Title:
SCOURING PAD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The Present Invention is a class of pads used for both cleaning and scouring. The pad has one or more usable faces and may have one or more unusable faces. Alternatively, all faces of the pad may be usable. The pad is sized conveniently to fit into the palm of a person's hand. The usable faces are also sized to enable manual washing of dishes, scouring of pots and pans, and cleaning of surfaces. Each usable face comprises a plurality of diverse materials. At least one of these materials is sponge-like, and at least one of these materials is suitable for use in scrubbing or scouring. However, all of these materials are on the same usable face. The user does not have to turn the pad over to access one material in place of another. All washing, cleaning, scrubbing, and scouring may be accomplished from contact with a single face of the pad.



Inventors:
Wahi, Ashok (Hillsborough, NJ, US)
Application Number:
12/343488
Publication Date:
04/30/2009
Filing Date:
12/24/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/229.11
International Classes:
A47L13/10
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
BERRY, STEPHANIE R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STANLEY H. KREMEN (EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A manufactured article for use in washing, cleaning, scrubbing, and scouring surfaces, said manufactured article comprising faces further comprising at least one usable face, wherein: a) each of said at least one usable face has a surface area with dimensions, and each of said at least one usable face comprises a plurality of materials in a configuration, and each of the plurality of materials further comprises a surface area with dimensions; b) on at least one usable face, at least one of said plurality of materials is a sponge-like material that is soft and absorbs liquids and is adapted for use as a household sponge; c) at least one of said plurality of materials is harder or more abrasive than the sponge-like material and is adapted for use in scrubbing or scouring; d) the dimensions of the surface area of every material of the plurality of materials is of sufficient size to enable it to be effectively used for washing, cleaning, scrubbing or scouring surfaces; e) the dimensions of the surface area of said at least one usable face are of the order of the size of an adult human hand; and, f) the shape and size of the manufactured article permits it fit into the user's palm.

2. The manufactured article of claim 1 wherein one dimension of said at least one usable face is a width that ranges between 2 inches and 5 inches, and another dimension is a length that ranges between 2 inches and 8 inches.

3. The manufactured article of claim 1 comprising only one usable face.

4. The manufactured article of claim 1 comprising more than one usable face.

5. The manufactured article of claim 4 wherein the configuration of the plurality of materials on every usable face is the same.

6. The manufactured article of claim 4 wherein the configuration of the plurality of materials on a usable face is different from the configuration of the plurality of materials on another usable face.

7. The manufactured article of claim 1 wherein the shape of said at least one usable face is rectangular, circular, elliptical, or oval.

8. The manufactured article of claim 1 being in the shape of a familiar object.

9. The manufactured article of claim 1 wherein the each of the materials comprising the at least one usable face is taken from the group consisting of natural sponge, cellulose, silicone, polyurethane foam, nylon strands, nylon fibers, artificial turf, steel wool, and bronze wool.

10. The manufactured article of claim 1 wherein each of the plurality of materials that comprise the at least one usable face has a desired shape and size that may be different from any other of the plurality of materials that comprise the at least one usable face.

11. The manufactured article of claim 1 comprising two halves that are joined together and affixed to each other.

12. The manufactured article of claim 1 having an elastic band affixed to the face opposite a usable face, configured in such a way as to accommodate insertion of the user's hand wherein the back of the user's hand is in contact with the elastic band, and the palm of the user's hand is in contact with the face of the manufactured article that is opposite the usable face.

13. The manufactured article of claim 1 having a handle affixed to the face opposite a usable face.

14. The manufactured article of claim 1 having solid soap or liquid detergent embedded therein.

15. The manufactured article of claim 1 wherein solid soap or liquid detergent can be inserted by the user as desired.

16. The manufactured article of claim 1 wherein all faces are usable.

17. The manufactured article of claim 1 further comprising at least one unusable face.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

Sponges have been used for washing dishes and cleaning surfaces for many decades. These dead rudimentary sea animals are able to retain large amounts of water. If the water is mixed with soap or detergent, a sponge filled with this mixture can be used effectively to remove food from dishes or dirt from household surfaces. Sometime around the 1950s, synthetic sponge pads made from silicone or polyurethane foam became available. Some were fabricated from natural cellulose. Usually, these sponges were rectangular or oval shaped, and sized to fit in the palm of one's hand. But, the shape is less important than the size. These pads are as efficient for cleaning as their natural sponge counterparts, and their shapes are more convenient for cleaning purposes.

However, not all foodstuff or other grime is removable with such a pad. It is difficult to use sponge pads to remove baked-on food from pots and pans. Teflon® (a brand of tetrafluoroethylene manufactured by Dupont) non-stick coatings make it easier to remove baked-on foods with a sponge pad. These coatings do not always work perfectly, and they wear with age. Prior to the use of Teflon®, steel wool was used to scour pots and pans as well as dishes with caked-on foodstuff. Steel wool is a bundle of strands of very fine soft carbon steel filaments. Steel wool works well for this purpose. It is highly abrasive, and it removes baked-on foods easily. But, steel wool rusts easily, and people would often get steel wool splinters that would enter the bloodstream and cause nasty infections. Steel can also discolor some materials. Bronze wool is a bundle of very fine bronze filaments, used in finishing and repair work to polish wood or metal objects. Bronze wool is similar to steel wool, but is used in its place to avoid some problems associated with broken filaments. Bronze wool is easier to use than steel wool, but like steel wool, it is sometimes too abrasive. Mineral wool, also known as mineral fibers or man-made mineral fibers are fibers made from natural or synthetic minerals or metal oxides. Synthetic scouring pads are often used today for scouring pots and pans and for removing tough foodstuff from dirty dishes.

Composite cleaning/scouring pads came into use where a scouring pad is affixed to a synthetic sponge with adhesive. This type of pad has six faces, two of which are useable. One useable face consists of a scouring pad, and the other consists of a synthetic sponge. So, the sponge face is used to gently clean dishes and other surfaces, while the scouring face is used to remove caked-on particles. When a person washes dishes, he or she uses the sponge face where gentle rubbing is desired, and then turns over the pad to the scouring face when more abrasive action is desired. This action of turning the pad from face to face is undesirable, cumbersome, annoying, and time consuming. The two useable faces have the largest scrubbing areas and are the same for both faces. The other four faces are unusable because they are two small to wash dishes and because the faces comprise both materials. They are not efficient for gentle cleaning or scouring. FIG. 1 (a through e) shows a portion of just such a composite cleaning/scouring pad. FIG. 1(a) is a perspective view of the prior art device. Note the scouring material 2 affixed to synthetic sponge material 1. FIG. 1(b) is a top plan view showing the scouring face comprising the scouring material 2. FIG. 1(c) is a front elevational view showing an unusable face. FIG. 1(d) is a side elevational view showing another unusable face. These faces are unusable because they are too small, and they comprise two diverse materials in an unusable configuration. FIG. 1(e) is a bottom plan view showing the sponge face comprising the sponge material 1. A typical composite pad is disclosed in U.S. Design Pat. No. D406,681 issued to Kelly, et. al. on Mar. 9, 1999. Except for its rhomboidal shape, it is the same as described in FIG. 1. Yet another example is U.S. Design Pat. No. D533,316 issued to Poizeau on Oct. 16, 2007. A particularly novel pad of this type is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,609,431 issued to Carroll on Mar. 11, 1997, and particularly shown in FIG. 10, therein. Here, the inventor affixed AstroTurf® (short pile nylon strands affixed to an elastic backing) onto a polyurethane foam sponge. AstroTurf® is a registered trademark of Monsanto. The short nylon fibers forming the scouring face in this pad are particularly useful for removing caked-on particles and yet non-abrasive.

Examples of some of the products currently available are:

BrandManufacturerDescriptionDimensions
Scotch-Brite ™3MDobie Cleaning Pad4.3″ × 2.6″ × 0.5″
Ultra Nail-Saver Scrub Sponge
Scotch-Brite ™3MClean Rinse2.1″ × 3.7″ × 1.3″
Scotch-Brite ™3MEasy Erasing Pad5.1″ × 2.8″ × 1.2″
Ultra-Nail Saver Scrub Sponge
Scotch-Brite ™3MMulti-Purpose2.1″ × 3.7″ × 1.3″
Scotch-Brite ™3MClean Rinse Scrubber4.7″ × 2.9″ × 0.6″
o-cel-o ™3MHeavy Duty Scrub Sponge3.7″ × 2.6″ × 0.8″
S.O.S. ®The Clorox Co.Extra Thick Scrubber Sponge4.5″ × 2.5″ × 0.9″
Quickie ®Quickie Mfg. Corp.Cellulose Sponge4.5″ × 2.7″ × 0.7″
Erase Away ™Rite-AidCleaning Pad4.6″ × 2.4″ × 1.0″
TargetTargetScrubber4.5″ × 2.8″ × 0.7″
3M3MHeavy Duty Scrub Sponge4.5″ × 2.8″ × 0.6″
TURN-A-BOUT ™TesArden LLCCleaning Pad4.6″ × 3.1″ × 1.0″

The TURN-A-BOUT™ Cleaning Pad is a polyurethane sponge wrapped in nylon mesh with a Turkish Towel fabric type backing. Apparently, the sponge side is more efficient for scouring while the towel side is more efficient for washing. The above example products are fabricated from differing materials. The Scotch-Brite™ Ultra Nail Saver “Clean Rinse” and “Multi-Purpose” products comprise an abrasive scrubber (different for each product) and a sponge both affixed to and separated by a one-inch thick conveniently shaped polystyrene layer. The Scotch-Brite™ Clean Rinse Scrubber comprises two fabric pads sewn together to form a single pad. One face (the sponge side) entirely consists of a fabric material while the other face (the scouring side) entirely consists of a fabric having tiny plastic protrusions arranged in a matrix and approximately 1 mm apart. A typical pad of this type is described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,240,760 issued to Levine on Dec. 23, 1980. U.S. Pat. No. 6,485,822 issued to Osiecki, et. al. on Nov. 26, 2002 discloses a composite scrubber/sponge arranged linearly in such a manner as to become a conventional scouring/sponge pad when folded over on itself. One side will be a scrubber, and the other side will be a sponge. U.S. Pat. No. 7,020,927 issued to Cavillo on Apr. 4, 2006 discloses a similar device.

Note the dimensions of the pads described above. Their lengths range from 2.1 to 4.6 inches; their widths range from 2.4 to 3.7 inches; and their depths (the unusable faces) range from 0.5 to 1.3 inches. These faces are unusable because the sponge and scouring materials are on the same face and the faces are too small to either clean or scour. The sponge and the scouring materials interfere with each other. The two usable faces are sized to conveniently fit in a person's palm or to be held conveniently while washing dishes.

It is well known in the art to adapt these pads to hold soap within. In the early days, steel wool could be purchased with embedded soap. Modern pads either come with soap inside or have pockets into which soap can be inserted. It is also well known in the art to place handles on the pads. Also, strap materials have been used into which a person's hand may be inserted. The strap contacts the back of the hand while the usable part of the pad makes contact with the palm.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

As previously mentioned, it is inefficient, inconvenient and annoying to have to turn a pad over from the cleaning side to the scouring side and then back to the cleaning side while washing a single dish or pot. The Present Invention combines a plurality of materials on the same usable face so that the pad need not be turned over. At a minimum, two materials are used—a sponge and a scouring material on the same face. However, a convenient embodiment uses multiple scouring materials to work on easier-to-remove and harder-to-remove particles. Using a highly abrasive scouring material on easier-to-remove particles can leave scratch marks on the surface to be cleaned. However, using a less abrasive scouring material on harder-to-remove particles will result on the surface not being cleaned. The Present Invention solves these problems.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a composite scouring/cleaning sponge pad similar to those currently on the market.

FIG. 1(a) represents a perspective view.

FIG. 1(b) is a top plan view.

FIG. 1(c) is a front elevation.

FIG. 1(d) is a side elevation.

FIG. 1(e) is a bottom plan view.

FIG. 2 illustrates a first embodiment of the scouring/cleaning pad of the Present Invention.

FIG. 2(a) is a top plan view.

FIG. 2(b) is a front elevation.

FIG. 2(c) is a bottom plan view.

FIG. 3 illustrates a second embodiment of the scouring/cleaning pad of the Present Invention.

FIG. 3(a) is a top plan view.

FIG. 3(b) is a front elevation.

FIG. 3(c) is a bottom plan view.

FIG. 4 illustrates a third embodiment of the scouring/cleaning pad of the Present Invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a fourth embodiment of the scouring/cleaning pad of the Present Invention that incorporates an elastic band within which a person's hand may be inserted.

FIG. 5(a) is a top plan view.

FIG. 5(b) is a front elevation.

FIG. 6 is a set of cross-sectional views of a fifth embodiment of the scouring/cleaning pad of the Present Invention that incorporates soap or liquid detergent within.

FIG. 6(a) is a top plan cross-sectional view.

FIG. 6(b) is a front elevational cross-sectional view.

FIG. 7 is an isometric view of a sixth embodiment of the scouring/cleaning pad wherein all of the faces are usable.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED AND ALTERNATE EMBODIMENTS

The Present Invention is a pad that comprises two or more materials. At least one of the materials is sponge-like. For the purposes of this Present Application, the Applicant intends to be his own lexicographer. The definition of sponge-like as used herein means any material (including a natural sponge) that absorbs liquids, and releases those liquids upon the application of pressure. Sponge-like materials comprise all of the household “sponges” made from synthetic or other natural materials. The remaining material(s) comprises material(s) suitable for scouring/scrubbing. The pad absorbs water either with or without soap or detergent. The pad is designed for cleaning dishes, pots, pans, and kitchen utensils, but it may have other uses such as cleaning other surfaces. The pad has convenient dimensions so as to facilitate being held in a person's palm as it is used. It is therefore a composite pad similar to those of the prior art. As with the prior art, one version of the composite pad of the Present Invention comprises two usable faces. However, the difference between the Present Invention and the prior art is that the plurality of materials all appear on at least one of the usable faces. A usable face is defined as a surface of the pad large enough to be used manually for the task of cleaning and scouring. Generally, their lengths range from 2 to 8 inches; and their widths range from 2 to 5 inches, but larger or smaller sizes may be employed for specific user needs. The usable faces are large enough to accommodate the plurality of materials so that the user can discriminate and select which material to use for cleaning or scouring.

The First Embodiment of the Present Invention is an example of just such a pad. FIG. 2 shows how this pad would look and operate. This embodiment comprises two different materials. One-half of the pad is a scrubbing material 3 and the other half is a sponge-like material 4. The composite pad is fabricated from a pad of scrubbing material and a sponge-like pad. Both pads have the same width dimension. The two pads are joined together at one of the unusable faces with an adhesive. Of course, this is an example of how the composite pad may be fabricated. If one looks at the pad from the top (FIG. 2(a)) and from the bottom (FIG. 2(c)), both faces are identical. FIG. 2(b) illustrates how the pad would appear when looking at one of the unusable faces. The other rear unusable face is identical. However, the unusable face to the right of the drawing would reveal only a sponge-like material, while the unusable face to the left of the drawing would reveal only scrubbing material.

The Second Embodiment is similar to the first, with a slight difference. In the First Embodiment, both the top and bottom usable faces are identical. In the Second Embodiment, they are mirror images of each other. FIG. 3 shows the Second Embodiment. Referring to FIG. 3(a), looking at the top face of the pad, scrubbing material 3 is on the left, while sponge-like material 4 is on the right. However, referring to FIG. 3(c), looking at the bottom face of the pad, scrubbing material 3 is on the right, while sponge-like material 4 is on the left. The pad of the Second Embodiment is fabricated from two prior art composite sponge-like pads. They have the same width dimension. These prior art pads have a top face made from scrubbing material and a bottom face made of synthetic sponge-like material. To create the pad of the Second Embodiment of the Present Invention, merely turn one of the prior art composite pads upside down (so that the bottom face is now on top), and join the two pads at an unusable face with adhesive. This construction can be deduced from FIG. 3(b).

FIGS. 2 and 3 show the First and Second Embodiments of the Present Invention comprising two different materials (a sponge-like material and a single scrubbing material) configured in a rectangular shape. Clearly, the shape of the pad need not be restricted to this configuration. The only limitation is the size of the usable face(s). It must be large enough to be conveniently held in the hand while washing dishes. If the face is too small or too large, it is not usable. The pad may be cut to a circular, elliptical, oval, polygonal or any other desired shape. It may have the shape of an animal or an automobile. Furthermore, although the drawings show two usable faces, only one usable face is actually required. This might be the case where the pad is shaped as an automobile. In that case, the only usable face would be the bottom of the vehicle. Therefore, as will be seen in FIG. 5, since only one usable face is required, a band or plastic handle may be incorporated into the structure of one of the two usable faces. The device may also have the shape of a glove into which the hand of a person is inserted.

FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a Third Embodiment of the pad of the Present Invention. Here, not only can the shape of the pad itself vary, but so also can the shapes of the plurality of materials. In the drawing, pad 10 has an elliptical shape, and it comprises four different materials on a usable face. The largest surface is the sponge-like material 4. Cleaning is accomplished by a person applying pressure at the center of the palm. However, the pad also comprises three different types of scrubbing materials that are conveniently placed. The example shown in FIG. 4 is a left-handed pad. The viewer is looking at the bottom usable face. Scrubbing material 3 is positioned so that pressure may be applied by the tips of four fingers of a person's hand. Scrubbing material 5 is controlled by the palm at the outside end of the hand. Scrubbing material 6 is controlled by applying pressure at the trapezium that is connected to the thumb. Clearly, not only can the shape of the pad of this embodiment vary, but also the shapes of the materials used can vary as can their placement on the usable face.

FIG. 5 illustrates a Fourth Embodiment of the pad of the Present Invention. Here the pad 10 takes the shape of an ellipsoid. An elastic band 7 is affixed to the top usable face, thereby rendering it unusable. However, a persons hand may be inserted between the elastic band and the top face. Now, the person must no longer grasp the pad tightly to prevent it from getting away. The usable face is only the bottom face. FIG. 5(a) shows a top plan view of pad 10, while FIG. 5(b) shows a front elevational view of the pad. In this case, a seam is shown in FIG. 5(b).

FIG. 6 shows cross-sectional views of a Fifth Embodiment of the pad of the Present Invention. Here, once again, the pad 10 is in the shape of an ellipsoid, but it is not limited to this shape. The primary feature of this embodiment is the internal bar of soap or liquid detergent dispenser 8 that is embedded within the pad. The utility of this configuration is apparent to anyone skilled in the art. FIG. 6(a) is a top plan center-cut cross-section, and FIG. 6(b) is a front elevational center-cut cross-section. This embodiment may take one of two configurations. Either the pad when sold can have the soap already embedded, or the pad may contain a pocket into which a user may insert the soap. Of course, if a liquid detergent dispenser is used instead of a bar of soap, the dispenser may or may not be refillable as desired.

FIG. 7 is an isometric view of a Sixth Embodiment of the pad of the Present Invention. Here, all faces are usable. There are no unusable faces. As shown in the figure, the pad has a cubic shape. This is but an example, as the pad may have a miriad of shapes. Each face of the composite pad of the Sixth Embodiment comprises a plurality of materials. However, the pad must have at least one sponge-like material. In the figure, pad 11 comprises six faces of which three are visible. Element 12 is a sponge-like material. Elements 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 are different scrubbing, scouring, or cleaning materials.

All of the aforementioned embodiments of the pads of the Present Invention share the following common characteristics.

At least one usable face comprises a plurality of materials where at least one of those materials is sponge-like that may be used for gentle cleaning, and where at least one of those materials is harder and more abrasive so as to be used for scrubbing or scouring.

The pad is conveniently sized to fit in the palm of a person's hand.

Only one usable face is required. That face has convenient dimensions.

The user does not have to turn the pad over to a second usable face while washing dishes or cleaning surfaces.





 
Previous Patent: Painting tool

Next Patent: Applicator Device