Title:
TOILET CLEANING DEVICE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toilet cleaning device having a surface (7) which is deformable to conform to the shape of a surface to be cleaned. The deformable surface (7) is on a cleaning head (6) in the shape of a convex disc made of anti-bacterial rubber. The perimeter of the cleaning head (6) is surrounded by a scraping rim (8) to assist in the removal of stubborn marks. The deformable surface (7) of the cleaning head (6) may have a plurality of teat-shaped projections (10).



Inventors:
Buck, Spencer (North Somerset, GB)
Lamb, John (Wiltshire, GB)
Application Number:
12/252457
Publication Date:
10/15/2009
Filing Date:
10/16/2008
Assignee:
Taxi Studio Limited (Bristol, GB)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/210.1
International Classes:
E03D9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GUIDOTTI, LAURA COLE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Leason Ellis LLP (White Plains, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A toilet cleaning device comprising a handle attached to a cleaning head, the cleaning head comprising a resiliently deformable planar portion having a contact surface arranged to conform to the shape of a surface to be cleaned, wherein the contact surface comprises a plurality of integrally formed resiliently deformable projections.

2. A toilet cleaning device according to claim 1, wherein the deformable surface is integrally formed with the cleaning head.

3. A toilet cleaning device according to claim 1, wherein the cleaning head is paddle-shaped, disc-shaped or plate-shaped.

4. A toilet cleaning device according to claim 1, wherein the contact surface of the cleaning head is circular, oval or square and/or convex when the cleaning head is at rest.

5. A toilet cleaning device according to claim 1, wherein the cleaning head has a scraping rim around an edge thereof, the scraping rim being made from a less flexible material than the cleaning head.

6. A toilet cleaning device according to claim 5 having a rigid handle, wherein the scraping rim is formed by part of the handle projecting through the cleaning head.

7. A toilet cleaning device according to claim 1, wherein the cleaning head of the toilet cleaning device is made from anti-bacterial rubber.

8. A toilet cleaning device according to claim 1, wherein each of the projections includes one or more sub-projections on its surface to provide abutment regions for contacting a surface to be cleaned.

9. A toilet cleaning device according to claim 1, wherein the projections are teat-shaped.

10. A toilet cleaning device according to claim 1, wherein the cleaning head is flexibly attached to the handle in a tiltable manner to vary an angle between the deformable surface and the handle.

11. A toilet cleaning device according to claim 10, wherein the cleaning head is attached to the handle by a hinge, a bendable neck or a multi-directional, universally flexible joint, or a narrow collar between the cleaning head and the handle.

12. A kit comprising a toilet cleaning device according to claim 1 and a storage part.

13. A kit according to claim 12, wherein the storage part is a docking saucer having a recess arranged to receive the cleaning head of the toilet cleaning device.

14. A kit according to claim 13, wherein the docking saucer has a plurality of projections extending radially inwards from a top edge thereof to receive the cleaning head of the toilet cleaning device.

15. A kit according to claim 12, wherein the storage part is a suction cup or a hook.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a device for cleaning a toilet bowl and rim and for removing human waste therefrom.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

Conventional toilet brushes comprise a handle with an arrangement of bristles at one end and are made using a variety of moulding, assembly and manufacturing processes. These bristles can be scraped across the surface of the toilet bowl and under the rim of the toilet bowl to clean this surface and to remove human waste therefrom.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

At its most general, the present invention proposes a toilet cleaning device having a surface which is able to conform to the shape of a surface to be cleaned.

According to a first aspect of the invention, there may be provided a toilet cleaning device including a handle attached to a cleaning head having a deformable surface, which can conform to the shape of a surface to be cleaned. Therefore, when in use, the shape of the deformable surface can adapt to lie flat against the surface to be cleaned. In one embodiment of the invention, the surface of the cleaning head may be resiliently deformable. The handle may be made from a rigid material, e.g. plastic, wood or the like.

As the surface of the cleaning head is deformable, when the cleaning head is pushed against a surface to be cleaned, the deformable surface may conform to and follow the contours of a toilet bowl, such that when this surface is rubbed over an area to be cleaned, there may be continuous rubbing (e.g. frictional) contact between the surface of the cleaning head and the surface to be cleaned. This enables the toilet cleaning device to remove germs and/or detritus from a toilet bowl effectively, without the need for chemical-based cleaning products. Furthermore, as there are no openings or bristles on the surface of the cleaning head, this surface can provide a less favourable environment for growth of bacteria compared to conventional toilet brushes. The deformable surface may be integrally formed with the cleaning head so that there are no gaps in the deformable surface, which can reduce the growth of bacteria on the surface of the head. Another advantage of having no bristles is that toilet tissue and human waste can be displaced from the surface of the cleaning head by agitating the head in the water in the toilet bowl and/or by rubbing the head of the toilet cleaning device against the toilet bowl. This avoids the need for excess flushing of the toilet, which can waste water, or repeatedly striking the device against the side of the toilet bowl to remove tissue and/or human waste from the device.

The cleaning head may include a planar portion or may be paddle-shaped, disc-shaped or plate-shaped, so that it can fit under the rim of a toilet bowl. The deformable surface of the cleaning head may be any shape, including circular, oval or square. Further, the deformable surface of the cleaning head may be convex. This can help the deformable surface to conform to the shape of a surface to be cleaned (e.g. a toilet bowl).

The cleaning head may have a scraping rim around an edge thereof, which can assist in the removal of stubborn marks from the surface to be cleaned. This may be made from a stiffer (less flexible) material than the cleaning head. In one embodiment, the scraping rim may be formed by part of the handle projecting through the cleaning head, so that the handle material is exposed on the peripheral surface of the cleaning head. However, the scraping rim may be covered by the less stiff (softer) material of the deformable surface of the cleaning head.

The deformable surface of the cleaning head of the toilet cleaning device may be made from rubber. The term “rubber” includes rubber-like materials, which are resiliently deformable and water-proof, such as silicon- and polyurethane-based polymers, e.g. silicone rubbers. As rubber is water-proof and non-absorbent, water is repelled from the deformable surface. Therefore, the cleaning head does not retain water and dries quickly after use. This reduces the spread of water, human waste and potentially harmful bacteria outside the toilet bowl and therefore, the likelihood of a pool of water, which can provide a breeding ground for potentially harmful bacteria, accumulating in the base of a holder used to store the toilet cleaning device. In addition, the water repellent properties of the cleaning head means that it may not be essential to store the device in a holder. For example, as it does not retain water after use, it can be stored on a hook. Furthermore, the deformable nature of rubber means that it can conform to the shape of the toilet bowl, providing contact between the deformable surface of the cleaning head and the surface of the toilet bowl over the area to be cleaned.

The deformable surface of the cleaning head of the toilet cleaning device may be made from an anti-microbial material, which includes anti-bacterial materials, such as anti-bacterial rubber. Such anti-bacterial materials may use silver ion technology or may comprise a biocidal agent. This may reduce the growth of potentially harmful bacteria on the cleaning head of the device.

The deformable surface of the cleaning head of the toilet cleaning device may be smooth or textured e.g. rough. For example, the deformable surface may have a plurality of projections for contacting the surface to be cleaned to facilitate a cleaning action. The projections may be resiliently deformable. Each projection may include an abutment region for contacting the surface to be cleaned in use. During rubbing movement of the cleaning (deformable) surface relative to the surface to be cleaned, the applied pressure on the cleaning surface may cause each abutment region momentarily to remain stationary with respect to the surface to be cleaned while the rest of the cleaning surface moves. When the resilience of each projection overcomes the applied pressure force, the projection will slip relative to the surface to be cleaned. This slipping (stick and release) action may occur repeatedly as the cleaning surface is moved across the surface to be cleaned. The stick and release action may improve the cleaning ability of the device compared with a plain (non-textured) surface. The projections may have one or more further sub-projections on their surface. The projections may be teat-shaped.

The cleaning head of the toilet cleaning device may be flexibly attached to the handle. For example, it may be attached by a flexible joint. The flexible joint may permit variation of an angle between the handle and the cleaning head. For example, the cleaning head may be tiltable to vary an angle between the deformable surface and the handle. This flexibility may aid access of the cleaning head to awkward-to-reach locations. This flexible joint may be a hinge, a bendable neck or a multi-directional, universally flexible joint. The cleaning head may be attached to the handle by a flexible neck. The neck may be a narrow collar between the cleaning head and the handle. The flexible joint or neck may allow the cleaning head of the device to contact parts of the toilet bowl which are difficult to reach e.g. under the rim of the toilet bowl.

According to a second aspect of the invention, there may be provided a kit which includes a toilet cleaning device as described above and a storage part. The storage part may be a docking saucer, a suction cup or a hook. The docking saucer may include a recess arranged to receive the cleaning head. Projections on the surface of the cleaning head may introduce a gap between the docking saucer and the cleaning head to permit circulation of air around the cleaning head to aid drying of the device and to reduce any moisture, which can promote the growth of bacteria. The toilet cleaning device may also be stored on a hook or a suction cup, which allows it to be stored off the floor and concealed from view.

The toilet cleaning device may be manufactured by bi-injection. This can facilitate the generation of the desired combination of flexibility, rubber-like texture, rigidity and hygiene, as well as being economically favourable. Preferably, two anti-bacterial polymer derived materials are used, which results in a watertight one-piece structure, thereby helping to reduce the accumulation and growth of germs or bacteria on the device following use. Various other methods may also be used to make the toilet cleaning device, including mono-injection. Bi- and mono-injection may be followed by the steps of insert moulding and assembly.

These and other features, aspects and advantages will be apparent from the accompanying Drawing Figures and description of certain embodiments of the invention, including optional features and preferences.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

An embodiment of the invention will now be described in detail, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a toilet cleaning device which is an embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 2(a) and (b) are side views of the toilet cleaning device of FIG. 1 in a rest and deformed configuration respectively;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged side view of projections on the deformable surface of the cleaning head of the toilet cleaning device of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 4(a) and (b) are side views of the toilet cleaning device of FIG. 1 in use to clean under the rim of a toilet bowl;

FIG. 5 is a top view of the toilet cleaning device of FIG. 1 mounted on a first docking saucer;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the first docking saucer for storing the toilet cleaning device of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a top view of the toilet cleaning device of FIG. 1 mounted on a second docking saucer; and

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the second docking saucer for storing the toilet cleaning device of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF CERTAIN EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows the structure of one embodiment of a toilet cleaning device 1 according to the invention. In this embodiment, the toilet cleaning device has a rigid handle 2 with a grip 4 for a user to hold. The handle 2 is attached to a cleaning head 6, with a deformable surface 7. The cleaning head 6 is a convex disc and is made of anti-bacterial rubber. The perimeter of the cleaning head 6 is surrounded by a scraping rim 8 to assist in the removal of stubborn marks. The deformable surface 7 of the cleaning head 6 has a plurality of projections 10 of two different sizes arranged in a regular pattern. In use, a user holds the grip 4 and rubs the cleaning head 6 across a surface to cleaned, while applying downward pressure on the deformable surface 7.

FIGS. 2(a) and 2(b) show the toilet cleaning device 1 in use to clean a toilet bowl. When in use, a user holds the grip 4 on the handle 2 of the device 1 and brings the cleaning head 6 into contact with a surface to be cleaned e.g. the surface of a toilet bowl 9. As can be seen in FIG. 2(b), when the user applies a downward force on the cleaning head 6, the applied pressure causes the deformable surface 7 to conform to the shape of the surface of the toilet bowl 9 and to follow its contours. This allows continuous contact between the deformable surface 7 of the cleaning head 6 and the surface to be cleaned while the cleaning head 6 is rubbed over this surface, thereby promoting effective cleaning of the surface of a toilet bowl 9 e.g. due to the frictional forces between the relatively moving surfaces.

FIG. 3 shows the projections 10 on the deformable surface 7 of the cleaning head 6. Each projection 10 has a further sub-projection 12, so that it is teat-shaped. This sub-projection 12 provides an abutment region 13 for contacting a surface to be cleaned e.g. the surface of a toilet bowl 9. During the rubbing movement of the deformable surface 7 relative to the surface of the toilet bowl 9, the applied pressure on the deformable surface 7 may cause the abutment region 13 momentarily to remain stationary with respect to the surface of the toilet bowl 9 while the rest of the cleaning head 6 moves. This results in the projection 10 adopting a deformed configuration, as indicated by the dotted line 14 or the dashed line 16. Whether the projection 10 adopts the configuration shown by the dotted line 14 or the dashed line 16 depends on the direction of movement of the cleaning head 6; if the cleaning head 6 is rubbed across the surface of the toilet bowl 9 from left to right, each projection 10 in contact with the surface 9 will adopt the configuration indicated by the dotted line 14 whereas, if the cleaning head 6 is rubbed across the surface from right to left, each projection 10 in contact with the surface 9 will adopt the configuration indicated by the dashed line 16. When the resilience of each projection 10 overcomes the applied pressure force, the projection 10 will slip relative to the surface of the toilet bowl 9. This slipping (stick and release) action may occur repeatedly as the deformable surface 7 of the cleaning head 6 is moved across the surface of the toilet bowl 9. The stick and release action may improve the cleaning ability of the device 1 compared with a plain (non-textured) surface. As the projections 10 are rubbed over a surface to be cleaned, they produce a squeaking sound when their abutment regions 13 are moved relative to the surface to be cleaned e.g. the surface of a toilet bowl 9.

As shown in FIGS. 4(a) and (b), the cleaning head 6 is flexibly attached to the handle 2 by a narrow neck 18. Therefore, the cleaning head 6 is tiltable to vary the angle θ between the cleaning head 6 and the handle 2. This allows the user to keep the deformable surface 7 of the cleaning head 6 in contact with the surface of the toilet bowl 9 regardless of the angle of the handle 2, so that the cleaning head 6 can reach different parts of the toilet bowl 9. For example, as shown in FIG. 4a, the flexibility of the narrow neck 18 allows the deformable surface 7 of the cleaning head 6 to clean under the rim 20 of the toilet bowl 9. This ability is also achieved by the cleaning head 6 being disc-shaped. Furthermore, as the cleaning head 6 and the narrow neck 18 are formed as one-piece, there are no gaps to promote growth of bacteria between the cleaning head 6 and the handle 2.

The cleaning head 6 of the toilet cleaning device 1 is semi-rigid and in combination with the disc shape of the cleaning head 6, this facilitates self-standing of the device 1 in a simple docking saucer 22 for storage on the floor, as shown in FIG. 5. The docking saucer 22 is a cylindrical block with a concave recess 24, which is adapted to receive the cleaning head 6 of the device 1. Accordingly, the contours of the concave recess 24 are designed to conform to the shape of the cleaning head 6 at rest. As shown in FIG. 6, the internal contours of the concave recess 24 of the docking saucer 22 are adapted to receive the cleaning head 6, whilst also being smooth, which can aid cleaning.

In another embodiment, the cleaning head 6 or the docking saucer 2 may be adapted to introduce a gap to permit circulation of air around the cleaning head 6. In one example this may be achieved using the projections 10 on the deformable surface 7 of the cleaning head 6. Another example is shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, where a number (in this case four) projections 26 extend radially inwards from the inside top edge of the docking saucer 22. As shown in FIG. 7, the projections 26 extend in a manner to receiving thereon the stiff scraping rim 8.

In this example the inner surface 24 of the docking surface need not conform to the deformable surface 7 of the cleaning head 6. Instead the saucer 22 has an annular configuration, which may further promote the flow of air around the deformable surface. This aids drying of the device and reduces the presence of moisture during storage, which can promote the growth of harmful bacteria.

Elements of one embodiment disclosed herein can be used in connection with another embodiment with equal advantage, and the foregoing description is intended to encompass such variations.

While the invention has been described in connection with certain embodiments thereof, the invention is capable of being practiced in other forms and using other materials and structures. Accordingly, the invention is defined by the recitations in the claims appended hereto and equivalents thereof.