Title:
Cleaning related apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a cleaning related apparatus comprising a first compartment for holding a fluid, a filter element communicating with said first compartment, a pump means communicating with said filter means having the ability to draw fluid through the filter and return fluid to said first compartment, and an energy source connected to said pump means providing means to power said pump.



Inventors:
Caminiti, Anthony (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/451049
Publication Date:
01/29/2009
Filing Date:
06/12/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
POPOVICS, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICE OF MAI VU PARE (Long Beach, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A cleaning related apparatus comprising: an exterior housing; a first compartment for holding a fluid; a filter element communicating with said first compartment; a pump means communicating with said filter means having the ability to draw fluid through the filter and return fluid to said first compartment; and an energy source connected to said pump means providing means to power said pump.

2. The cleaning related apparatus of claim 1 wherein said energy source comprises a 12 volt marine battery.

3. The cleaning related apparatus of claim 1 wherein said energy source comprises a 120 volt AC adaptor.

4. The cleaning related apparatus of claim 1 wherein said pump means comprises a 12 volt pump having a 1200 gallon hour capability.

5. The cleaning related apparatus of claim 1 wherein said first compartment further comprises a drain means.

6. The cleaning related apparatus of claim 1 wherein said exterior housing of the apparatus is constructed from injection molded plastic.

7. The cleaning related apparatus of claim 1 wherein said exterior housing of the apparatus is constructed from fiberglass.

8. The cleaning related apparatus of claim 1 wherein said apparatus comprises multiple casters on a bottom surface.

9. The cleaning related apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a reserve tank communicating with said receptacle means.

10. The cleaning related apparatus of claim 1 wherein said exterior housing further comprises a bumper.

11. The cleaning related apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a skimmer for removing larger debris and particles.

12. The cleaning apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a ringer means for removing excess fluid from a cleaning instrument.

13. A cleaning bucket comprising: a first compartment for storing liquid; a filter element located in a second compartment; a pump having the ability to draw liquid from said first compartment into said filter element and return liquid from said second compartment back into said first compartment; and an energy source communicating with said pump having the ability to power said pump.

14. The cleaning bucket of claim 13 wherein the energy source comprises of a 12 volt marine battery.

15. The cleaning bucket of claim 13 wherein the energy source comprises of a 120 volt AC adaptor.

16. The cleaning bucket of claim 13 wherein said pump comprises a 12 volt pump having a 1200 gallon hour capability.

17. The cleaning bucket of claim 13 wherein said bucket further comprises a drain.

18. The cleaning bucket of claim 13 wherein the exterior housing of the bucket is constructed from injection molded plastic.

19. The cleaning bucket of claim 13 wherein the exterior housing of the bucket is constructed from fiberglass.

20. The cleaning bucket of claim 13 wherein a bottom surface comprises multiple casters.

21. The cleaning bucket of claim 13 further comprising a reserve tank communicating with said first compartment.

22. The cleaning bucket of claim 13 wherein said exterior housing further comprises a bumper.

23. The cleaning bucket of claim 13 further comprising a skimmer for removing larger debris and particles.

24. The cleaning bucket of claim 13 further comprising a ringer means to remove excess liquid from a cleaning instrument.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of cleaning accessories and devices. Specifically, the present invention teaches a novel cleaning container for use with a cleaning tool such as a mop or sponge. The invention improves the efficiency and cleanliness of mopping tasks.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

Cleaning tasks such as mopping or sponging surfaces often involves the use of a receptacle such as a bucket for holding water and cleaning solutions. Typically a user will submerge a mop or sponge in a bucket filled with cleaning solution, remove excess solution by squeezing or wringing the mop or sponge, and apply the mop or sponge to the surface to be cleaned. Repetitive, mopping motions are applied to the surface until additional solution is needed or the mop or sponge is saturated with dirt and debris. Then the user will re-submerge the sponge or mop into the bucket and repeat the process.

One of the shortcomings of this method is that frequent changing of the cleaning solution in the bucket is needed to clean effectively. If not, dirt, oil, and debris will accumulate to a level in which the surfaces being cleaned may actually become dirtier with application of the solution. Depending on the condition of the surface to be cleaned, more frequent changing may be needed, such as in hospitals or restaurants, where high levels of hygiene are required to protect human health and safety.

An additional disadvantage of this prior art method is the large volume of water and cleaning agents needed to effectively clean even a medium sized space. This is due to the requirement of frequent changes of water and solution for effective cleaning. This shortcoming has a particularly negative impact in arid regions where water is a precious resource. The environmental impacts are also negative, as a result of the solutions and detergents that can enter natural water sources. The environmental impact and costs associated with prior art methods have resulted in the need for a better method of cleaning surfaces.

Prior art devices have attempted to address the above shortcomings, however none have satisfactorily resolved the above shortcomings. U.S. Pat. No. 4,798,307 titled “Compartmented Cleaning Bucket” teaches a cleaning bucket that is separated into two compartments that are in communication with one another. The bottom portion of the bucket is sloped downward so that one compartment is positioned on the top of the slope and a second compartment is positioned at the bottom of the slope.

The user places a dirty mop in the compartment at the top of the slope. The configuration is intended to allow larger particles to follow the force of gravity and move downwards until the particles are in the second compartment, located at the bottom of the slope. A shortcoming of this apparatus is that the system does not separate lipids and grease that are located at the surface of the stored liquid. Also, the particles that are separated need to be relatively large, since the force of gravity is reduced when particles are suspended in liquid.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,279,195 titled “Ergonomic Mop Bucket Method and Apparatus” teaches a mopping bucket containing two compartments in communication with one another. A filter is incorporated in the bucket. The filter is not mechanized however, and only serves as a passive barrier to which large particles cannot pass. Sufficient time is needed for the dirty liquid to passively cross the filter for purification. Because it is desirable to have the ability to perform cleaning tasks quickly, the passive barrier can take too much time, and the user may not find sufficient clean solution when needed.

In view of the above shortcomings of the prior art, it is an object of the present invention to teach a cleaning container system that provides an environmentally friendly method of cleaning a surface.

It is another object of the present invention to teach a cleaning container system that provides clean solution without frequent changes of solution.

It is another object of the present invention to quickly provide purified cleaning solution that has been previously used to clean a surface.

The present invention addresses the above shortcomings of the prior art and teaches an environmentally friendly, mechanized cleaning container. The apparatus mechanically filters cleaning solution so that a set volume of cleaning solution can be repeatedly used, while still effectively cleaning a surface.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side planar view of the present invention, showing the internal components of the apparatus.

FIG. 2 is a top planar view of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a top planar view of a filter element of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a side planar view of the present invention. The internal elements of the apparatus are shown in dashed lines. The apparatus 1 comprises an exterior housing 2. The housing 2 may be constructed from injection molded plastic, fiberglass, metal or any other durable material impermeable to damage from liquids. The exterior housing may form a hollowed out portion, creating a first compartment 3 in which cleaning solution and/or water can be contained. In the preferred embodiment, the exterior housing may have a roughly rectangular structure having dimensions of approximately 30 inches by 18 inches.

The external housing 2 of the apparatus may possess multiple casters 4, for easy transport of the apparatus from one room, to another. Because the apparatus may hold large volumes of solution, the casters 4 greatly ease the task of transporting the apparatus from one area to another, especially when filled with solution. The casters may be constructed from rubber or soft plastic, so as to prevent damage to surfaces due to the weight of the apparatus and solution. The external housing may also comprise a bumper 5 constructed from rubber or soft plastic. The bumper may span the side perimeter of the apparatus. In the event the apparatus is inadvertently pushed into a wall or structure, the bumper 5 may prevent any damage to the wall, structure, or apparatus from occurring.

An overview of the mechanism of the apparatus is as follows: concealed within the housing is a pump 6, a filter element 7, an output port 8, a return port 9, a marine battery 13 and a reserve tank. The first compartment is in communication with the filter element through an output port 8 and a return port 9. The pump used in the preferred embodiment is well known in the art and is often used in settings such as artificial ponds or aquariums.

The pump 6 comprises means to create a vacuum that results in the movement of solution from the first compartment 3, through the output port 8. From the output port, solution enters the filter element 7, where dirt, grease, and debris are trapped in a filter 19. The pump continues to draw solution through the filter element 7 and back to the first compartment 3 via the return port. By the time the solution reaches the return port, it has been purified of any debris, grease, and particles. The pump feature of the present invention allows for the rapid circulation of solution and enables the solution to be actively and continuously filtered.

A reserve tank 10 is provided to add additional solution or water to the system. A valve and passage means 11 is provided between the reserve tank 10 and the first compartment 3 so that the quantity of fluid entering the first compartment from the reserve tank may be controlled. Solution is gradually removed from the first compartment 3 as a surface is being cleaned. In the event the solution levels are too low in the first compartment, solution or water can be released from the reserve tank into the first compartment. The solution or water from the reserve tank will then join the filtered solution. The reserve tank may be accessed through an opening 12 in the exterior housing and removed from the apparatus, so that it can be refilled separately.

Referring to FIG. 2, a top planar view of the apparatus is shown. The concealed components of the apparatus are indicated with dashed lines. The filter element 7, reserve tank 10, and pump 6 are placed in close proximity to one another. The components are adjacent to the first compartment 3. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the pump uses a 12-volt power source and has a 1200 gallon per hour capability. A 12 volt marine battery 13 may be used to power the pump. The marine battery may be of a rechargeable or standard alkaline variety. Alternatively, a 120 volt AC adaptor may power the apparatus.

An on/off switch 14 is provided to open or close the battery current, providing means for the user to power the pump 6. In the preferred mode of use, the user keeps the pump powered on for as long as a cleaning task is being performed. This keeps the apparatus continually filtering the solution contained in the first compartment. As a user cleans an area, each submersion of a mop or sponge in the first compartment results in the deposit of dirt, oil, and grease in the solution. Leaving the pump powered on allows for the constant circulation and filtering of solution. This ensures that clean solution is available on demand while a user performs a cleaning task.

As the user continually submerges a sponge or mop in solution to clean a surface, solution will be gradually removed from the first compartment. The reserve tank 10 may be provided to hold additional solution or water and may be used to replenish any used solution. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the reserve tank 10 may contain 1.5 gallons. A valve means 11 is provided from the reserve tank to the first compartment to allow for the addition of liquid from the reserve tank into the first compartment.

The apparatus may comprise a ringer slot 15, which is known in the field. The ringer slot may be comprised of a compartment in which opposing panels 16 are joined by springs. Means are provided so that the panels may be compressed towards one another. A user may place a mop or sponge in the slot and said means to move opposing panels towards each other may be applied. Excess liquid is eliminated from the mop or sponge. Such devices are routinely provided in accessory devices for industrial cleaning buckets.

The first compartment may further comprise a skimmer device 17 to remove large particles or debris from the solution. Said skimmer devices are also known in the art. The skimmer device in the present invention is comprised of a mesh material that is impervious to damage from liquids. The skimmer device 17 may be configured so that even when inserted in the first compartment, a mop or sponge may still be submerged into the solution contained in the first compartment.

The first compartment may comprise a drain 18. Solution contained in the first compartment may be removed by release of the drain. This allows a user to empty the apparatus of solution without having to upturn the entire apparatus. Because the apparatus may hold large volumes of liquid, it can be heavy when containing solution at maximum capacity. The drain 18 greatly facilitates the ability for the user to empty the apparatus of solution.

Referring to FIG. 3, a top planar view of the filter element is illustrated. The filter element 7 of the present invention includes a filter 19 made up of multiple panels of filter material 20. The panels are tightly compressed and prevent the passage of debris, grease, and particles. The filter material 20 is porous and while preventing the passage of debris, grease, and particles, the passage of solution is allowed. The filter may be housed in a second compartment 21, to contain the solution. The multiple panels of filter material may provide a total surface area of 25 square feet. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the filter is disposable and may be conveniently discarded and replaced. Alternatively, the filter may be constructed from durable material and removed and cleaned for repeated use.

In summary, the present invention is a novel, inventive cleaning container, intended to improve the efficiency of mopping and cleaning tasks. With respect to the above description, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function, manner and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, while still falling within the scope of the invention.





 
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