Title:
Dry cleaning bag
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A reusable dry cleaning bag is provided having a dual purpose as a hanging garment cover and a tote bag. The dry cleaning bag is configured to have a plurality of panels that are connected to form the hanging garment cover having a closed end and an open end. A pair of straps is positioned along an axis of the panels. The hanging garment cover is converted to a tote bag by folding the bottom half of the garment cover at the axis to overlap with the top half of the garment cover.



Inventors:
Foley, Ann (Willowbrook, IL, US)
Application Number:
12/459890
Publication Date:
01/14/2010
Filing Date:
07/09/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
383/6, 383/106, 206/292
International Classes:
B65D85/18; B65D33/04; B65D33/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COLLADO, CYNTHIA FRANCISCA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VEDDER PRICE P.C. (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A reusable dry cleaning bag comprising: a plurality of panels operably connected to form a garment cover having an open end and a substantially closed end, the garment cover having an exterior portion and an interior portion; an axis defining a top half and a bottom half of the garment cover; wherein the garment cover is converted to a tote bag by folding the bottom half of the garment cover at the axis to overlap with the top half of the garment cover.

2. The bag of claim 1, wherein the axis is located along the mid-region of the garment cover.

3. The bag of claim 1, wherein a gripping device is secured at or around the axis.

4. The bag of claim 3, wherein the gripping device is positioned on the exterior portion of the garment cover.

5. The bag of claim 3, wherein the gripping device is positioned on the interior portion of the garment cover.

6. The bag of claim 1, wherein the gripping device comprises a pair of straps, a pair of handles or a drawstring.

7. The bag of claim 1, wherein the closed end of the garment cover has a slit for receiving hanger hooks.

8. The bag of claim 1, wherein a transparent window is located on the garment cover.

9. The bag of claim 1, wherein the garment cover defines a first configuration in which clean clothes are housed.

10. The bag of claim 9, wherein the tote bag defines a second configuration in which soiled clothes are housed.

11. The bag of claim 10, wherein the bottom half of the garment cover is folded over to completely overlap the top half of the garment cover such that the soiled clothes and clean clothes do not touch the same panels of the bag.

12. The bag of claim 1, wherein a pocket is positioned on the exterior of the garment bag.

13. The bag of claim 1, wherein a zipper is located along an L-axis of the garment cover.

14. The bag of claim 1, wherein a fastening device is located along the open end of the garment cover.

15. The bag of claim 14, wherein the fastening device is a drawstring, snaps, buttons, ties or Velcro®.

16. A reusable dry cleaning bag comprising: a plurality of panels operably connected to form a garment cover having an open end and a closed end, the garment cover having an exterior portion and an interior portion; an axis to define a top half and a bottom half of the garment cover; a first strap secured on an exterior portion of the garment cover at or around the axis on a first panel and a second strap secured on the exterior portion of the garment cover at or around the axis on a second panel; wherein the garment cover is converted to a tote bag by folding the bottom half of the garment cover at the axis to completely cover the interior top half of the garment cover.

17. A reusable dry cleaning bag comprising: a garment cover defining a first configuration capable of housing clean clothing; a tote bag defining a second configuration capable of housing soiled clothing; wherein when the garment cover is converted into a tote bag the soiled clothing and clean clothing do not touch a same surface of the bag.

18. The bag of claim 17, wherein when the garment cover is converted into a tote bag, a bottom half of the garment cover is folded over to completely cover an interior portion of a top half of the garment cover.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/134,621 filed Jul. 10, 2008, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. Priority to this application is claimed under 35 U.S.C. §§119 and/or 120.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to dry cleaning bags, more particularly, to an environmentally sound dual purpose reusable dry cleaning bag capable of transforming from a hanging garment cover to a tote bag.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Global awareness of environmental issues is greater than ever in today's society. People are becoming increasingly conscious of methods of disposing of trash and waste in an attempt to reduce the amount of landfill waste and pollution. Recycling offers one solution to the waste problem by encouraging people to recycle products such as paper, bottles, and cans. A growing number of retailers, such as grocery stores are going “green” by offering customers alternatives to plastic and paper bags and replacing them with reusable cloth bags.

Dry cleaning establishments are also looking to provide services that are more environmentally sound. Efforts are being made to encourage dry cleaning customers to collect and recycle plastic dry cleaning bags, and return them to the dry cleaner. The dry cleaner is then responsible for recycling the plastic dry cleaning bags. Unfortunately, not everyone disposes of plastic dry cleaning bags properly, which can result in the bags clogging sewers or gutters, getting caught in trees and other things, and killing precious wildlife when animals get entangled in the plastic. The need to properly dispose of plastic dry cleaning bags is just one part of the problem, and in fact a large amount of pollution is generated when the plastic bags are manufactured. Harmful by-products consisting of gas emissions and pollutants are generated when extracting and refining petroleum or natural gas for plastic bags. Consequently, the most optimal solution is to completely eliminate the need for plastic dry cleaning bags, and replacing them with reusable dry cleaning bags.

While dry cleaning bags according to the prior art provide a number of advantageous features, they nevertheless have certain limitations. The present invention is provided to solve the problems discussed above and other problems, and to provide advantages and aspects not provided by prior dry cleaning bags. A full discussion of the features and advantages of the present invention is deferred to the following detailed description, which proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides for a reusable dry cleaning bag. The dry cleaning bag can be readily converted from a hanging garment cover to a tote bag. The dry cleaning bag has a plurality of panels operably connected along respective peripheral edges to form a hanging garment cover with a body cavity. The garment cover has an open end and a substantially closed end. The closed end of the garment cover has a slit for receiving hanger hooks. A pair of straps is secured on the exterior or interior portion of the garment cover along an axis. The axis defines a top half and a bottom half of the plurality of panels. The garment cover is adapted to be converted into a tote bag by folding the bottom half of the garment cover at the axis to overlap with the top half of the garment cover.

In another embodiment, the present invention discloses a reusable dry cleaning bag comprising a garment cover that defines a first configuration which is capable of housing clean clothing. A tote bag is disclosed that defines a second configuration which is capable of housing soiled clothing. When the garment cover is converted into a tote bag the soiled clothing and the clean clothing do not touch the same surface.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following specification taken in conjunction with the following drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

To understand the present invention, it will now be described by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view schematic of a dry cleaning bag of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is front view schematic of a dry cleaning bag in a first configuration in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view schematic of a dry cleaning bag in a second configuration in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a front view schematic of a dry cleaning bag in a second configuration of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view schematic of a garment cover of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a front view schematic of a garment cover in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a front view schematic of the dry cleaning bag converting from a first configuration to a second configuration in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view schematic of an alternate embodiment of a dry cleaning bag in a first configuration in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a front view schematic of an alternate embodiment of a garment cover in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view schematic of an alternate embodiment of a tote bag in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a front view schematic of an alternate embodiment of a dry cleaning bag in a second configuration in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 12 is a front view schematic of an alternate embodiment of a dry cleaning bag converting from a first configuration to a second configuration in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view schematic of an alternate embodiment of a dry cleaning bag in the first configuration in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 14 is a front view schematic of an alternate embodiment of a garment cover in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view schematic of an alternate embodiment of a dry cleaning bag in the second configuration in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 16 is a front view schematic of an alternate embodiment of a tote bag in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

While this invention is susceptible of embodiments in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated.

The dry cleaning bag of the present invention is intended to eliminate the use of plastics bags during the dry cleaning process. The present invention offers a reusable bag wherein a tote bag is used to carry soiled garments or clothing to the dry cleaners, and is then converted into a protective hanging garment cover in order to transport newly dry cleaned items home from the dry cleaners. Accordingly, the present invention offers consumers a single, environmentally sound, laundry bag for carrying items to and from the dry cleaners.

FIGS. 1-16 show the dry cleaning bag of the present invention, generally designated with reference numeral 10, used in a first configuration 12 and transforming into a second configuration 14. The dry cleaning bag 10 is designed to be a reusable dry cleaning garment cover and tote bag, wherein the first configuration 12 operates as a hanging garment cover 16 for protecting recently dry cleaned garments or clothing, and the second configuration 14 operates as a tote bag 18 for transporting soiled garments or clothing to the dry cleaners.

As shown in FIGS. 1, 5, 8 and 13, the bag 10 generally has a first panel 20, a second panel 22, a first side panel 24, a second side panel 26, and a base panel 28. The base panel 28 has a slit or opening 27 for receiving the hook portion of a hanger. FIGS. 1, 5, 8 and 13 show the first panel 20 joined to the first side panel 24 along one peripheral edge, and the first panel 20 joined to the second side panel 26 along another peripheral edge. Similarly, the second panel 22 is joined to the first side panel 24 along one peripheral edge, and the second panel 22 is joined to the second side panel 24 along another peripheral edge. The base panel 28 is joined along its peripheral edge to each edge of the first panel 20, the second panel 22, the first side panel 24 and the second side panel 26, as shown in FIGS. 1, 5, 8 and 13. The aforementioned panels are joined in a manner to form a closed end 32 and an open end 34, as shown in FIGS. 1, 5, 8 and 13. The panels of the present invention may be joined by methods known in the art, such as but not limited to sewing, stitching, adhesion, or lamination.

In one embodiment, the five segments—the first panel 20, the second panel 22, the first side panel 24, the second side panel 26, and the base panel 28—are operably connected to define a cavity 30 of the hanging garment cover 16 for receiving hanging garments or clothing. Depending on the dimensions of the panels, particularly the dimensions of the side panels 24 and 26, the volume capacity of the cavity 30 can be increased or decreased. For example, the hanging garment cover 16 may be 40″ long, 26″ wide, 5″ deep, with the straps being 21″ in length. As discussed in further detail below, the volume capacity of the hanging garment cavity 30 is generally twice the proportion of the volume capacity of the of the tote bag cavity 50. Consequently, the present invention contemplates bags of varying dimensions and sizes depending on a user's needs.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the first panel 20 and the second panel 22 can be directly joined along a periphery forming a closed end 32 and an open end 34, as described above. The closed end 32 has a slit 27 for receiving hanger hooks. In this alternate embodiment, the need for side panels 24, 26 and a base panel 28 are eliminated thereby reducing production costs for materials and assembly.

FIGS. 8-10 show the configuration of the first and second panels 20 and 22 as generally rectangular in shape. In another embodiment, the first and second panels 20 and 22 have a generally curved or triangular shape at the closed end 32 to adequately receive a hanger. Additionally, it is possible to contour the bottom of the bag so it is angled to fit longer garments such as dresses. It is understood that a number of different shapes and configurations may be utilized when constructing the panel sections of the bag 10 depending on the desired end use.

Illustrated in FIGS. 1-16 is are gripping devices 36 for the bag 10 that operate as shoulder straps, handles or a cinchable mechanism for the tote bag 18 when the bag is in the second configuration 14. The gripping devices may comprise a pair of straps, a pair of handles or a drawstring. In one embodiment, each of the straps 36 has a first end 40 and a second end 42. Both the first panel 20 and the second panel 22 have a respective interior portion 20a and 22a, and an exterior portion 20b and 22b, depending on whether the bag 10 is in the first configuration 12 or the second configuration 14. For example, in the first configuration 12 the exterior portions 20b and 22b are located on the outside of the hanging garment bag. Therefore, when the bag 10 is in the first configuration 12, the straps 36 are positioned on the exterior portion 20b and 22b of the panels 20 and 22, as shown in FIGS. 1-7. The first end 40 and the second end 42 of each strap 36 are secured to the exterior panel portions 20b and 22b at or around the axis 44, which may be located midway or halfway down the exterior panels 20b and 22b, as illustrated in FIG. 2. The axis 44 of panels 20 and 22 defines a top half 46 and a bottom half 48 of the panels. In an alternative embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 8-16, the straps are positioned on the interior portion 20a and 22a of the panels 20 and 22 at or around axis 44.

The positioning and location of the straps is a significant feature of the present invention, and contributes to the bag being readily transformed from the hanging garment cover 16 to the tote bag 18. Consequently, the present invention teaches attaching the strap ends 40 and 42 in a manner so that when the bag 10 is in the first configuration 12, the length L of the straps 36 falls or sags to the open end 34 of the garment cover 16, as shown in FIGS. 1, 2, 5 and 6. In one embodiment of the present invention, the straps 36 are positioned generally near the mid-region axis 44 of the panels 20 and 22. In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the straps 36 may be shifted along a vertical plane of the panels 20 and 22 so the straps 36 are higher or lower than the mid-region axis 44 of the panels 20 and 22. The discussion below explains how the positioning of the straps, relative to the mid-region axis 44, affects the volume capacity of the tote bag.

When the bag 10 is in the first configuration 12, the hanging garment cover 16 has a closed end 32 and an open end 34, as described above. As shown in FIG. 7, in one embodiment in which the straps 36 are positioned on the exterior panels 20b and 22b, when converting the bag 10 from the first configuration 12 to the second configuration 14, a user simply pulls the straps 36 apart and folds the bottom half panels 48 toward the interior of the garment cover 16 to fold over and overlap the top panels 46 to form the tote bag 18 of the second configuration 14. A significant advantage of the present invention is that the bottom half panels 48 may be folded to completely cover the interior top panels 46, thereby ensuring that the soiled and clean clothing never touch the same surface of the bag, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. Yet another advantage is the ease at which a user can manipulate the bag between the two different configurations since the bag 10 can be can be transformed from the first configuration 12 to the second configuration 14 with just one hand. In FIG. 7 the bottom half panel 48 can be folded toward the interior of the tote bag 18, and in FIG. 12 the bottom panels can be folded toward the exterior of the tote bag 18. In the second configuration 14, straps function as hand or shoulder straps for a user, as seen in FIGS. 4, 10 and 15. Referring to FIG. 3, 10 and 15 in the second configuration 14, the top halves of the panels 46 and the base panel 28 form the walls and the bottom of the tote bag 18, and the bottom half panels 48 either fold over to the exterior or interior of the tote bag 18. In order to return the tote bag 18 back to the garment cover 16, the folded bottom half panels 48 are simply pulled up. The process of converting the bag 10 from the first configuration 12 to the second configuration 14 is depicted in FIGS. 7 and 12.

In the tote bag 18 configuration, the straps 36 are maintained either on the interior panels 20a and 22a or the exterior panels 20b and 22b. When the straps 36 are positioned along the mid-region axis 44 of the panels 20 and 22, the tote bag 18 has a tote bag cavity 50 that is approximately 50% the volume capacity of the garment bag cavity 30. For example, in one embodiment, the hanging garment cover 16 is about 41″ long, and when it is converted into a tote bag, the tote bag 18 is about 23″ long. It therefore follows that if the straps are positioned off-center from the mid-region axis 44, and onto the bottom half panel 48, then the volume capacity of the tote bag cavity 50 will increase. If the straps are positioned off-center from the mid-region axis 44, and onto the top half panel 46, then the volume capacity of the tote bag cavity 50 will decrease. While the present invention contemplates a number of different embodiments, the preferred embodiment of the present invention positions the straps 36 along the mid-region axis 44 in order for optimal comfort and weight distribution when a user is carrying items in the tote bag configuration.

While the general structure of the laundry bag is discussed above with reference to certain embodiments, modifications may be made to the bag by those skilled in the art. For example, the panels and seams of the bag may be constructed from high strength, durable wovens or non-wovens that are waterproof and can withstand resistance to dry cleaning solvents. Other possible materials for constructing the bag may include nylon, polyester, cotton/canvas blends, rayon and/or other breathable materials. Additionally, the textiles used in the present invention can be made of environmentally sound materials such as hemp, organic cotton blends, or polypropylene. Most importantly, the present invention offers a reusable bag that eliminates the need for plastic dry cleaning bags.

Certain features can be added to customize the bag 10 according to a user's needs. For example, a transparent window 54 can be placed on the exterior panels 20 or 22 to allow individuals to readily identify their clothing when they pick them up at the dry cleaners. A pocket 58 may also be placed on the exterior panels 20 or 22 for a user to place their dry cleaning slip or other form of identification.

Additionally, zippers, snaps, Velcro®, hooks or other fasteners known in the art can be inserted into the laundry bag at various locations. For example, a Velcro® strip may be placed by the slit 27 in order to close the opening when the bag is in the tote bag configuration to ensure that no items slip through the opening. A fastening device 52 may be placed along the peripheral edge of the open end 34 of the hanging garment cover 16 so it can be securely closed to prevent newly dry cleaned garments from touching the ground and getting dirty. Alternatively, a fastening means may be placed along the interior panels to securely close the open portion of the tote bag 18 to prevent articles from falling out. Furthermore, a zipper may be positioned along an L-axis 60 of the garment cover to allow a user to readily access their clean clothing. It is further understood that the hanging garment bag can be used to store garments for a longer term, and the tote bag can be used as a general purpose tote bag or shopping bag as well.

While the specific embodiments have been illustrated and described, numerous modifications come to mind without significantly departing from the spirit of the invention.