backing layer having a backing layer perimetric edge, wherein at least a portion of the backing layer perimetric edge is coupled to the face layer perimetric edge such that the face and backing layers define an interior space, the space including a cleansing device opening; a retaining layer coupled to one of the face and backing layers to form a retaining zone having a retaining zone opening; and an inclusion disposed within the retaining zone.

2. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein the cleansing device is a bathing mitt.

3. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein the cleansing device has a cleansing device design scheme, wherein the inclusion has an inclusion design, and wherein the inclusion design coordinates with the cleansing device design scheme.

4. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein the cleansing device has a cleansing device function, wherein the inclusion has an inclusion function, and wherein the inclusion function coordinates with the cleansing device function.

5. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein the inclusion is a complementary item.

6. The cleansing device of claim 5, wherein the complementary item is one of shampoo, soap, hair conditioner, skin lotion, a soap puff, bubble bath, an aromatherapy agent, perfume, fragrance, an odor control agent, an anti-viral agent, a warming agent, a cooling agent, a mentholated agent, deodorant, a cosmetic, and a hair-styling product.

7. The cleansing device of claim 5, wherein the complementary item is one of oven cleaner, glass cleaner, eyeglass cleaner, furniture polish, shoe polish, car wax, hard surface cleaner, upholstery cleaner, fabric cleaner, laundry detergent, spot remover, and carpet cleaner.

8. The cleansing device of claim 5, wherein the complementary item is a treatment for one of lice, dandruff, bed sores, and cradle cap.

9. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein the inclusion is a recreational item.

10. The cleansing device of claim 9, wherein the recreational item is one of a toy, a waterproof sticker, a water-soluble sticker, a temporary tattoo, a trading card, a comic book, an iron-on decal, a learning implement, a game, and an expanding foam toy.

11. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein the inclusion is a functional item.

12. The cleansing device of claim 11, wherein the functional item is one of a water temperature gauge, a sponge, a comb, vitamins, food, candy, a pet treat, and jewelry.

13. The cleansing device of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of inclusions disposed in the retaining zone.

14. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein the retaining zone further comprises a closure mechanism.

15. The cleansing device of claim 14, wherein the closure mechanism is a flap adapted to cover the retaining zone opening.

16. The cleansing device of claim 15, wherein the flap is adapted to be coupled to the retaining layer with hook material.

17. The cleansing device of claim 14, wherein the closure mechanism is a retaining layer tab.

18. The cleansing device of claim 17, wherein the retaining layer tab is adapted to be coupled to the backing layer with hook material.

19. The cleansing device of claim 14, wherein the closure mechanism is hook material.

20. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein the cleansing device further comprises a solution included with one of the face and backing layers.

21. The cleansing device of claim 20, wherein the solution is one of a soap, a shampoo, a lathering surfactant, and a lotion.

22. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein the retaining layer has a retaining layer pattern, wherein the backing layer has a backing layer pattern, and wherein the retaining layer pattern is registered to align with the backing layer pattern.

23. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein the retaining layer has a retaining layer pattern, wherein the backing layer has a backing layer pattern, and wherein the retaining layer pattern is registered to contrast with the backing layer pattern.

24. The cleansing device of claim 1, further comprising a thumb hole in one of or between the face and backing layers.

25. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein the face layer is coupled to the backing layer using adhesive.

26. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein the face layer is coupled to the backing layer using ultrasonic bonding.

27. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein the face layer is coupled to the backing layer by sewing.

28. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein the cleansing device is disposable.

29. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein inclusion is self-contained within a package.

30. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein the retaining layer has four sides, and wherein three of the sides are coupled to one of the face and backing layers to form a pocket.

31. The cleansing device of claim 1, wherein the retaining layer is coupled to a pouch layer to form a pouch.

32. The cleansing device of claim 31, wherein the pouch is adapted to be removably attached to the cleansing device.

33. A cleansing device comprising: a face layer having a face layer perimetric edge; a backing layer having a backing layer perimetric edge, wherein at least a portion of the backing layer perimetric edge is coupled to the face layer perimetric edge such that the face and backing layers define an interior space, the interior space including a cleansing device opening; and an inclusion disposed within the interior space, wherein the inclusion is a complementary item, a recreational item, or a functional item.

34. The cleansing device of claim 33, wherein the cleansing device is a bathing mitt.

35. A cleansing device comprising: a face layer having a face layer perimetric edge; a backing layer having a backing layer perimetric edge, wherein at least a portion of the backing layer perimetric edge is coupled to the face layer perimetric edge such that the face and backing layers define an interior space, the space including a cleansing device opening; and an inclusion affixed to one of the face layer and the backing layer.

36. The cleansing device of claim 35, further comprising a seam coupling the face layer to the backing layer, wherein the inclusion is affixed to one of the face layer and the backing layer at the seam.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Bathing aids in the form of cloths, wipes, and mitts can be used by persons in a typical bathing process to wash themselves or others. Such bathing aids can include various soaps and other ablutive substances to promote the cleansing process.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Bathing subjects, particularly children, can come to view bathing as a mundane and unpleasant process and can become easily distracted and thus difficult to bathe. This is a cause of struggle for many children and for the people caring for them. In response, various consumer products have included bright colors or characters on the packaging in an effort to make personal hygiene easier on kids and caregivers. In addition, some persons dislike the amount of soap, for example, resident in prior bathing aid products, preferring to themselves add what they view as the appropriate amount of soap.

However, there is still a need for products that make hygiene fun, encourage interaction between parents and kids, and help children learn to care for themselves. In response to these needs, the inventors have acted on the observation that when a child learns through play, everything comes more naturally. As such, a range of products directed towards children makes learning to keep clean a lot more fun and creates a fun and interactive hygienic experience.

The invention disclosed herein solves these problems by providing an improved cleansing device that includes a retaining zone adapted to contain one or more inclusions wherein the retaining zone is functionally and aesthetically integrated into the design of the cleansing device.

More specifically, the present invention provides a cleansing device including a face layer having a face layer perimetric edge; a backing layer having a backing layer perimetric edge, wherein at least a portion of the backing layer perimetric edge is coupled to the face layer perimetric edge such that the face and backing layers define an interior space, the space including a cleansing device opening; a retaining layer coupled to one of the face and backing layers to form a retaining zone having a retaining zone opening; and an inclusion disposed within the retaining zone.

The present invention also provides a cleansing device including a face layer having a face layer perimetric edge; a backing layer having a backing layer perimetric edge, wherein at least a portion of the backing layer perimetric edge is coupled to the face layer perimetric edge such that the face and backing layers define an interior space, the interior space including a cleansing device opening; and an inclusion disposed within the interior space, wherein the inclusion is a complementary item, a recreational item, or a functional item.

The present invention also provides a cleansing device including a face layer having a face layer perimetric edge; a backing layer having a backing layer perimetric edge, wherein at least a portion of the backing layer perimetric edge is coupled to the face layer perimetric edge such that the face and backing layers define an interior space, the space including a cleansing device opening; and an inclusion affixed to one of the face layer and the backing layer.

Objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art in view of the following description and the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a cleansing device of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED ASPECTS

The term “surface” and its plural generally refer herein to the outer or the topmost boundary of an object. Surface may refer to that of skin, hair, clothing, upholstery, countertops, floors, walls, windows, tables, appliances, bathroom fixtures, automobiles, or any other object that may require or accommodate bathing, cleaning, removing something from, or applying something to its surface.

The term “cleansing device” generally refers to a device used to clean and/or treat any surface, including those on humans and other animals. Non-limiting examples of a cleansing device include mitts, wipes, poufs, buffs, washcloths, pads, and sponges. Non-limiting examples of uses of such a cleansing device include child and adult bathing, pet bathing, surface cleaning, application of a substance, removal of a substance, and other similar uses.

FIG. 1 illustrates an example of a cleansing device 10 of the present invention. Such a cleansing device 10 allows a consumer to bathe themselves, another human, an animal such as a pet, or to clean or treat any surface. The cleansing device 10 of the present invention will be described in terms of a mitt adapted to be used in bathing a child. For purposes of illustration, and not for purposes of limitation, the cleansing device 10 is described as a mitt. The same cleansing device 10, however, may be described as any other suitable form of a cleansing device 10, including as a wipe.

The cleansing device 10 includes a face layer 15, a backing layer 20, and an inclusion system 60. The face layer 15 may be of any suitable shape, but is preferably generally planar and is further preferably generally rectangular or oblong. The face layer 15 has a perimetric edge 25 extending around the face layer 15. In one aspect of the present invention, the face layer 15 is generally the size of a human hand held flat on a surface. In general, the face layer 15 may be of any suitable size, with the size preferably selected to be suitable for the intended use of the cleansing device 10.

In one aspect of the present invention, the face layer 15 is constructed from a nonwoven web from a polymeric fiber blend including at least one elastomeric polyolefin and at least one nonelastomeric polyolefin.

Preferably, the polymeric blend will include a nonelastomeric olefin resin in the range of from about 10 to about 90 percent by weight, and an elastomeric resin of from about 90 to about 10 percent by weight. The density of the elastomeric polyolefin will be less than about 0.885 g/cm3 and the density of the nonelastomeric polyolefin will be at least about 0.890 g/cm3. In one particular aspect, the polymeric blend may include about 50 percent to about 90 percent by weight of a metallocene-catalyzed polyethylene and about 50 percent to about 10 percent by weight of a nonelastomeric polyolefin such as a linear low density polyethylene.

The nonwoven web may be prepared using any of the methods known in the prior art, including conventional meltblowing processes. The use of a suitable lower density elastomeric resin blended with a nonelastomeric polyolefin resin of lower viscosity results in a substrate that may be advantageously meltblown into a nonwoven web. The meltblowing process used allows for improved web formation and lessens the quenching and die tip pressure problems associated with the use of only the higher density and more viscous elastomers.

The elastic nonwoven web formed may be used as the elastic sheet(s) in various nonwoven laminate constructions, such as stretch-bonded and neck-bonded laminates. The elastic nonwoven web itself may be formed from various processes, including meltblowing techniques or techniques that form continuous filaments such as spunbond webs or an array of substantially parallel continuous fibers or strands. The elastic nonwoven webs may be laminated to one or more outer layer webs. These outer layer webs may be meltblown, spunbonded, or coformed webs. In addition, such webs may be formed from continuous filaments. In one particular aspect, the meltblown webs formed from the present elastomeric/non-elastomeric polyolefin blend are sandwiched between two outer layers of coformed webs formed from cellulosic and meltblown polypropylene fibers.

When webs having substantially continuous filaments are desired, other modified meltblowing processes may be utilized. For example, when a continuous filament web is desired, the process of forming substantially continuous polymeric filaments disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,385,775 to Wright may be employed. As explained in Wright, which is incorporated herein by reference, a meltblowing apparatus is used wherein the heat for the primary air stream flowing past the meltblowing die tip is either greatly reduced or absent. The continuous filaments are then overlaid with a type of sprayed-on conventional meltblown web material. The resulting fibrous sheet exhibits substantially continuous filaments instead of the primarily randomly scattered filaments typical of most purely meltblown webs. This process can be used to form either the elastic fibrous sheets employing the present polymer blend or for forming the webs to which the elastic nonwoven webs are laminated.

In one example, a meltblown web having the stretchability characteristics of the present composition may be formed into a stretch-bonded laminate base sheet such as described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,720,415 to Vander Wielen et al., which is incorporated herein by reference. Instead of the base sheet being formed from KRATON-type materials as disclosed in Vander Wielen et al., the base sheet in the present invention is formed from the above-described elastomeric/non-elastomeric polyolefin blend. The polymeric blend may also be formed into an elastic nonwoven web for use in a neck-bonded laminate material;

In addition, the nonwoven webs formed may also be utilized as the inner layer(s) for various wiper products where the outer layers of such products are coformed cellulose and polypropylene. Other applications include various types of laminates such as nonwoven/stretchable web/nonwoven laminates, stretchable web/nonwoven/stretchable web laminates, and nonwoven/stretchable web laminates where the nonwoven portions of the laminates are typical thermoplastics nonwoven spunbond or meltblown webs and the stretchable web portions are made from the present polymeric blend material.

In forming the particular products of the present invention, the polymer blend of elastomeric and non-elastomeric materials is formed into an elastic meltblown nonwoven web. This web is then heat-bonded to at least one other thermoplastic nonwoven web or a coform of approximately 65 percent pulp and about 35 percent polymer such as polypropylene. In one aspect, the elastic nonwoven web is sandwiched between at least two outer meltblown nonwoven coformed webs. When employed, coformed webs will typically consist of cellulosic fibers and fibers formed from a polyolefin such as polypropylene or polyethylene. The inner nonwoven elastic web will be maintained in a stretched condition within its elastic range during the bonding of the outer layers to it so that upon contracting or recovering after release of the stretching, the outer layers will gather or pucker. The resulting laminate will exhibit a texture and feel of a gathered quilt-type material.

The outer layers may be webs formed by meltblowing or by spunbonding, and may, themselves, have elastic properties. The process of forming nonwoven webs by spunbonding is described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,340,563 to Appel et al., which is incorporated herein by reference. Spunbonding techniques form small diameter fibers by extruding molten thermoplastic material as filaments from a plurality of fine, usually circular, capillaries of a spinnerette with the diameter of the extruded filaments then being rapidly reduced. Other examples of spunbonded fibers are set forth in U.S. Pat. No. 3,692,618 to Dorschner et al., U.S. Pat. No. 3,802,817 to Matsuki et al., U.S. Pat. No. 3,338,992 to Kinney, U.S. Pat. No. 3,341,394 to Kinney, U.S. Pat. No. 3,502,763 to Hartman, and U.S. Pat. No. 3,542,615 to Dobo et al. Spunbond fibers are generally continuous and have average diameters (from a sample of at least 10) larger than 7 microns, more particularly, between about 10 and 40 microns. The fibers may also have shapes such as those described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,277,976 to Hogle et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,466,410 to Hills, U.S. Pat. No. 5,069,970 to Largman et al., and U.S. Pat. No. 5,057,368 to Largman et al., which describe fibers with unconventional shapes.

When coformed outer web layers are used, the coforming techniques disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,100,324 to Anderson et al., which is incorporated herein by reference, may be used. In particular, a coformed nonwoven web is formed by combining in a gas stream a mixture of meltblown thermoplastic and cellulosic fibers such as wood pulp or staple fibers. In the technique disclosed therein, the thermoplastic and cellulosic fibers are combined prior to the combined fibers being collected on a forming wire to form a coherent web of randomly dispersed fibers. A typical coformed nonwoven web may include about 65 percent by weight cellulosic fibers and about 35 percent by weight thermoplastic fibers, although this ratio may be varied to achieve various desirable properties in such coformed webs. When the resulting laminate is formed, the laminate may include about 50 percent by weight synthetic fibers and about 50 percent by weight cellulosic fibers, with other ratios also being suitable.

In other aspects of the present invention, the face layer 15 may include any suitable nonwoven or woven materials or polymer sheeting of any suitable basis weight. The material of the face layer 15 can act to protect a user's hand from contacting the bathing or cleaning subject. In one aspect of the present invention, the material for the face layer 15 may be as described in co-assigned U.S. Pat. No. 6,680,265 B1.

The cleansing device 10 also includes a backing layer 20. The backing layer 20 is preferably of the same general size and shape of the face layer 15, although the size and/or shape of the backing layer 20 may be selected to be different from the size and/or shape of the face layer 15 based on the intended use of the cleansing device 10. The backing layer 20 has a perimetric edge 30 extending around the perimeter of the backing layer 20. In other aspects of the present invention, the backing layer 20 may be a strap or may be small in size compared to the face layer 15. In one exemplary aspect of the present invention, the backing layer 20 is just large enough to cover the fingertips of a user. The backing layer 20 may also act as a carrier sheet for the inclusion system 60.

In one aspect of the present invention, the backing layer 20 includes a stretchable nonwoven sheet. In other aspects of the present invention, the backing layer 20 may be a stretch bonded laminate, a non-stretchable nonwoven, or any other suitable nonwoven material, woven material, or polymer sheet, including, for example, paper tissue. The backing layer 20 may also be manufactured from an elastomeric material to allow for a more snug fit on the user's hand or a grooming tool. The material of the backing layer 20 can act to enclose the user's hand and protect the hand from contact with the bathing or cleaning subject, in addition to maintaining a snug fit on the user's hand during use of the cleansing device 10.

In another aspect of the present invention, one or both of the face and backing layers 15, 20 may be breathable to allow air to circulate through the cleansing device 10. In yet another aspect of the present invention, one or both of the face and backing layers 15, 20 may include a solution. For example, the solution may be one or more of a soap, a shampoo, a lathering surfactant, and a lotion. The solution may be applied to one or both of the face and backing layers 15, 20 by dipping, by spraying, or by any other suitable method.

The face layer 15 is coupled to the backing layer 20. One of the face and backing layers 15, 20 is positioned to overlie the other of the face and backing layers 15, 20, such that the perimetric edges 25, 30 of the face and backing layers 15, 20 generally align. A portion of the perimetric edge 25 of the face layer 15 is attached to the perimetric edge 30 of the backing layer 20 to form a seam 35. The seam 35 formed may be at the perimetric edges 25, 30, or the seam 35 may be adjacent or inward from the perimetric edges 25, 30. The perimetric edges 25, 30 may be attached by adhesive, ultrasonic bonding, heating, sewing, or by any other suitable method.

Coupling the face layer 15 to the backing layer 20 forms the cleansing device 10 with a bag-like structure having an outer surface 40 and an interior space 45 with a cleansing device opening 50. The interior space 45 may be as small as the space between the face layer 15 and a strap when the backing layer 20 is in the form of a strap. The cleansing device 10 may be formed such that the interior space 45 is sized to accommodate a human hand, a portion of a bathing tool, or any other suitable item. Because of this bag-like design in one aspect of the present invention, the cleansing device 10 may be turned inside-out by a user such that the previous interior space 45 becomes the new outer surface, and the previous outer surface 40 becomes and defines the new interior space. In turning the cleansing device 10 inside-out, any dirt or other substances captured on the previous outer surface 40 of the cleansing device 10 becomes captured within the new interior space of the cleansing device 10. Turning the cleansing device inside-out may be aided by providing a tab, a finger loop, or other similar mechanism within the interior space 45.

The cleansing device 10 may include one or more thumb holes (not shown). In one aspect of the present invention, the thumb holes are formed as openings in the seam 35 between the face and backing layers 15, 20. Positioning thumb holes on opposite sides of the cleansing device 10 allows the cleansing device 10 to be used on the user's right or left hand. In other aspects of the present invention, one or more thumb holes may be positioned or formed in one or both of the face and backing layers 15, 20. The thumb holes may also be partially formed with a cutout in one of the face or backing layers 15,20.

In an alternative aspect of the present invention (not shown), the cleansing device 10 may include a thumb space at least partially separated from the interior space 45 and sized to accommodate a human thumb. A thumb space helps to stabilize the cleansing device 10 in use by helping to prevent rotation of the cleansing device 10 around a user's hand. In another alternative aspect of the present invention, particularly one on which the backing layer 20 is a inclusion system 60, the cleansing device 10 may also be manufactured with a second thumb space (not shown) on the opposing perimetric edge 25 of the cleansing device 10, such that one thumb space may be used when the face layer 15 is used, and the other thumb space (not shown) may be used when the backing layer 20 is used. In yet another aspect of the present invention (not shown), the cleansing device 10 may be formed as a glove with one or more finger spaces.

In an alternative aspect of the present invention of the cleansing device 10, the face layer 15 and the backing layer 20 are two portions of the same piece of material. One of the face and backing layers 15, 20 is folded over the other of the face and backing layers 15, 20 and a portion of their perimetric edges 25, 30 are coupled by any means described herein to form the cleansing device 10. In this aspect, the cleansing device opening 50 may be formed when the face and backing layers 15, 20 are brought together, or one or both of the face and backing layers 15, 20 may be cut to form the cleansing device opening 50.

In one aspect of the present invention, one of the face and backing layers 15, 20 may include an access flap member (not shown) extending outwardly beyond the other of the face and backing layers 15, 20. The access flap member may be an extension of one of the face and backing layers 15, 20, or can be a separate structural element attached to one of the face and backing layers 15, 20. In this particular aspect, access flap member is an extension of the face layer 15, and is thus made of the same material as that of the face layer 15.

In another aspect of the present invention, the cleansing device 10 may include a reinforcing cuff member (not shown) associated with one of the face and backing layers 15, 20, so as to provide at least two layers of material at the cleansing device opening 50. The reinforcing cuff member is constructed as a folded portion of the backing layer 20, and is folded inwardly toward the interior space 45. The reinforcing cuff member may also be formed from the backing layer 20 by being folded outwardly, or may be a separate structural element. In the illustrated aspect, the reinforcing cuff member is a folded-inwardly portion of the backing layer 20.

In other aspects of the present invention, the cleansing device 10 may include additional and alternative features such as those described in co-assigned U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,542,566, 5,616,201, and 5,649,336, the entirety of which are incorporated herein by reference where not contradictory.

In an aspect of the present invention in which the cleansing device 10 is a wipe or a washcloth, the cleansing device 10 may be formed without a backing layer 20, which also typically eliminates the need for a seam 35 and an interior space 45.

The cleansing device 10 also includes an inclusion system 60. The inclusion system 60 includes a retaining zone 70, an inclusion 75, and may further include a closure mechanism 95.

The retaining zone 70 is formed by coupling a retaining layer 80 to one of the face and backing layers 15, 20. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the retaining zone 70 is formed on the backing layer 20. In one aspect of the present invention, the retaining layer 80 is manufactured from the same material as that of the backing layer 20. In another aspect of the present invention, the retaining layer 80 may be formed from pattern unbonded nonwovens such as those in U.S. Pat. No. 5,858,515 to Stokes et al. The fibers or filaments within the discrete unbonded areas are dimensionally stabilized by the continuous bonded area that encircles or surrounds each unbonded area. The spaces between the fibers or filaments within the unbonded area remain sufficiently open or large and may be adapted to receive and engage hook elements. In other aspects of the present invention, the material for the retaining layer 80 may be spunbond, sms, meltblown, scrim-reinforced material, stretch-bonded laminate, neck-bonded laminate, wherein layers of a nonwoven web have been necked prior to applying an elastomeric sheet made using an elastomeric polymer as described in, for instance, co-assigned U.S. Pat. No. 5,336,545 to Morman, or a laminate including any of these. In other aspects of the present invention, the retaining layer 80 may be manufactured from any suitable material.

In the illustrated aspect, the retaining layer 80 is coupled to the backing layer 20 by ultrasonic bonding, adhesive, or by sewing at least partially around the periphery of the retaining layer 80, leaving a retaining zone opening 90. In an exemplary aspect of the present invention, the retaining layer has four sides, of which three are coupled to one of the face and backing layers 15, 20 to form a pocket. In another aspect of the present invention, the retaining layer 80 may be removably attached to the backing layer 20 using hook and loop, adhesive, or any other suitable mechanism.

In one aspect of the present invention, the cleansing device 10 may include a design scheme including a pattern made up of geometric figures, cartoon characters, illustrations, or any other suitable item or combination of items. Such a pattern may be presented on one or both of the face and backing layers 15, 20. The retaining layer 80 may also include a pattern that is identical to, similar to, complementary to, or contrasting to the pattern of the face or backing layers 15, 20. In one aspect of the present invention, the pattern of the retaining layer 80 complements the design scheme of the cleansing device 10. In one exemplary aspect of the present invention, the retaining layer 80 is coupled to the backing layer 20 such that the pattern of the retaining layer 80 is registered to align with the pattern of the backing layer 20. In another exemplary aspect of the present invention, the retaining layer 80 is coupled to the backing layer such that the pattern of the retaining layer 80 is registered to contrast with the pattern of the backing layer 20.

The inclusion system 60 may include a closure mechanism 95 to both close the opening of the retaining zone 70 and to allow the retaining zone 70 to be repeatedly opened and closed. In one aspect of the present invention, the closure mechanism 95 is hook material attached to one of the backing layer 20 and the retaining layer 80 to allow the hook material to engage the other of the backing layer 20 and the retaining layer 80 when pressure is applied by the user.

In another aspect of the present invention, the closure mechanism 95 is a flap attached to the backing layer 20 in a manner to overlie the retaining zone opening 90 and a portion of the retaining layer 80. The retaining zone 70 may thereby be opened by lifting the flap to expose the retaining zone opening 90. This aspect of the closure mechanism 95 may further include hook material attached to one of the flap or the retaining layer 80 to allow the hook material to engage the other of the flap and the retaining layer 80 when pressure is applied by the user.

In another aspect of the present invention, the closure mechanism 95 is a tab attached to the retaining layer 80 and extending over the retaining zone opening 90 to the backing layer 20. This aspect of the closure mechanism 95 may further include hook material attached to one of the tab or the backing layer 20 to allow the hook material to engage the other of the flap and the backing layer 20 when pressure is applied by the user. In these aspects, the closure mechanism 95 is described as including hook material as an example. The hook material in any of these aspects may be replaced by a releasable adhesive, a button, a snap, a hook clasp, or by any other suitable closure device or combination of closure devices. In another aspect of the present invention, the closure mechanism 95 may be a pull-open seam. In another aspect of the present invention, the closure mechanism 95 may be a zipper-type closure.

The inclusion system 60 also includes an inclusion 75 disposed within the retaining zone 70. The inclusion 75 may be a recreational item, a functional item, or an item that is complementary to the design scheme or function of the cleansing device 10.

In various aspects of the present invention, the inclusion 75 may be a recreational item. As used herein, the term “recreational item” refers to objects that are provided in addition to a cleansing device, are adapted to entertain a user and/or a purchaser of the cleansing device, are associated with individual cleansing devices, and are adapted to be separated from the cleansing device. Examples of recreational items include, for example, toys, waterproof stickers, water-soluble stickers, temporary tattoos, trading cards, comic books, iron-on decals, a learning implement, a game, an expanding foam toy, and other similar items, and combinations thereof. The recreational item may be any suitable item that may be used to entertain, teach, or peaceably distract the bather.

In various aspects, the recreational items provided with the cleansing devices may be adapted to appeal to the specific category of user and/or purchaser to which the cleansing device is adapted, thereby creating a recreational kit.

For example, a cleansing device may be adapted for use with children. A recreational item may be associated with the cleansing device, where the recreational item is adapted to appeal to purchasers and/or users of cleansing devices. For example, the recreational item may be one or more stickers, tattoos, iron on transfers, and the like, and combinations thereof. In some aspects, the recreational items may depict images of cartoon characters. In some aspects, the cleansing device may be adapted for use by children by including images of the same cartoon characters as depicted by the recreational items.

In another example, the recreational item may be a toy suitable for use in and around the water, such as, for example, a compressed foam character provided in a water soluble capsule. The recreational kit provides the cleansing device and the toy, both adapted to children, thereby increasing the value of the cleansing device to the user and/or caregiver.

In various aspects, a cleansing device may be adapted for children by providing images of one or more cartoon characters on the cleansing device, the package, or both. Likewise, the recreational item may include images of the same or related cartoon characters. For example, an image of a popular cartoon character may be depicted, via printing or other known means, on a cleansing device and/or a package containing cleansing devices. The cleansing device may further include one or more recreational items depicting an image of the same cartoon character. The depiction can take any suitable form such as, for example, stickers, pictures, toys, and the like. The addition of the inclusion to the cleansing device adds entertainment value to the user and/or purchaser. The coordination of the inclusion with the images on the cleansing device creates an entertaining game for the child.

In other aspects of the present invention, the inclusion may be a functional item. As used herein, the term “functional item” refers to objects that are provided in addition to a cleansing device, are adapted to be used by a user and/or a purchaser of the cleansing device, are associated with individual cleansing devices, and are adapted to be separated from the cleansing device. Examples of functional items include, for example, a water temperature gauge, a sponge, a comb, vitamins, food, candy, a pet treat, jewelry, or any other suitable item that could be used to enhance the effectiveness of the bathing experience, and combinations thereof.

In various aspects, the functional items provided with the cleansing devices may be adapted to appeal to the specific category of user and/or purchaser to which the cleansing device is adapted, thereby creating a functional kit.

In various aspects, a cleansing device may be adapted for children by providing images of one or more cartoon characters on the cleansing device, the package, or both. Likewise, the functional item may include images of the same or related cartoon characters. For example, an image of a popular cartoon character may be depicted, via printing or other known means, on a cleansing device and/or a package containing cleansing devices. The cleansing device may further include one or more functional items depicting an image of the same cartoon character.

In other aspects of the present invention, the inclusion may be a complementary item. As used herein, the term “complementary item” refers to objects that are provided in addition to a cleansing device, are adapted to be used by a user and/or a purchaser of the cleansing device, are associated with individual cleansing devices, and are adapted to be separated from the cleansing device. Examples of complementary items include, for example, shampoo, soap, hair conditioner, skin lotion, a soap puff, bubble bath, bath salts, a treatment, an aromatherapy agent, perfume, fragrance, an odor control agent, an anti-viral agent, a warming agent, a cooling agent, a mentholated agent, deodorant, a cosmetic, pomade or other hair-styling product, oven cleaner, glass cleaner, eyeglass cleaner, furniture polish, shoe polish, car wax, hard surface cleaner, upholstery cleaner, fabric cleaner, laundry detergent, spot remover, carpet cleaner, or any other suitable item that could be used to complement or supplement the use of the cleansing device 10, and combinations thereof. For the case in which the inclusion 75 is a treatment, the treatment may be one for lice, cradle cap, dandruff, bed sores, or any other condition treatable by applying a substance.

In various aspects, the complementary items provided with the cleansing devices may be adapted to appeal to the specific category of user and/or purchaser to which the cleansing device is adapted, thereby creating a complementary kit.

In various aspects, a cleansing device may be adapted for children by providing images of one or more cartoon characters on the cleansing device, the package, or both. Likewise, the complementary item may include images of the same or related cartoon characters. For example, an image of a popular cartoon character may be depicted, via printing or other known means, on a cleansing device and/or a package containing cleansing devices. The cleansing device may further include one or more complementary items depicting an image of the same cartoon character.

In another aspect of the present invention, the retaining zone 70 may include more than one inclusion 75. In yet another aspect of the present invention, the inclusion 75 may be self-contained within a package, particularly if the inclusion 75 is liquid, semi-solid, or powdered, if the inclusion 75 may be affected by environmental conditions, or if more than one inclusion 75 needs to be maintained within the same proximity. Self-containing an object may be desirable for reasons, for example, of sterility, moisture retention, safety, light avoidance, air avoidance, and thermal stability. Self-containment may desirably maintain the efficacy of the object, such as, for example, perfumes, sunscreens, UV detectors, photo-activated compounds. As used herein, the term “self-contained” refers to objects that are encased in a package in addition to the material used in the cleansing device 10. For example, a shampoo would need to be contained within a moisture-impermeable package such as a poly pouch, a foil pouch, or a closeable poly container such that the shampoo does not leak out of the retaining zone 70.

In one aspect of the present invention, the inclusion 75 may be selected such that its design coordinates with the design scheme of the cleansing device 10. For example, if the cleansing device 10 is decorated with cartoon animals, the inclusion 75 may be a plastic cartoon animal tub toy matching the cleansing device design scheme. In another aspect of the present invention, the inclusion may be selected such that its function coordinates with the function of the cleansing device 10. For example, if the cleansing device 10 is intended for use in bathing a child, the inclusion 75 may be a pouch of gentle skin-friendly liquid soap.

In one aspect of the present invention, the inclusion system 60 may be disposed within the interior space 45 and coupled to one of the face and backing layers 15, 20. In another aspect of the present invention, the cleansing device 10 may include more than one inclusion system 60 disposed on one or both of the outer surface 40 and the interior space 45 of the cleansing device 10. In various aspects of the present invention, the one or more inclusion systems 25 may be located generally at any location on the outer surface 40 or in the interior space 45 of the cleansing device 10. In another aspect of the present invention, the inclusions system(s) 60 may be disposed within the interior space 45 without being coupled to the cleansing device 10.

In various other aspects of the present invention, the cleansing device 10 may contain additional layers or attachments as necessary to achieve the desired functional and/or aesthetic objectives of the designer. For example, additional layers may be added to create a cloth-like feel and/or to add elasticity and/or to alter vapor permeability and/or to alter liquid impermeability.

In another aspect of the present invention, the inclusion system 60 may be adapted to be removable from the cleansing device 10 without destroying the inclusion system 60 or the cleansing device 10. In this aspect, the inclusion system may include a pouch layer coupled to the retaining layer 80 such that the inclusion system 60 takes the form of a pouch. Such a pouch may be adapted to be removed from and attached to the cleansing device 10 by a manufacturer or by a user of the cleansing device 10. The inclusion system 60 may be made removable and attachable through the use of hook and loop, adhesives, or any other suitable mechanism. In still other aspects of the present invention, the inclusion system 60 may be adapted to be removable from the cleansing device 10 and/or may be adapted to be refilled with one or more objects and/or may be adapted to be rejoined to the cleansing device 10. The cleansing device 10 may be provided to a user along with an independent inclusion system 60 for the user to combine or use separately as appropriate.

In another aspect of the present invention, the cleansing device 10 does not include an inclusion system 60, but does include one or more inclusions 75 of any type discussed herein disposed within the interior space 45 of the cleansing device 10.

In another aspect of the present invention, the cleansing device 10 does not include an inclusion system 60, but does include one or more inclusions 75 of any type discussed herein affixed to the outer surface 40 of the cleansing device 10. The inclusion(s) 75 may be attached to the outer surface 40 using adhesive, by sewing, by ultrasonic bonding, or by any suitable means. In one exemplary aspect, at least one edge or portion of a pouch or packet may be affixed to the outer surface 40 or embedded or otherwise affixed at the seam 35 when the seam 35 is formed. Access to the contents of the pouch or packet may then be gained by tearing the pouch or packet away from the applicator 10, leaving the edge or portion affixed to the outer surface 40.

In another aspect of the present invention, the cleansing device 10 does not include an inclusion system 60, but does include one or more inclusions 75 of any type discussed herein. In this aspect, the one of the face and backing layers 15, 20 is constructed from a laminated, multi-layer material in which a portion of one of the layers is not laminated to another layer, leaving a space between the layers and within the laminated material. The one or more inclusions 75 are then disposed in that space.

By virtues of the design and materials chosen for the cleansing device 10, the cleansing device 10 may be designed to be disposable. In this case, disposable means that the cleansing device 10 is disposed of, rather than cleaned, after use. In another aspect of the present invention, the cleansing device 10 may be designed to be semi-disposable, meaning that the cleansing device 10 is disposed of after a small number of uses. In another aspect of the present invention, the cleansing device 10 may be designed to be durable, meaning that the cleansing device 10 is typically cleaned for re-use rather than being disposed of.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent to those skilled in the art in view of the following description and the accompanying drawings.

The invention has been described with reference to various specific and illustrative aspects of the present invention and techniques. However, it should be understood that many variations and modifications may be made while remaining within the spirit and scope of the invention. Many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing description. Accordingly, this invention is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications, and variations that fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.





 
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