US 20040154118 A1
A device for treating a stain is disclosed. The device includes a scrubber which has a backing with an inner surface and an outer surface. Extending from the outer surface of the backing is a plurality of scrubbing protrusions. Fastened to the inner surface of the backing is an absorber such as a sponge. The backing and scrubbing protrusions may be molded from a flexible, resilient material, with the scrubbing protrusions being conical in shape with rounded ends. The absorber may be compressed to remove liquid held therein by folding the device about itself such that the backing is over the absorber and applying pressure.
1. A cleaning apparatus comprising:
a scrubber including a backing with an inner surface and an outer surface and a plurality of scrubbing protrusions extending from the outer surface of the backing; and
wherein the absorber is attached to the inner surface of the backing.
2. The apparatus of
3. The apparatus of
4. The apparatus of
5. The apparatus of
6. The apparatus of
7. The apparatus of
8. The apparatus of
9. The apparatus of
10. The apparatus of
11. The apparatus of
12. A method of treating a stain in a fabric, including a flexible scrubber attached to a sponge, the method comprising:
agitating the fabric with the flexible scrubber,
inverting the scrubber, and
blotting the stain with the sponge, thereby treating the stain.
13. The method of
14. The method of
15. A device for removing pet stains, comprising:
a scrubber including a backing with an inner surface and an outer surface and a plurality of scrubbing protrusions extending from the outer surface of the backing;
the backing being flexible and resilient;
the scrubbing protrusions being flexible and resilient, and having rounded endpoints;
the backing and the scrubbing protrusions being of unitary construction; and
wherein the sponge is attached to the inner side of the backing.
16. The apparatus of
17. The apparatus of
18. The apparatus of
19. The apparatus of
20. The apparatus of
 The disclosure is generally related to a device to treat a soiled fabric, and more particularly to a combination sponge and scrubber.
 Many stain removing liquids for fabrics such as carpet and upholstery direct the user to apply the liquid stain remover directly to the stain, then agitate the stain and remover with a sponge or a paper towel. The user is then to blot up the stained area using a second paper towel or sponge. Depending on the severity of the stain, including the length of time the stain has set, a paper towel, rag, or sponge does not provide a sufficient agitation to effectively break up and lift the stain. Further, a more abrasive scrubbing brush may damage the fabric. There is a need for a stain removing device that can effectively agitate and scrub a fabric to lift a stain without damaging the fabric. It is also desirable to have an attached absorber to blot and lift out the stain and liquid stain remover.
FIG. 1 is a side view of an example of a stain removing device.
FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the stain removing device of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is side view of the stain removing device of FIG. 1 in a compressed state.
FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the stain removing device of FIG. 1.
FIG. 5 is an isometric view of a second example of a stain removing device.
FIG. 6 is a bottom view of the stain removing device of FIG. 5.
 While the disclosure is susceptible to various modifications and alternative constructions, certain illustrative embodiments thereof have been shown in the drawings and will be described below in detail. It should be understood, however, that there is no intention to limit the disclosure to the specific forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, alternative constructions, and the equivalents falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
 Referring now to the drawings, and particularly to FIG. 1, an example of a stain removing device 10 is illustrated. In the disclosed example, the stain removing device 10 includes an absorber 12, with an outer surface 14 and an inner surface 16, and a scrubber 18. The absorber 12 can be any structure known to absorb liquids, including but not limited to a sponge or sponge-like material, a towel, a cloth, or other materials known in the art. The scrubber 18 includes a backing 20, with an inner surface 22 and an outer surface 24, and a plurality of scrubbing protrusions 26 extending from the outer surface 24 of the backing 20. The inner surface 22 of the backing 20 is fastened to the inner surface 16 of the absorber 12 using any means known in the art, such as adhering the backing 20 to the absorber 12 using a glue.
 In one example, the backing 20 can be made from a flexible, resilient material, such as rubber or a flexible elastomer material. The scrubbing protrusions 26 can also be made from a flexible, resilient material such as rubber or a flexible elastomer material. Further, the scrubbing protrusions 26 and the backing 20 can be made from the same material and, to facilitate ease of manufacture and assembly, the scrubbing protrusions 26 and the backing 20 can be molded as a single unit.
 As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the scrubbing protrusions 26 can be molded into a conical shape with rounded tips 30. The rounded tips 30 ensure that a delicate fabric will not be damaged while a user is scrubbing out a stain with the device 10. To increase flexibility and decrease cost of manufacture, the scrubbing protrusions 26 can be hollow.
FIG. 3 details a particular feature of the disclosed stain removing device 10. With the backing 20 being manufactured from a flexible material, it is possible to fold the device 10 about itself such that the absorber 12 is compressed upon itself and between a left section 32 and a right section 34 of the backing 20. By applying compressive force F on the absorber 12, liquid held within the absorber 12, such as water, stain removing liquid, and the stain itself, may be squeezed out and disposed of, as is well known in the art. Being that the device 10 can flexible in all directions with a flexible backing 20, the device 10 can be folded about itself in any direction.
FIGS. 2 and 4 detail the geometric layout of the present example of the device, and define a direction X and a direction Y. The scrubbing protrusions 26 may have a base diameter D1 and a crown diameter D2. In this example the scrubbing protrusions 26 can have a base diameter D1 of approximately 5 mm and can taper to a crown diameter D2 of approximately 3 mm at the rounded tips 30. The scrubbing protrusions 26 further have a distance D3 between their respective centers along the X direction, and a distance D4 between their respective centers along the Y direction. In this example, the distance D3 can be approximately 9 mm, and the distance D4 can also be 9 mm. The angle θ between directions X and Y can be approximately 73°. All dimensions listed herein are illustrative, and many sizes and dimensions may be found to be effective.
FIGS. 5 and 6 show an isometric view and a bottom view of a second example of a stain removing device 40. The features and functionality of the second stain removing device 40 are similar to the first stain removing device 10, however the layout of the scrubbing protrusions 42 are different. In this example, the rows and columns of the scrubbing protrusions 42 define directions X2 and Y2 which have an angle θ2 which is approximately 90°. The distance D5 between the centers of the scrubbing protrusions 42 along the X2 direction is approximately 9 mm, and the distance D6 between the centers of the scrubbing protrusions 42 along the Y2 direction is also approximately 9 mm.
 The stain removing device disclosed herein is particularly adapted for the use of removing stains associated with owning a pet. Pets such as dogs and cats tend to leave large stains with large particles that smell unpleasant, i.e. vomit, feces, etc. The larger scrubbing protrusions with rounded end points allow for thorough scrubbing action to remove the large particles without damaging the underlying fabric. This is very helpful when dealing with such an unsightly and unpleasant mess.
 To use the stain removing device 10, a user may apply a stain removing liquid to a stain in a fabric such as carpet, upholstery, clothing, etc. The user can then agitate the stain by rubbing the scrubbing protrusions 26 against the stain, thereby lifting the stain from the fabric. The user can then invert the device 10 and blot the stain and the liquid by applying the absorber 12 to the fabric to remove the liquids from the fabric. The user can then rid the absorber 12 of the liquids by folding the device 10 about itself and applying pressure, such that the absorber 12 is compressed on itself and between the left section 32 and the right section 34 of the backing 20. By compressing the absorber 12, liquid is forced out of the absorber 12 as is well known in the art.
 From the foregoing, one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the present disclosure sets forth a device for removing stains in a fabric. However, one of ordinary skill in the art could readily apply the novel teachings of this disclosure to any number of situations in which this device could be used. For example, this device may be useful as a shower aid or in massage therapy. As such, the teachings of this disclosure shall not be considered to be limited to the specific examples disclosed herein, but to include all applications within the spirit and scope of the invention.