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Publication numberUS20040134016 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/340,691
Publication dateJul 15, 2004
Filing dateJan 10, 2003
Priority dateJan 10, 2003
Also published asCN1764409A, CN100586357C, DE602004027795D1, EP2229865A2, EP2229865A3, EP2229865B1, US7048804, US20040139572
Publication number10340691, 340691, US 2004/0134016 A1, US 2004/134016 A1, US 20040134016 A1, US 20040134016A1, US 2004134016 A1, US 2004134016A1, US-A1-20040134016, US-A1-2004134016, US2004/0134016A1, US2004/134016A1, US20040134016 A1, US20040134016A1, US2004134016 A1, US2004134016A1
InventorsDavid Kisela, Richard Farone, Steven Waldron, Michael Wright, Craig Saunders, Jeffrey Kalman, Lindsey Tufts
Original AssigneeRoyal Appliance Manufacturing Company
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Suction wet jet mop
US 20040134016 A1
Abstract
A cleaning device (10, 300, 380, 390, 400, 500) includes a handle assembly (14). A cleaning head (12, 312, 512) is pivotally mounted to the handle assembly (14). The cleaning head selectively holds a cleaning pad (70, 70′) for collecting dust and debris from a surface to be cleaned. A suction nozzle (18, 338, 408, 518) is carried by the cleaning head. A dirt collecting receptacle (208, 336, 410) is mounted to the housing and is in fluid communication with the suction nozzle and a suction fan and motor assembly (30). At least one spray nozzle (22, 24, 332, 406, 560) is disposed on one of the suction nozzle and the cleaning head. A liquid delivery system (90) delivers a cleaning fluid to the at least one spray nozzle. At least a portion of the liquid delivery system is mounted on the handle assembly.
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Claims(54)
Having thus described the preferred embodiments, the invention is now claimed to be:
1. A cleaning device comprising:
a handle assembly;
a cleaning head pivotally attached to a first end of said handle assembly and configured for receiving a replaceable cleaning pad for collecting dirt from a floor surface to be cleaned;
a spray nozzle mounted on one of said cleaning head and said handle assembly for delivering a cleaning fluid to a floor surface to be cleaned;
a liquid delivery system which delivers cleaning fluid to said spray nozzle, at least a portion of said liquid delivery system being carried by said handle assembly;
a suction nozzle carried by said cleaning head;
a dirt collection assembly for collecting dirt and in fluid communication with said suction nozzle, said dirt collection assembly being carried by said handle assembly; and
a source of suction, carried by said handle assembly and fluidly connected with said dirt collection assembly, for creating a flow of working air which draws dirt from said suction nozzle into said dirt collection assembly.
2. The cleaning device of claim 1, wherein said dirt collection assembly includes a dirt cup which is removably mounted on said handle assembly.
3. The cleaning device of claim 1, wherein the suction nozzle is pivotably mounted to said cleaning head.
4. The cleaning device of claim 1, wherein the suction nozzle is movable between a floor suctioning position, in which the suction nozzle is positioned adjacent the floor surface to be cleaned and a retracted position, in which the suction nozzle is positioned away from the floor surface.
5. The cleaning device of claim 1, wherein the liquid delivery system includes a fluid supply pump.
6. The cleaning device of claim 1, further including a switch which is movable between a first position, for selectively actuating said source of suction, and a second position.
7. The cleaning device of claim 6, wherein when said switch is in said second position, the flow of working air is stopped and the liquid delivery system is actuated.
8. The cleaning device of claim 6, wherein said switch is movable to an intermediate position between said first and second positions.
9. The cleaning device of claim 8, wherein said switch is biased to said intermediate position.
10. The cleaning device of claim 1, further comprising:
a multiple axis joint which interconnects said cleaning head and said handle assembly.
11. The cleaning device of claim 1, wherein said cleaning head has a substantially flat lower surface.
12. The cleaning device of claim 11, wherein said cleaning pad is selectively mounted to said lower surface.
13. The cleaning device of claim 11, wherein said spray nozzle is attached to an upper surface of said cleaning head.
14. The cleaning device of claim 1, wherein said handle assembly includes an elongate handle and a housing mounted to said handle, said housing defining said first end of the handle assembly and defining a socket for selectively receiving said dirt collection assembly.
15. A cleaning device comprising:
a housing;
a suction fan and motor assembly mounted to said housing;
a cleaning head pivotally mounted to said housing, said cleaning head selectively holding a cleaning pad for collecting dust and debris from a surface to be cleaned;
a suction nozzle carried by said cleaning head;
a dirt collecting receptacle mounted to said housing and in fluid communication with said suction nozzle and said suction fan and motor assembly;
at least one spray nozzle disposed on one of said suction nozzle and said cleaning head; and
a liquid delivery system for delivering a cleaning fluid to said at least one spray nozzle, wherein at least a portion of said liquid delivery system is mounted on said housing.
16. The cleaning device of claim 15, further comprising a conduit extending between said suction nozzle and said dirt collecting receptacle.
17. The cleaning device of claim 16, wherein said conduit comprises a flexible hose.
18. The cleaning device of claim 15, wherein said dirt collecting receptacle comprises a dirt cup.
19. The cleaning device of claim 18, further comprising a latch for selectively securing said dirt cup to said housing.
20. The cleaning device of claim 18, wherein said dirt cup comprises an inlet and an outlet, wherein said inlet communicates with an outlet of said suction nozzle and said dirt cup outlet communicates with an inlet of said suction fan and motor assembly.
21. The cleaning device of claim 18, further comprising a filter detachably mounted to said dirt cup.
22. The cleaning device of claim 15, wherein said cleaning head is substantially rectangular with a generally flat bottom surface.
23. The cleaning device of claim 15, wherein said cleaning head is pivotably connected to said housing via a universal joint.
24. The cleaning device of claim 15, wherein said suction fan and motor are powered by an alternating current via a power cord.
25. The cleaning device of claim 15, further comprising at least one battery mounted to said housing for powering said suction fan and motor.
26. The cleaning device of claim 15, wherein said cleaning head comprises a bottom surface including at least one securing member for securing said cleaning pad to said cleaning head.
27. The cleaning device of claim 15, wherein said cleaning head includes a generally rectangular support plate, said support plate being pivotally connected with said housing and carrying said spray nozzle and said suction nozzle on an upper surface thereof.
28. The cleaning device of claim 15, wherein the suction nozzle is movable between a suctioning position, in which said suction nozzle is positioned adjacent to a surface to be cleaned, and a retracted position, in which said suction nozzle is spaced away from said surface.
29. The cleaning device of claim 28, further including a biasing mechanism for biasing said suction nozzle to said retracted position.
30. The cleaning device of claim 29, wherein said biasing mechanism includes a spring.
31. The cleaning device of claim 28, further including a latch for selectively restraining said suction nozzle in the suctioning position.
32. The cleaning device of claim 15, further comprising a handle mounted to said housing.
33. The cleaning device of claim 32, further comprising a switch located on said handle for controlling an actuation of at least one of said suction fan and motor assembly and said fluid distribution system.
34. The cleaning device of claim 33, wherein said switch has a first position in which said suction fan and motor assembly is actuated and said fluid delivery system is disabled and a second position in which said fluid delivery system is actuated and said suction fan and motor assembly is disabled.
35. A cleaning device comprising:
a cleaning head selectively holding a cleaning pad;
a handle for directing said cleaning head along a surface to be cleaned;
a housing mounted to at least one of said handle and said cleaning head;
a suction fan and motor assembly mounted to said housing;
a dirt collecting receptacle mounted to said housing;
a suction nozzle fluidly connected with said dirt collecting receptacle; and
a liquid delivery system mounted to at least one of said housing and said suction nozzle for delivering a cleaning solution to the surface to be cleaned.
36. The cleaning device of claim 35, wherein said dirt collecting receptacle comprises a dirt cup.
37. The cleaning device of claim 35, wherein said housing is selectively secured to said handle via at least one clip.
38. The cleaning device of claim 35, wherein said cleaning head is pivotally connected to said handle via a universal joint.
39. The cleaning device of claim 35, further comprising a switch for alternatively actuating said suction fan and motor assembly and said liquid delivery system.
40. The cleaning device of claim 35, wherein said suction nozzle is removably secured to said cleaning head via at least one clip.
41. A cleaning device comprising:
a housing;
a suction nozzle communicating with said housing;
a suction fan and motor assembly mounted to said housing;
a dirt collecting receptacle mounted to said housing and in fluid communication with said suction nozzle and said suction fan and motor assembly;
a liquid delivery system mounted to said housing for delivering a cleaning solution to a surface to be cleaned;
a handle mounted to said housing for grasping to move said cleaning device along the surface to be cleaned;
a switch for actuating at least one of said suction fan and motor assembly and said liquid delivery system; and
a cleaning head pivotally mounted to said housing, said cleaning head selectively holding a cleaning pad for collecting dust and debris from a surface to be cleaned.
42. The cleaning device of claim 41, wherein said switch is located on said handle.
43. The cleaning device of claim 41, wherein said suction fan and motor assembly are operated only while said switch is moved to a first position.
44. The cleaning device of claim 43, wherein said liquid delivery system is operated only while said switch is moved to a second position.
45. The cleaning device of claim 44, wherein the fluid delivery system includes a pump which is actuated by said switch in said second position.
46. The cleaning device of claim 44, wherein said switch is biased to a third, off, position between said first and second positions.
47. A cleaning device having two separate and distinct modes of operation, wherein a first mode of operation comprises suctioning debris from a surface to be cleaned, and a second mode of operation comprises application of a cleaning liquid to the surface, a cleaning pad being used to collect dirty cleaning liquid and dust and debris from the surface to be cleaned, said cleaning device comprising:
a housing;
a suction fan and motor assembly mounted to said housing;
a dirt collecting receptacle mounted to said housing;
a suction nozzle fluidly connected with said suction fan and motor assembly and said dirt collecting receptacle for performing said first mode of operation;
a liquid delivery system mounted at least in part to said housing for delivering a cleaning liquid to the surface during said second mode of operation; and,
a cleaning head pivotally mounted to said housing, said cleaning head selectively holding said cleaning pad used during said second mode of operation.
48. The cleaning device of claim 47, wherein said two modes of operation are mutually exclusive.
49. A cleaning device having a liquid delivery system for cleaning a surface, comprising:
an elongate handle assembly having first and second ends;
a cleaning head pivotally mounted to said first end of said handle assembly;
a cleaning pad mounted to said cleaning head for collecting dirty cleaning liquid and dust and debris from a surface to be cleaned;
a spray nozzle for spraying liquid from said liquid delivery system in a first cleaning mode, said spray nozzle being mounted to said cleaning head;
a suction nozzle carried by one of said cleaning head and said elongate handle assembly and pivotable between a first position, in which the nozzle is located adjacent the surface to be cleaned in a second cleaning mode, and a second position, in which the nozzle is spaced away from the surface to be cleaned.
50. The cleaning device of claim 49, wherein said cleaning head is pivotally mounted to said first end by a universal joint such that said cleaning head is pivotable relative to said housing about first and second axis.
51. The cleaning device of claim 49, further including a latch which engages the suction nozzle in at least one of said first and second positions.
52. The cleaning device of claim 51, further including a foot operated switch for releasing said latch from engagement.
53. A method of cleaning a surface with a device comprising a handle assembly and a cleaning head pivotally attached to said handle assembly, the method comprising:
suctioning dirt from the surface through a suction nozzle attached to one of said cleaning head and said handle assembly;
moving said suction nozzle in relation to said cleaning head to a position spaced away from the surface;
while the suction nozzle is spaced away from the surface, applying a liquid to the surface from a liquid delivery system at least partially mounted on said handle assembly; and
directing the cleaning head over the surface with the handle assembly such that liquid from the surface is transferred to the cleaning head.
54. The method of claim 53, wherein the suctioning and liquid applying steps are controlled by a switch, the suctioning step including the subsidiary step of moving the switch to a first position which causes suction to be applied to the suction nozzle and prevents the liquid delivery system from applying liquid to the surface, and the liquid applying step including the subsidiary step of moving the switch to a second position in which the suction is not applied to the suction nozzle and causes the liquid delivery system to apply liquid to the surface.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to floor care devices. More particularly, the present invention relates to a combined floor mop and vacuum suction device.

[0003] 2. Discussion of the Art

[0004] A wide variety of products exist which are capable of cleaning hard surfaces, such as ceramic tile floors, hardwood floors, and the like. Many of these products comprise a directing handle and a sponge for absorbing a fluid cleaning composition. The sponge is rinsed periodically to remove dirt, soil, and other residues.

[0005] Non-woven sheets have been used for dry dust-type cleaning, as disclosed, for example, in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,629,047 and 5,144,729. The sheets are designed to attract particulate dirt electrostatically and minimize the amount of residue left on the surface being wiped. However, such tools are designed for light floor cleaning and are unsuited to handle large particles of dirt, such as pebbles, crumbs, and the like.

[0006] Recently, cleaning tools have been developed with disposable cleaning pads for removal of dirt from damp surfaces. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,094,559 describes a mop that includes a disposable cleaning pad comprising a scrubber layer for removing soil from a soiled surface, a blotter layer for absorbing fluid after the cleaning process, and a liquid impervious layer positioned between the scrubber and blotter layers. During the cleaning action with the scrubber layer, the impervious sheet prevents fluid from moving to the absorbent blotter layer. After the cleaning action is completed, the pad is removed from the mop handle and reattached such that the blotter layer contacts the floor. This operation is time consuming for the user and involves the handling of a soiled, wet pad.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 5,419,015 describes a mop having removable, washable work pads. Each pad has an upper layer, which is capable of attaching to hooks on a mop head, a central layer of synthetic plastic microporous foam, and a lower layer for contacting a surface during the cleaning operation.

[0008] There remains a need for a device that is capable of removing quantities of dry dirt from a floor surface and also of performing wet cleaning of the surface.

[0009] The present invention provides a new and improved floor cleaning device and method of use, which overcome the above-referenced problems and others.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a cleaning device is provided. The device includes a handle assembly. A cleaning head is pivotally attached to a first end of the handle assembly and is configured for receiving a replaceable cleaning pad for collecting dirt from a floor surface to be cleaned. A spray nozzle is mounted to the cleaning head and/or handle assembly for delivering a cleaning fluid to a floor surface to be cleaned. A liquid delivery system delivers cleaning fluid to the spray nozzle. At least a portion of the liquid delivery system is carried by the handle assembly. A suction nozzle is carried by the cleaning head. A dirt collection assembly for collecting dirt is in fluid communication with the suction nozzle. The dirt collection assembly is carried by the handle assembly. A source of suction is carried by the handle assembly and is fluidly connected with the dirt collection assembly for creating a flow of working air which draws dirt from the suction nozzle into the dirt collection assembly.

[0011] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a cleaning device is provided. The device includes a housing. A suction fan and motor assembly is mounted to the housing. A cleaning head is pivotally mounted to the housing. The cleaning head selectively holds a cleaning pad for collecting dust and debris from a surface to be cleaned. A suction nozzle is carried by the cleaning head. A dirt collecting receptacle is mounted to the housing and is in fluid communication with the suction nozzle and the suction fan and motor assembly. At least one spray nozzle is disposed on one of the suction nozzle and the cleaning head. A liquid delivery system delivers a cleaning fluid to the at least one spray nozzle. At least a portion of the liquid delivery system is mounted on the housing.

[0012] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a cleaning device is provided. The device includes a cleaning head which selectively holds a cleaning pad. A handle directs the cleaning head along a surface to be cleaned. A housing is mounted to at least one of the handle and the cleaning head. A suction fan and motor assembly is mounted to the housing. A dirt collecting receptacle is mounted to the housing. A suction nozzle is fluidly connected with the dirt collecting receptacle. A liquid delivery system is mounted to at least one of the housing and the suction nozzle for delivering a cleaning solution to the surface to be cleaned.

[0013] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a cleaning device is provided. The device includes a housing and a suction nozzle communicating with the housing. A suction fan and motor assembly is mounted to the housing. A dirt collecting receptacle is mounted to the housing and is in fluid communication with the suction nozzle and the suction fan and motor assembly. A liquid delivery system is mounted to the housing for delivering a cleaning solution to a surface to be cleaned. A handle is mounted to the housing for grasping to move the cleaning device along the surface to be cleaned. A switch actuates at least one of the suction fan/motor assembly and the liquid delivery system. A cleaning head is pivotally mounted to the housing. The cleaning head selectively holds a cleaning pad for collecting dust and debris from a surface to be cleaned.

[0014] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a cleaning device is provided. The device has two separate and distinct modes of operation. A first mode of operation comprises suctioning debris from a surface to be cleaned and a second mode of operation comprises the application of a cleaning liquid to the surface. A cleaning pad is used to collect dirty cleaning liquid and dust and debris from a surface to be cleaned. The cleaning device includes a housing and a suction fan and motor assembly mounted to the housing. A dirt collecting receptacle is mounted to the housing. A suction nozzle is fluidly connected with the suction fan and motor assembly and the dirt collection receptacle for performing the first mode of operation. A liquid delivery system is mounted at least in part to the housing for delivering a cleaning liquid to the surface during the second mode of operation. A cleaning head is pivotally mounted to the housing and selectively holds the cleaning pad used during the second mode of operation.

[0015] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a cleaning device is provided. The device has a liquid delivery system for cleaning a surface. An elongate handle assembly has first and second ends. A cleaning head is pivotally mounted to the first end of the handle assembly. A cleaning pad, mounted to the cleaning head, collects dirty cleaning liquid and dust and debris from a surface to be cleaned. A spray nozzle sprays liquid from the liquid delivery system in a first cleaning mode. The spray nozzle is attached to the cleaning head. A suction nozzle is carried by the cleaning head member and is pivotable between a first position, in which the nozzle is located adjacent the surface to be cleaned in a second cleaning mode, and a second position, in which the nozzle is spaced away from the surface.

[0016] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a method of cleaning a surface with a device comprising a handle assembly and a cleaning head pivotally attached to the handle assembly is provided. The method includes suctioning dirt from the surface through a suction nozzle movably attached to the cleaning head. The suction nozzle is moved to a position away from the surface. While the suction nozzle is positioned away from the surface, a liquid is applied to the surface from a liquid delivery system at least partially mounted on the handle assembly. The cleaning head is directed over the surface using the handle assembly such that liquid from the surface is transferred to the cleaning head.

[0017] The advantages of the present invention will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, upon a reading of the following disclosure and a review of the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] The invention is described in conjunction with accompanying drawings. The drawings are for purposes of illustrating exemplary embodiments of the invention and are not to be construed as limiting the invention to such embodiments. It is understood that the invention may take form in various components and arrangement of components and in various steps and arrangement of steps beyond those provided in the drawings and associated description.

[0019]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of a floor cleaning device according to the present invention;

[0020]FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of a lower portion of the floor cleaning device of FIG. 1, showing one embodiment of a suction nozzle in a lowered (floor cleaning) position;

[0021]FIG. 3 is an enlarged front perspective view of a lower end of the cleaning device of FIG. 1, showing the suction nozzle in a raised position;

[0022]FIG. 4 is a schematic side elevational view, in partial section, of the floor cleaning device of FIG. 1;

[0023]FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of a cleaning head and universal joint of the floor cleaning device of FIG. 1, with the suction nozzle and suction hose removed for clarity;

[0024]FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view of a floor cleaning pad attached to a lower surface of the cleaning head of FIG. 5, with one corner of the pad peeled back to reveal its multi-layer construction;

[0025]FIG. 7 is an enlarged perspective view of a housing of the floor cleaning device of FIG. 1 with a dirt cup and fluid reservoir attached;

[0026]FIG. 8 is a schematic view of a fluid distribution system of the floor cleaning device of FIG. 1;

[0027]FIG. 9 is an enlarged perspective view, partially cut away, of a handle assembly of the floor cleaning device of FIG. 1;

[0028]FIG. 10 is an enlarged perspective view of the suction nozzle of FIG. 1;

[0029]FIG. 11 is a greatly enlarged side sectional view of a foot release pedal and latch of the floor cleaning device of FIG. 1, with the latch in a suction nozzle engaging position;

[0030]FIG. 12 is a greatly enlarged side sectional view of the foot release pedal and latch of the floor cleaning device of FIG. 11, with the latch in a disengaged position;

[0031]FIG. 13 is an exploded side elevational view of the housing of FIG. 7 with the dirt cup removed;

[0032]FIG. 14 is an exploded perspective view of the dirt cup and filter of FIG. 13;

[0033]FIG. 15 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of a floor cleaning device according to the present invention;

[0034]FIG. 15A is an enlarged perspective view of the clip of FIG. 15 with the suction nozzle attached;

[0035]FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of a floor cleaning device according to the present invention;

[0036]FIG. 17 is a perspective view of a fourth embodiment of a floor cleaning device according to the present invention; and

[0037]FIG. 17A is an enlarged view of the battery pack of FIG. 17;

[0038]FIG. 18 is a perspective view of a fifth embodiment of a cleaning device according to the present invention;

[0039]FIG. 19 is a side elevational view of the cleaning device of FIG. 18, showing a cleaning head and pad attached;

[0040]FIG. 20 is an enlarged exploded view of a suction nozzle of a cleaning device according to a sixth embodiment of the present invention; and

[0041]FIG. 21 is a side view of the cleaning device of FIG. 20, with the spray nozzles removed for clarity.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0042] Referring now to the FIGURES, wherein the showings are for purposes of illustrating several preferred embodiments of the invention only and not for purposes of limiting the same, FIG. 1 illustrates a floor cleaning device 10 suited to the cleaning of vinyl, ceramic, and finished wood floors, and other hard surfaces. The floor cleaning device 10 incorporates both mopping and suction functions, allowing an operator to change rapidly from dirt suctioning to mopping.

[0043] The cleaning device 10 includes a cleaning head 12 for contacting a floor surface F (FIG. 4), and an elongate handle assembly 14, which is pivotally attached to the cleaning head by a universal joint 16, best shown in FIG. 2. During floor cleaning, the handle assembly 14 is positioned at an acute angle to the direction of travel of the cleaning head 12, for directing the cleaning head across a floor surface to be cleaned.

[0044] With reference now to FIG. 2, a suction nozzle 18 extends forward of a leading edge 20 of the cleaning head 12 and is movable between a floor suctioning position, illustrated in FIG. 2, and a raised position, illustrated in FIG. 3. One or more spray nozzles 22, 24 (two in the illustrated embodiment) are attached to the cleaning head 12 for delivering a spray of a cleaning fluid to the floor surface. The spray nozzles 22, 24 preferably produce a fine spray which contacts the floor forward of the cleaning head 12. The cleaning head 12 picks up at least a portion of the sprayed cleaning fluid, together with dirt loosened from the floor surface. The spray created by the nozzles 22, 24 may be a fluidic oscillating spray, a fan angled spray, or a uniform distribution spray, as desired.

[0045] The cleaning fluid can be a liquid, such as water or a suitable conventional cleaning solution. Suitable cleaning liquids include those marketed by Procter and Gamble and by Clorox for use with their Swiffer™ Wet Jet and ReadyMop™ floor cleaning devices. For example, the cleaning fluid can include a detergent in water for improving the removal of dirt from the floor. The cleaning liquid may include other additives, such as antimicrobial agents, bleaches, and the like. For cleaning wood floors, the cleaning fluid can be formulated to minimize damage to the floor and may include a wax or other wood floor coating ingredients.

[0046] With reference now to FIG. 4, mounted on the handle assembly 14 is a housing 29 which accommodates a fan and motor assembly 30, a dirt collection assembly 32, a power source 34, such as one or more replaceable/rechargeable batteries, a cleaning fluid supply reservoir 36, and a cleaning fluid delivery pump 38, which will be described in greater detail below.

[0047] With reference to FIG. 5, the universal joint 16 permits rotation of the cleaning head 12 relative to the handle assembly 14 about two rotational axes, as indicated by arrows R1 and R2. The rotational axes are angularly spaced, preferably by about 90. The universal joint 16 includes a first rotational joint or clevis 39 comprising first and second spaced and generally parallel arms 40, 42, which extend from one side of a central portion 44. The arms 40, 42 include aligned apertures 46,48 for receiving a respective pivot pin 50 extending therethrough. The pins extend into aligned apertures 51,53 positioned in spaced flanges 52, 54 protruding from the cleaning head 12. In other words, the clevis 39 is rotatably mounted on the cleaning head 12. The handle assembly 14 is thus able to pivot forward or rearward, relative to the cleaning head 12, as shown by arrow R1 in FIG. 5.

[0048] The universal joint 16 includes a second clevis or rotational joint 55, oriented perpendicular to the first clevis 39. The second clevis 55 includes first and second spaced and generally parallel arms 56, 58, similar to arms 40, 42, which extend from an opposite side of the central portion 44 to the arms 40,42. The arms 56, 58 are pivotally connected to flanges 60, 62 (see FIG. 13) at a lower end 64 of the housing 29 by pivot pins 66. This allows the handle assembly 14 to pivot relative to the universal joint 16 as shown by arrow R2 (FIG. 5). The second rotational joint 55 thus has a rotational axis perpendicular to the axis of the first rotational joint 39. It will be appreciated that other conventional methods of attachment of the handle assembly 14 to the cleaning head 12 are also contemplated. The central portion 44 includes a large aperture 68 for accommodating a hose, as will be discussed below.

[0049] With reference now to FIG. 6, the cleaning device 10 includes a cleaning fabric pad 70, which is removably attached to a substantially flat lower surface 72 of the cleaning head 12. The lower surface 72 can be defined by a rectangular plastic or foam plate 73. The cleaning pad 70 may be formed from multiple layers or be a single sheet of material. In one embodiment, the pad has a multilayer construction including an upper layer 70A, which is capable of attaching to a strip of conventional hook material 73A secured to the plate 73, a central layer 70B of an absorbent material, such as a synthetic plastic microporous foam, and a lower layer 70C for contacting a surface meant to be cleaned during the cleaning operation. The pad upper layer 70A, which includes a loop material, and the hook material 73A cooperate to form a hook and loop fastening system of the well known Velcro™ type. The hook material 73A can be adhesively attached or molded onto the surface 72, although other attachment methods are contemplated. Thus, the bottom surface 72 of the cleaning head 12 engages at least a portion of the cleaning pad 70 during use.

[0050] The lower layer 70C is preferably formed from a fabric which is sufficiently durable such that the layer will retain its integrity during the cleaning process. It is permeable to water and other liquids, which pass through the lower layer into the absorbent layer 70B, where they are trapped. The pad is preferably disposable, although reusable pads, which can be cleaned by washing, are also contemplated. It is also contemplated that different types of pad may be used depending on the type of cleaning to be performed. For example, if the user plans to do only dry cleaning at a particular time, a pad 70 comprising an electrostatic layer suited to picking up dry dirt may be employed. Such pads are particularly suitable for removal and entrapment of dust, lint, hair, grass, and the like. Pads particularly suited to polishing and/or buffing wood floors may be selected for wood floor cleaning operations.

[0051] With reference once more to FIG. 2, the spray nozzles 22, 24 are preferably attached to an upper surface 74 of the cleaning head 12, adjacent the leading edge 20. The upper surface is defined by a support plate 76, formed from metal or plastic, which is attached at a lower surface thereof to the plate 73. In this way, the spray nozzles 22, 24 move in the direction of the cleaning head 12 when the cleaning device is maneuvered. For floor mopping operations, the cleaning device 10 can be maneuvered, for example, forwards and backwards or side to side by moving the handle assembly 14 as required. As a result, the movement of the handle will be translated, via the universal joint 16, to the cleaning head 12.

[0052] Alternatively, the spray nozzles 22, 24 may be mounted elsewhere on the cleaning head 12, such as on the suction nozzle 18, or mounted to the universal joint 16 or handle assembly 14.

[0053] With reference once more to FIG. 4, the housing 29 includes a front socket 80, which receives the dirt cup assembly 32. The lower end 64 of the housing 29 is pivotally connected with the universal joint, as described above. The housing 29 also defines a rear socket 81 with an upper opening 82 for receiving the cleaning fluid reservoir 36, which may be in the form of a replaceable bottle. The handle assembly 14 also includes a hand grip 84, which is connected with the housing 29 by a hollow rod 86.

[0054] As shown in FIG. 8, a liquid delivery system 90, which includes the pump 38, delivers the cleaning liquid from the bottle 36 to the spray nozzles 22, 24. As the bottle 36 is inserted into the housing, the bottle is automatically connected with the liquid delivery system 90. One suitable connection mechanism for the bottle is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,321,941, which is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference. Specifically, a closure or cap 92 of the bottle 36 is brought into engagement with a bottle piercing assembly 94, which is movably mounted in the socket 81. The bottle piercing assembly 94 includes piercing needles 96, 98, which puncture a portion of the cap, such as an elastomeric gasket 99. One of the needles 96 is connected with a vent valve 100, which allows air to enter the bottle 36 as the cleaning liquid is dispensed. That is, as cleaning fluid is pumped from the bottle 36, ambient air is admitted through the vent valve 100 to replace the fluid so that the container 36 does not collapse or generate a vacuum within the container 36. The other needle 98 is fluidly connected with the pump 38.

[0055] The reservoir 36 may be about a 25 cm tall by about 6 cm diameter bottle blow molded from a high density polyethylene with a closure injection molded of polypropylene. The gasket 99 may be injection molded of silicone rubber.

[0056] The pump 38 can be a gear pump, peristaltic pump, or any other known liquid pump. One suitable gear pump 38 is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,328,543, which is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference. A check valve 114 is positioned in a fluid supply conduit 116, such as a flexible tube, downstream of the pump 38. A drive motor 118 for the pump 38 is powered by the power source 34. For example, a low-voltage DC motor 118 is readily powered by the batteries 34. Although batteries 34 represent one means for powering and operating the pump 38, other alternatives may be used. For example, an electric power cord (not shown) can be selectively connected to a source of AC power for supplying electrical power to the pump 38, fan motor 30, and any other electrically operated components of the device, or, the pump may be manually operated.

[0057] The check valve 114 may be a spring loaded ball valve or other type of check valve commonly known in the art. The check valve 114 limits dribbling of fluid from the spray nozzles 22, 24, particularly when the suction nozzle 18 is in operation. The check valve 114 generates a cracking pressure so that fluid entering into the spray nozzles 22, 24 has sufficient energy to drive the fluid through the spray nozzles 22, 24 and break the fluid up into fine droplets in preferably a fan-shaped pattern.

[0058] Although gear pumps are able to lift fluid from a container below them, gear pump precision and power determines the suction head available. In order to minimize precision and power, and therefore size and cost, the reservoir 36 can be located directly above the gear pump 38 so that a static head is always present to prime the pump, and no suction is required. Because of the continuous static head from the reservoir 36, the check valve 114 preferably has a cracking pressure greater than the static head, so that no leakage occurs through an inactive pump. The cracking pressure is preferably higher than the static head to the extent that fluid passing through the check valve 114 when the pump operates has sufficient pressure to cause the spray nozzles 22, 24 to produce a fine spray.

[0059] Cleaning liquid passes from the pump 38 via a fluid supply conduit 116 to the spray nozzles 22, 24. Optionally, a filter assembly, 132, in the supply conduit 116, filters dirt and other small particles from the cleaning liquid, such as small amounts of cap gasket material dislodged during puncturing the cap. Optionally, a shut off valve 134 in the supply conduit 116 is selectively closable to prevent the flow of liquid to the spray nozzles 22, 24. Specifically, the valve 134 can include a housing 136, which receives a movable valve stem 138. The valve stem is biased to an open position (fluid flow) by a spring 140, within the housing 136. When pressure is applied to the valve stem 138, the fluid flow is shut off. Optionally, the pump 38 runs continuously in both mopping and suction modes and the valve 134 is used to close off the flow. Alternatively or additionally, the pump 38 can be switched off during the suction mode.

[0060] As shown in FIG. 8, a T-connector 142, downstream of the pump 38 and valve 134, splits the fluid conduit 116 into two flowpaths 144, 146, one for each of the nozzles 22, 24. The fluid delivery system 90 thus described includes conduit 116, flowpaths 144, 146, pump 38, check valve 114, filter 132, and shut off valve 138. It will be readily appreciated, however, that alternative fluid delivery systems, such as those employing gravity feed, pressure on the bottle by squeezing with the user's hand, or other means of supplying the fluid to the nozzles 22, 24, are also contemplated.

[0061] A manually operable actuation system 150, best shown in FIG. 9, operates both the fan and motor assembly 30 and the valve 134 and/or pump 38. The actuation system 150 includes a thumb or finger-operated switch 152, which can be mounted to the hand grip 84. The switch 152 is operable to convert the device 10 from the spray/mopping mode to the vacuum suction mode. Specifically, when the switch 152 is moved to a first position S1 (pushing the switch forward in the illustrated embodiment), a plunger or actuation rod 154, which is carried within the hollow rod 86, is pushed in a generally downward direction, illustrated by arrow A, away from the hand grip 84. The plunger 154 carries an actuating member 156, such as a protrusion, which actuates a first microswitch 158 only when the switch 152 is in the first position. The actuation of the first microswitch 158 energizes the fluid supply pump 38 and/or the valve stem 138 of the shut off valve 134 to move to the open position, thereby permitting the supply of liquid from the bottle 36 to the spray nozzles 22, 24.

[0062] In the first switch position Si, the floor cleaning device 10 is thus operable in a floor spraying/mopping mode. In this mode, the pump 38 withdraws cleaning solution from the reservoir 36 and directs it to the supply nozzles 22, 24, via the fluid supply conduit 116 and flowpaths 144, 146. A user maneuvers the cleaning head 12 over the floor, using the handle assembly 14. The sprayed cleaning fluid and dirt from the floor are collected on the replaceable pad 70 as the cleaning head passes across the floor.

[0063] When the switch 152 is moved to a second position S2 (in the illustrated embodiment by pulling it rearward), the plunger 154 is pulled upwardly in the direction of Arrow B until the actuating member 156 actuates a second microswitch 160. The second microswitch 160 is mounted, either in the rod 86 or in the housing 29, in spaced relation to the first microswitch 158. Only while the switch 152 is in the second position S2 is the second microswitch 160 actuated, which causes the fan motor assembly 30 to operate, creating a suction force on the suction nozzle 18. Additionally, when the plunger 154 is retracted, by pulling upward, the protrusion 156 is released from engagement with the first microswitch 158, closing the shut off valve 134 and/or switching off the pump 38, and thereby closing off and/or switching off fluid flow to the spray nozzles 22, 24.

[0064] In the second switch position S2, the floor cleaning device 10 is operable in a suction mode. The user maneuvers the cleaning head 12 over the floor surface using the handle assembly 14. The suction fan motor assembly 30 creates a flow of working air at a suction inlet 162 (FIG. 4) of the suction nozzle 18. Dirt and dust from the floor enter the suction nozzle inlet 162 and are carried along a working air flowpath 164, defined in part by the suction nozzle 18, and into the dirt collection assembly 32, along with the working air. If both suction and mopping operations are to be carried out, the suction operation can be performed first and then the device 10 can be converted to the spray/mopping mode by changing the switch position.

[0065] The use of a single switch 152 in this manner prevents accidental operation of the spray nozzles 22, 24 while suction is applied to the suction nozzle 18, thereby avoiding introduction of the sprayed liquid directly into the dirt collection assembly 32 or suction fan assembly 30. It is believed that whenever liquid is being sprayed on the floor surface (i.e., when the pump 38 is energized), the suction should be automatically shut off, and whenever the suction is operating (i.e., when the fan motor is energized), the liquid supply should be automatically shut off It will be appreciated, however, that a conventional air/liquid separator or valve (not shown) may alternatively be employed in the dirt collection assembly, thereby avoiding the need to shut of the suction when the spray nozzles are operating.

[0066] The switch 152 may also have a central neutral position S3, in which neither the suction fan 30 nor the liquid delivery system 90 is operating. This position may be used, for example, during a floor mopping operation where the use of additional liquid is not desired, such as when cleaning a wood floor or an already wet floor, or when a cleaning cloth 70 is used which is already impregnated with a cleaning or polishing fluid. The forward and rear switch positions may include means for retaining the switch in the set position until actively disengaged, such as a rocker switch or a switch which engages detents. Alternatively, the switch 152 may be a slide switch which is spring-biased to the neutral position S3 when the finger pressure is withdrawn. Other embodiments are also contemplated, such as a switch which is spring biased to one of the first and second positions S1, S2.

[0067] It will be appreciated that the positions of the two microswitches 158, 160 may be reversed, such that the fan motor assembly 30 is operated by pushing on the switch 152 and the liquid spray is operated by pulling on the switch. Additionally, while the switch 152 is most conveniently positioned on or adjacent the hand grip 84, it is also contemplated that the switch 152 may be positioned elsewhere on the device 10. For example, a foot operated rocker switch may be provided on the cleaning head, or the switch may be located on the housing.

[0068] In the embodiment of FIG. 2, the suction nozzle 18 is spring biased to the retracted (raised) position. For example, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the suction nozzle 18 includes a nozzle housing 172, which is generally triangular in shape, and defines the suction inlet 162, in the form of an elongate slot at its distal end. A tubular portion 174 of the suction nozzle 18 extends from a narrow end of the nozzle housing 172. The suction nozzle 18 is pivotally mounted on the cleaning head 12. The suction nozzle 18 is connected with the dust collection assembly 32 by a flexible suction hose 176 (FIG. 7). In one embodiment (FIG. 1), the hose 176 is directly connected to the tubular portion 174 of the suction nozzle and bends as the suction nozzle 18 pivots. In another embodiment, illustrated in FIG. 2, a rigid tubular member 177 is connected with the end of the hose 176. The rigid member 177 is pivotally connected to the tubular portion 174. In either embodiment, the tubular portion 174 of the suction nozzle 18 pivots relative to the cleaning head 12 around a pivot axis 178. As best shown in FIG. 10, a torsion spring 180 is mounted between the suction nozzle 18 and the cleaning head 12. It biases the suction nozzle 18 to the retracted position. This ensures that cleaning fluid from the spray nozzles 22, 24 is not sucked directly into the suction nozzle 18 just after it is sprayed out through the nozzles 22 and 24 in the wet floor cleaning mode.

[0069] As shown in FIGS. 11 and 12, the suction nozzle 18 can be held against upward movement by a latch 190 or other suitable restraining member. In one embodiment, the latch 190 is generally triangular in cross section. The latch 190 can be pivotable, as indicated by arrow R3, around a pivot point 192 between an engagement position (FIG. 11), in which a distal end of the latch engages the suction nozzle 18 and a disengaged position (FIG. 12), in which the suction nozzle is free to move upwardly, under the bias of the torsion spring. The latch 190 can be normally restrained in the engaged position by a foot operated release member 194, which includes a foot operated switch 195, conveniently positioned on the cleaning head 12 (FIG. 2). A restraint bar 196 depends from the switch 195 of the release member 194 and defines a V-shaped indent 198, which is configured to accommodate the latch 190 when pivoted to the disengaged position.

[0070] A restraining surface 200 of the restraint bar, located beneath the indent 198, can prevent the latch 190 from moving to the disengaged position until the foot operated release member 194 is depressed, e.g., by pressing on the switch 195 with the user's foot. Specifically, as shown in FIG. 11, the restraining surface 200 can engage a rear surface 202 of the latch, such that a tip of the latch is over the nozzle housing 172, inhibiting it from moving upward. When the release member 194 is depressed, the latch 190 is able to pivot to the disengaged position, shown in FIG. 12. Specifically, the upward pressure of the nozzle housing 172, under the biasing force of the torsion spring 180, causes the latch 190 to move to the disengaged position. The suction nozzle is then free to pivot upward, away from the floor. When the foot pressure on the pedal 195 is released, the foot operated release member 194 is biased upward by a coil spring 206. As the release member 194 moves upward, the surface 200 engages the latch 190, pivoting it forward into the engaged position.

[0071] To reengage the suction nozzle 18 with the latch 190, the user pushes the suction nozzle downward with either the foot or hand and reengages the latch.

[0072] In an alternate embodiment, a lower end of the plunger 154 is operatively connected with the suction nozzle 18, such that the suction nozzle 18 is moved from the floor suctioning position (FIG. 2) to the retracted position (FIG. 3) when the switch is moved to the second position S3.

[0073] With reference now to FIG. 13, the dirt collection assembly 32 includes a dirt collection receptacle 208, such as a removable, generally transparent dirt cup, fabricated from a thermoplastic material, or other suitable material. As best shown in FIG. 4, when the dirt cup 208 is positioned within the socket 80 in the housing 29, the suction nozzle 18 is fluidly connected with an inlet 212 of the dirt cup 208 by the flexible suction hose 176. The suction hose 176 passes through aperture 68 in the universal joint 16 and enters the housing 29 through a suitably positioned lower opening 214 located between the two flanges 60, 62.

[0074] As shown in FIG. 14, an open end 216 of the dirt cup 208 selectively accommodates a removable filter assembly 218, which filters dirt and debris from the working air before it leaves the dirt cup. The filter assembly 218 can include a flexible filter 220 to retain smaller particles within the dirt cup 208. The filter 220 is supported on a filter cage 222, and is removable with the cage from the dirt cup for cleaning. The dirt cup 208 is removed from the socket 80 in the housing and emptied of collected dirt at intervals. This entails removing the filter assembly 218 from the dirt cup and tipping out collected dirt. The filter assembly 218 may also be cleaned at this time, or less frequently, for example, by rinsing the filter 220 in warm water or detergent solution.

[0075] As shown in FIG. 5, during operation of the suction system, the dirt cup 208 is secured in place in the socket 80 by a latch mechanism 230 or other suitable conventional fastening mechanism. With reference now to FIG. 13, the latch mechanism 230 can release a spring biased tab 232 from a slot 234 formed in the outlet end of the dirt cup 208.

[0076] The fan and motor assembly 30 includes a motor 240 capable of operating on a dc voltage of about 7.2-9.6 volts DC, provided by the power source 34 (FIG. 4). The motor drives a fan 242 which creates a suction force on the dirt cup 190, drawing air and dirt from the floor suction nozzle 18 into the dirt cup. A flap valve 244 (FIG. 7) is positioned at the dirt cup inlet 212, which is normally in a closed position. When the fan motor operates, the suction force opens the flap valve 244, allowing dirt and air to be drawn into the dirt cup. The flap valve 244 may be formed from rubber or other suitable flexible material. When the fan motor is switched off, the flap valve falls back to its closed position, sealing off the suction nozzle 18 from the dirt cup 208 and preventing collected dirt from falling out of the device through the suction nozzle.

[0077] When the fan motor assembly 30 is operational, the working air follows a short and efficient flow path. Dirt-laden air is drawn in through the suction inlet 162 of the suction nozzle and is carried upward along the short flexible hose 176 and exits out the dirt cup inlet 212, which is slightly elevated, relative to the base of the dirt cup 208. Heavier dirt particles fall to the base of the dirt cup 190 under gravity. Lighter particles may be drawn upward to the filter assembly 218, where they are trapped on the filter 220. Working air is drawn through the filter 220 by fan 242, flows around the motor 240, and is directed out of the housing by the fan and motor assembly 30 through suitably positioned louvers 224 therein.

[0078] In place of the dirt cup 208 and filter assembly 218, another suitable conventional dirt collection assembly may be employed, such as a replaceable filter bag made from paper, cloth, or other porous material, a cyclonic flow dust separation system, or the like.

[0079] With reference now to FIG. 15, an alternative embodiment of a cleaning device 300 is shown. The device 300 includes a cleaning head 312, which is pivotally attached to a handle assembly 314 by a universal joint 316 analogous to universal joint 16. In this embodiment, however, the spray cleaning and suctioning functions are provided by a removable cleaning attachment 320, which is carried in part by the handle 314 and in part by the cleaning head 312.

[0080] The cleaning attachment 320 includes a housing 322, which accommodates a fluid supply pump, fan motor assembly, optionally, a power source, such as batteries (although in the illustrated embodiment the device is provided with a power cord 324 for attaching the device to a source of electrical power), and other internal components similar to those shown in FIG. 4, although in slightly different positions. A cleaning fluid tank 330 is removably mounted to a lower end of the housing 322 and is fluidly connected with a single spray nozzle 332 by a fluid supply conduit 334 in the form of a flexible hose. A dirt collection assembly 336, analogous to dirt collection assembly 202, is received in a socket 80 of the housing 322 and is connected with a floor suction nozzle 338 by a flexible conduit 340. The housing 322 includes conventional clips (not shown) or other known connecting members, which allow it to be conveniently fitted to a rod 342 of the handle assembly 314 and removed therefrom when the spraying/suctioning functions of the attachment 320 are not being used. Alternatively, a lower portion (not shown) of the rod 342 can be removed from the handle assembly 314, and the housing 322 can be selectively connected between an upper portion of the rod 342 and the universal joint 316.

[0081] The suction nozzle 338 can be readily attached to the cleaning head 312 with screws, bolts, clips, or other suitable known attachment members (not shown). In one embodiment the cleaning head has a plurality of clips 350 (four in the illustrated embodiment). The clips are configured for selectively receiving and gripping edges of a cleaning pad or sheet analogous to pad 70. In one embodiment, the suction nozzle 338 can include a pair of arms having resilient flexible umbrella-shaped protrusions 352 (FIG. 15A), which cooperate with a corresponding pair of the gripping members 350 to selectively hold the suction nozzle to the cleaning head until it is desired to remove the cleaning assembly 320 from the device. In this embodiment, the suction nozzle does not pivot, but remains angled toward the floor surface, even during spraying. However, spraying and vacuuming can be performed separately, as discussed above.

[0082] The cleaning assembly 320 also includes a spray trigger 360, which clips on to or is otherwise selectively attached to a hand grip 362 of the handle assembly. The trigger is connected by a cord or rod to a valve (not shown) for releasing fluid from the tank. Alternatively or additionally, the spray trigger 360 actuates the pump. The fan motor assembly is actuated by a switch 364, which may be located on the housing 322.

[0083] The cleaning assembly 320 allows a conventional stick cleaning device, such as the Swiffer™ device sold by Proctor & Gamble, to be converted to a suction/spray mop whenever these functions are desired. For example, when only dry dirt is to be removed with the pad 70, the attachment can be removed from the device and stored until needed. When it is desired to use the suction and/or wet mopping functions, of the attachment 320, the housing 322 is connected to the handle 314, the suction nozzle 338 is connected to the cleaning head 312, and spray trigger 360 clipped on to the hand grip 362, which takes only a short time. The device 300 is then ready for spraying and or suction operations in a manner similar to that described for the device 10. For the latter functions, the conventional electrostatic cleaning cloth of the Swiffer™ device would be replaced with a cleaning and mopping cloth, of the type identified by numeral 70 in FIG. 6.

[0084] With reference now to FIG. 16, a cleaning device 380 analogous to device 300 (or analogous to device 10) may be configured to employ a wall mounted charger 382 for recharging the batteries (not shown) within the housing. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 17, a device 390, analogous to device 300 (or to device 10) may be configured with a socket 392 adapted to receive a drop in battery pack 394 shown enlarged in FIG. 17A. One such battery pack is sold by Black and Decker, Inc. of Towson, Md., under the mark Versapack™. As with device 300, cleaning device 380 includes a removable cleaning attachment 396.

[0085] With reference now to FIG. 18, a hand held wet/dry cleaning device suited to cleaning above floor surfaces, such as table tops, ledges and the like, as well as floor surfaces is shown. One such cleaning device is generally described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,347,428, which is incorporated herein in its entirety, by reference. According to the present invention, a cleaning device 400 includes a housing 402, which supports a cleaning liquid container 404 for supplying a cleaning solution to a spray nozzle 406. A suction nozzle 408 is mounted below the spray nozzle for suctioning sprayed cleaning solution and dirt from a surface to be cleaned. The suction nozzle fluidly communicates with a dirty liquid container 410, removably mounted to a lower surface 412 of the housing 402. An arcuate gripping handle 416 is connected to the housing at both its ends.

[0086] As shown in FIG. 19, the cleaning device 400 may be fitted with a cleaning head 420 for mopping the surface. Specifically, a stem 422 is selectively connected with a lower surface of the housing by a suitable known fitment. The stem 422 can have a universal joint 424 (analogous to universal joint 16), or another suitable joint, at its lower end through which the stem is pivotally connected to the cleaning head 420. The cleaning head 420 carries a removable cleaning pad 426, analogous to pad 70, for mopping and dusting the surface.

[0087] The device includes an on/off switch 430. The switch is connected to a power source via an electrical cord 431. When powered, a fan and motor assembly in the housing 402 draws a suction force on the suction nozzle 408. A switch 432 connects the power source with a cleaning fluid supply pump (not shown), which delivers cleaning fluid from the tank 404 to the spray nozzle 406. The switch 432 may be a three position switch, analogous to switch 152, and have a first (forward) position for operation of the spray, a second (rearward) position for powering the suction and a neutral (intermediate) position in which neither the spray nor the suction is operational.

[0088] With reference now to FIGS. 20 and 21, a cleaning device 500 similar to the cleaning device 10 of FIG. 1 is shown. Cleaning device 500 has a cleaning head 512 pivotally connected to a handle assembly 514 by a universal joint 516 and receives a cleaning pad 70′ as with the device 10. In place of the latch mechanism 190 and torsion spring 180 of device 10, a suction nozzle 518 is manually pivoted between lower and raised positions.

[0089] More particularly, the suction nozzle 518 is pivotably mounted on the support plate via a pair of spaced apart arms 520, 522, which extend from a rearward end 524 of the suction nozzle. The arms 520, 522 each have a hole 526, 528 respectively through which pivot pins 530 extend to rotatably secure the suction nozzle to corresponding flanges 532, 534 extending from an upper surface 536 of the support plate 512.

[0090] Each of the nozzle arms 520, 522 has a forward and rearward concave surface 540, 542 which engage or ride upon a respective detent 544 in the form of a flat spring. Ends of the flat spring 544 snap fit into corresponding slots 546, 548 defined in the support plate upper surface 536, adjacent the respective support plate flange 532, 534. The suction nozzle 18 is manually pivoted or rotated from an operating (suction) position, in which the nozzle is adjacent the floor surface, to a non-operating (retracted/raised) position. In the suction position, illustrated in FIG. 21, the forward surface 540 engages the flat spring 544. In the retracted position, the rearward surface 542 engages the flat spring. The suction nozzle 518 is able to move from one position to the other, under slight manual pressure, since the surfaces 540, 542 ride along the detent until the suction nozzle is locked into one of the two positions.

[0091] In the suction position, the suction nozzle is aligned adjacent to and generally parallel with the floor surface to be cleaned, with a suction inlet 550 pointing towards the floor. Air entrained dirt is drawn from the suction nozzle 518 to a dirt receptacle 552, via a flexible hose 554, as with the cleaning device 10. In the retracted position, the inlet is spaced away from the floor and spray nozzles 560 are able to spray the cleaning fluid onto the floor surface without interference by the suction nozzle 518.

[0092] It will be appreciated that the suction nozzle 518 with its nozzle arms 520, 522 and curved surfaces 540, 542 may replace nozzle 18 in the embodiment of FIG. 1. The flat spring 544 acts as a latch and thus the latch 190 is not needed.

[0093] The invention has been described with reference to the preferred embodiments. Obviously, modifications and alterations will occur to others upon reading and understanding the preceding detailed description. It is intended that the invention be construed as including all such modifications and alterations insofar as they come within the scope of the appended claims or the equivalents thereof.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification15/320, 15/403
International ClassificationA47L13/22, A47L5/28, A47L7/00, A47L5/24, A47L13/42, A47L9/28
Cooperative ClassificationA47L7/0009, A47L7/0042, A47L13/42, A47L5/24, A47L9/2842, A47L5/28, A47L9/2857, A47L9/2889, A47L7/0038, A47L13/22, A47L9/2836
European ClassificationA47L9/28D2, A47L9/28D, A47L9/28S, A47L9/28F, A47L7/00B2, A47L7/00B8F, A47L7/00B10, A47L5/28, A47L13/42, A47L5/24, A47L13/22
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 10, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: ROYAL APPLIANCE MFG. CO., OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:KISELA, DAVID;WRIGHT, MICHAEL F.;SAUNDERS, CRAIG M.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:013656/0503;SIGNING DATES FROM 20030109 TO 20030110