Title:
Apparatus for Compacting Laundry in a Top-Loading Washing Machine
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A laundry tool for compacting laundry loaded in a top-filling washing machine has a handle, an elongated body and a compaction head. The compaction head is hemispheric in shape with the concave opening of the hemisphere opening outwardly from the elongated body. Slits in the compaction head communicate between the concavity and the outside of the hemispheric compaction head so that during compaction of laundry in a washing machine filling with water, water captured in the concavity is directed outward when compaction is effected.



Inventors:
Ramseur, Roswell A. (Richmond, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/681502
Publication Date:
09/06/2007
Filing Date:
03/02/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
D06C7/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
STINSON, FRANKIE L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GOODMAN ALLEN DONNELLY PLLC (GLEN ALLEN, VA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A laundry tool comprising a handle, an elongated body, and a compaction head, said elongated body having a first and second end, said first end connected to said handle and said second end connected to said compaction head.

2. The laundry tool of claim 1 wherein said compaction head comprises a hemisphere, said hemisphere having a concave opening, said compaction head being connected to said second end of said elongated body so that said concave opening opens outwardly from said elongated body.

3. The laundry tool of claim 2 wherein said compaction head comprises at least one slit permitting water to communicate outwardly from the concavity formed by the concave opening of said compaction head.

4. The laundry tool of claim 2 wherein said compaction head comprises a plurality of slits permitting water to communicate outwardly from the concavity formed by the concave opening of said compaction head, said slits being arranged around the circumference of the compaction head such that the arc formed by each slit lies in a plane perpendicular to the long axis of the elongated body.

5. The laundry tool of claim 3 or claim 4 wherein said compaction head has a diameter of less than four inches.

6. The laundry tool of claim 3, claim 4, claim 5 or claim 6 wherein said elongated body has a length of at least twelve inches.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority from a provisional patent application, U.S. Ser. No. 60/778,820 filed Mar. 3, 2006.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The present invention regards a tool for compacting laundry, including clothing, linens, towels and other textiles, which have been loaded in a top-loading washing machine which enables the user to conveniently and safely compact laundry items even though the washer may be filling with hot water and laundry products, such as detergents, bleach and dyes.

2. Background of the Invention

Top-loading washing machines are common in the United States. Such machines comprise a top lid which may be opened to access a drum into which textiles may be arranged for cleaning, The center of the drum typically includes an agitator. The agitator may be comprised of plastic arms extending a short distance from a vertical center axle.

When dry laundry is loaded into a top-loading washing machine, the clothing often resists being compacted by reason of the natural resiliency of the fabric. However, once the clothing becomes wet the articles may more readily be compacted into the annular area between the inner surface of the drum and the agitator. Thus, once the washing machine begins filling, it is often necessary and efficient to compact the clothing in order to allow the launderer to add additional items for washing.

Additionally, many laundry processes require the addition of ingredients to be added to the laundry during the initial wash cycle and often through the top. For example, detergent, bleach and dye may be added to the washing machine during the initial wash cycle. These may be added directly into the water filling the drum by the launderer or via a delivery apparatus integrated into washing machine. If one or more of these ingredients are to be added it is often preferential that all of the clothing be compacted and submerged under the water in the drum before the substance is added in order that the additive is properly dissolved in the wash water and does not directly adhere to a dry laundry item.

Finally, while a launderer may sometimes accomplish compaction by simply reaching into the drum area and pressing down on the clothing, often the water filling the drum is heated sufficiently that it could cause a scalding injury. It is also often undesirable to reach into the filling drum because it would require the launderer or clothing worn by the launderer to come in contact with the water or the ingredients added to water such as detergent, bleach and dye.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore it is the object of the present invention to provide an apparatus in the nature of a laundry tool which allows a launderer to conveniently and safely compact laundry that has been added to a filling top-loading washing machine. It is also an object of the invention to provide a laundry aid which, when applied for compaction, avoids splashing or spraying water upward toward the user.

These and other objects are accomplished by the laundry tool which is disclosed. The tool comprises a handle, an elongated body and a compaction head. The compaction head is preferentially shaped as a hollowed hemisphere and is attached to the elongated body such that the open concavity of the hemisphere is directed away from the elongated body. Slits are provided on the compaction head which allow water which may be trapped in the concavity during compaction to escape outwardly from the interior of the concavity.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other benefits and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following descriptions and accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective side view of a preferred embodiment of the laundry compaction tool according to the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIG. 1, a laundry compaction tool is shown according to the invention. The tool is preferentially made of any non-resilient, non-soluble material. Thus, the tool may be conveniently made of plastics, including HDPE, wood or metal. As shown in FIG. 1, the tool comprises a handle (1), and elongated body (2) and a compaction head (3). The handle may take a variety of forms, but is conveniently formed in the shaped of an equilateral triangle, the base of which may be gripped by the user and the legs of which extend from each end of the grip to an apex joined with one end of the elongated body (2). The elongated body (2) is of sufficient length to permit the compaction head (3) to reach the bottom of a top-loading washing machine drum when the tool is used and such that the handle extends above the top water level of the washing machine drum. An elongated body twelve or more inches in length is preferred.

The compaction head (3) is hemispheric in shape and is attached to the elongated body (2) at the end opposite the handle (1) and such that the concavity of the hemisphere extends away from the elongated body (2). The diameter of the hemisphere is sufficiently small to permit the compaction head to be inserted between the inner wall of the washing machine drum and the central agitator. Preferentially, the diameter of the hemisphere is less than four inches.

The hemispheric compaction head includes a plurality of slits (4) allowing water to communicate from inside the concavity outward. The slits (4) are arranged along the circumference of the compaction head (3) such that the arc formed by each slit lies in a plane perpendicular to the long axis of the elongated body (2).

In use, the launderer grasps the handle and inserts the tool into the drum of the washing machine pressing down on the laundry loaded in the drum until the laundry is completely submerged and compacted. As the laundry is compacted, water captured in the concavity of the compaction head is directed outwardly through the slits. In this way, water and other laundry additives therein, such as detergent, bleach or dye, do not splash upwardly toward the user. When the laundry is sufficiently compacted, the user may add additional laundry and repeat the compaction.