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Publication numberUS20060039743 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/070,953
Publication dateFeb 23, 2006
Filing dateMar 3, 2005
Priority dateMar 3, 2004
Publication number070953, 11070953, US 2006/0039743 A1, US 2006/039743 A1, US 20060039743 A1, US 20060039743A1, US 2006039743 A1, US 2006039743A1, US-A1-20060039743, US-A1-2006039743, US2006/0039743A1, US2006/039743A1, US20060039743 A1, US20060039743A1, US2006039743 A1, US2006039743A1
InventorsJohannes Mensink, Paulus Angustinus Hofte, Kim Mortland, Gregory Spooner, Ho Pun Chung
Original AssigneeThe Procter & Gamble Company
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cleaning implements
US 20060039743 A1
Abstract
The invention provides a cleaning implement for cleaning a hard surface. The cleaning implement includes a mop head pivotably connected to a first handle section and a fluid transfer mechanism that is connected to a second handle section of the implement. When the cleaning implement is unassembled and stored in a package, the first handle section is disconnected from the second handle section. When a user removes the cleaning implement from the package, he or she can assemble the cleaning implement.
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Claims(20)
1. A cleaning kit for cleaning a hard surface, said kit comprising:
a package; and
a cleaning implement stored in said package, said cleaning implement comprising:
a first handle section having a proximal end and a distal end wherein said proximal end is pivotably connected to a mop head for retaining a disposable cleaning substrate;
a second handle section having a proximal end and a distal end;
a fluid transfer mechanism connected to said second handle section;
a nozzle connected to said mop head; and
a fluid transfer tube fluidically connecting said nozzle to said fluid transfer mechanism, wherein a proximal portion of said fluid transfer tube is located within said first handle section and a distal portion of said fluid transfer tube is located within said second handle section and wherein said distal end of said first handle section is mechanically connectable to said proximal end of said second handle section when said cleaning implement is removed from said package and wherein said distal end of said first handle section is disconnected from said proximal end of said second handle section when said cleaning implement is in said package.
2. The cleaning kit of claim 1 wherein said fluid transfer tube includes a slack portion.
3. The cleaning kit of claim 2 wherein the length of said slack portion is between about 5 mm and about 100 mm.
4. The cleaning kit of claim 3 wherein said slack portion is folded when said cleaning implement is in said package.
5. The cleaning kit of claim 1 wherein said fluid transfer mechanism is a liquid delivery mechanism and said nozzle is a liquid dispensing nozzle.
6. The cleaning kit of claim 1 further comprising a container filled with a cleaning composition and at least one disposable absorbent cleaning substrate.
7. The cleaning kit of claim 1 wherein said fluid transfer mechanism is located within a housing and said housing is attached to said second handle section.
8. A cleaning kit for cleaning a hard surface, said kit comprising:
a package; and
a cleaning implement stored in said package, said cleaning implement comprising:
a first handle section having a proximal end and a distal end wherein said proximal end is pivotably connected to a mop head for retaining a disposable cleaning substrate;
a second handle section having a proximal end and a distal end;
a fluid transfer mechanism connected to said second handle section;
a nozzle connected to said mop head;
a first fluid transfer tube wherein said first fluid transfer tube is fluidically connected to said nozzle and wherein a substantial portion of said first fluid transfer tube is located within said first handle section; and
a second fluid transfer tube wherein said second fluid transfer tube is fluidically connected to said fluid transfer mechanism and wherein a substantial portion of said second fluid transfer tube is located within said second handle section, wherein said distal end of said first handle section is mechanically connectable to said proximal end of said second handle section when said cleaning implement is removed from said package, wherein said distal end of said first handle section is disconnected from said proximal end of said second handle section when, said cleaning implement is in said package and wherein said first fluid transfer tube is fluidically connected to said second fluid transfer tube when said distal end of said first handle section is mechanically connected to said proximal end of said second handle section.
9. The cleaning kit of claim 8 wherein said first handle section further comprises a receiving element wherein said receiving element is fluidically connected to said nozzle by said first fluid transfer tube and wherein said second handle section further comprises an engaging element, wherein said engaging element is fluidically connected to said fluid transfer mechanism by said second fluid transfer tube.
10. The cleaning kit of claim 9 wherein said receiving element comprises a female portion and said engaging element comprises a male portion wherein said fluid transfer mechanism is fluidically connected to said nozzle when said male portion engages said female portion.
11. The cleaning kit of claim 10 wherein said male portion of said engaging element is located within said second handle section.
12. The cleaning kit of claim 8 wherein said fluid transfer mechanism is a liquid delivery mechanism and said nozzle is a liquid dispensing nozzle.
13. The cleaning kit of claim 8 further comprising a container filled with a cleaning composition and at least one disposable absorbent cleaning substrate.
14. The cleaning kit of claim 8 wherein said fluid transfer mechanism is located within a housing and said housing is attached to said second handle section.
15. The cleaning kit of claim 8 further comprising an extension section having a proximal end and a distal end, wherein said proximal end of said extension section is mechanically connectable to said distal end of said first handle section and said distal end of said extension section is mechanically connectable to said proximal end of said second handle section.
16. The cleaning kit of claim 15 wherein proximal end of said extension section further comprises an engaging element and said distal end of said extension section further comprises a receiving element, wherein said engaging and receiving elements of said extension section are fluidically connected by a third fluid transfer tube.
17. The cleaning kit of claim 16 wherein said distal end of said first handle section further comprises a receiving element wherein said receiving element is fluidically connected to said nozzle by said first fluid transfer tube and wherein said proximal end of said second handle section further comprises an engaging element, wherein said engaging element is fluidically connected to said fluid transfer mechanism by said second fluid transfer tube
18. The cleaning kit of claim 17 wherein said engaging element of said extension section is fluidically connectable to the said receiving element of said first handle section and said receiving element of said extension section is fluidically connectable to the said engaging element of said second handle section.
19. A cleaning implement for cleaning a hard surface comprising:
a first handle section having a proximal end and a distal end wherein said proximal end is pivotably connected to a mop head for retaining a disposable cleaning substrate;
a second handle section having a proximal end and a distal end;
a fluid transfer mechanism connected to said second handle section;
a nozzle connected to said mop head; and
a fluid transfer tube fluidically connecting said nozzle to said fluid transfer mechanism, wherein a proximal portion of said fluid transfer tube is located within said first handle section and a distal portion of said fluid transfer tube is located within said second handle section and wherein said distal end of said first handle section is mechanically connectable to said proximal end of said second handle section and wherein said distal end of said first handle section is disconnected from said proximal end of said second handle section when said cleaning implement is unassembled.
20. A cleaning implement for cleaning a hard surface comprising:
a first handle section having a proximal end and a distal end wherein said proximal end is pivotably connected to a mop head for retaining a disposable cleaning substrate;
a second handle section having a proximal end and a distal end;
a fluid transfer mechanism connected to said second handle section;
a nozzle connected to said mop head;
a first fluid transfer tube wherein said first fluid transfer tube is fluidically connected to said nozzle and wherein a substantial portion of said first fluid transfer tube is located within said first handle section; and
a second fluid transfer tube wherein said second fluid transfer tube is fluidically connected to said fluid transfer mechanism and wherein a substantial portion of said second fluid transfer tube is located within said second handle section, wherein said distal end of said first handle section is mechanically connectable to said proximal end of said second handle section, wherein said distal end of said first handle section is disconnected from said proximal end of said second handle section when said cleaning implement is unassembled and wherein said first fluid transfer tube is fluidically connected to said second fluid transfer tube when said distal end of said first handle section is mechanically connected to said proximal end of said second handle section.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/550,678, filed Mar. 5, 2004; and U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/549,588, filed Mar. 3, 2004.

TECHNICAL FIELD

In one embodiment, the invention relates to cleaning implements used to clean hard surfaces.

In another embodiment, the invention relates to cleaning kits including a cleaning implement in a package.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The literature is replete with products capable of cleaning hard surfaces such as ceramic tile floors, hardwood floors, counter tops and the like. In the context of cleaning floors, numerous mopping devices and other cleaning implements are described which are segmented in order to reduce the size of the package. Examples of such cleaning implements are the SWIFFER WETJET® and the SWIFFER SPRAY & CLEAN® sold by The Procter & Gamble Company. Typically, these implements include a handle that is segmented three sections. A user can assemble the cleaning implement by connecting the sections together. These cleaning implements include a mop head pivotably connected to a handle, a fluid delivery mechanism operably connected or connectable to this handle and a reservoir for storing a cleaning composition and which can be fluidically connected to the fluid delivery mechanism. These cleaning implements also include a nozzle for dispensing the cleaning solution to the floor surface and which can be attached to the mop head. In order to transfer the cleaning composition from the container to the nozzle, a fluid transfer element, such as a flexible plastic tube, is connected at one end to the fluid delivery mechanism and at the other end to the nozzle. In order to protect this tube during the cleaning operation, the tube can be located within one of the handle sections. In this case, since the tube runs continuously from the fluid delivery mechanism to the nozzle, the length of this section of the handle (typically connected to the mop head by a universal joint) and the length of the mop head provide the minimum length of the package used to store and sell the implement to consumers. Cleaning implements which do not require a continuous internal fluid communication between the fluid delivery mechanism and the nozzle, such as the READYMOP® sold by The Clorox Company, can be segmented even further such that the mop head is not attached to the handle when the cleaning implement is packaged. Consequently, these cleaning implements can be sold in smaller packages which require less shelf space in stores. However, because the tube of this implement is not located within the handle, it can potentially get caught by the furniture or the user's leg during the cleaning operation.

As such, there is a need for a cleaning implement having at least two handle sections that are disconnected when the implement is in a package but are also mechanically connectable by a user when the implement is removed from the package.

There is also a need for a cleaning kit including a cleaning implement which has a mop head disconnected from the fluid delivery mechanism when the implement is packaged and such that the fluid communication between the fluid delivery mechanism and a nozzle of the implement is either maintained or established when the cleaning implement is assembled by a user.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, the invention relates to a cleaning implement stored in a package. The cleaning implement comprises a first handle section having a proximal end and a distal end where this proximal end is pivotably connected to a mop head for retaining a disposable cleaning substrate, a second handle section having a proximal end and a distal end, a fluid transfer mechanism connected to the second handle section, a nozzle connected to the mop head and a fluid transfer tube fluidically connecting the nozzle to the fluid transfer mechanism, where a proximal portion of the fluid transfer tube is located within the first handle section and a distal portion of the fluid transfer tube is located within the second handle section and wherein the distal end of the first handle section is mechanically connectable to the proximal end of the second handle section when the cleaning implement is removed from the package and wherein the distal end of the first handle section is disconnected from the proximal end of the second handle section when said cleaning implement is in the package.

In one embodiment, the invention also relates to a cleaning implement comprising a first handle section having a proximal end and a distal end where the proximal end is pivotably connected to a mop head for retaining a disposable cleaning substrate, a second handle section having a proximal end and a distal end, a fluid transfer mechanism connected to the second handle section, a nozzle connected to the mop head, a first fluid transfer tube where the first fluid transfer tube is fluidically connected to the nozzle and where a substantial portion of the first fluid transfer tube is located within the first handle section and a second fluid transfer tube where the second fluid transfer tube is fluidically connected to the fluid transfer mechanism and where a substantial portion of the second fluid transfer tube is located within the second handle section, where the distal end of the first handle section is mechanically connectable to the proximal end of the second handle section when the cleaning implement is removed from the package, where the distal end of the first handle section is disconnected from the proximal end of the second handle section when the cleaning implement is in the package and where the first fluid transfer tube is fluidically connected to the second fluid transfer tube when the distal end of the first handle section is mechanically connected to the proximal end of the second handle section.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of an assembled cleaning implement of one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a top view of an unassembled cleaning implement of one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a top view of an unassembled cleaning implement;

FIG. 4 is a top view of an unassembled cleaning implement of another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 5 is a partial cross section of a fluid connection of one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of the fluid connection of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is an isometric view of a cleaning implement of the invention stored in a a first package and another cleaning implement stored in a second package;

FIG. 8 is a cross section of an extension section of one embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 9 is a partial cross section of a gravity type liquid delivery mechanism.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

All documents cited herein are, in relevant part, incorporated herein by reference; the citation of any document is not to be construed as an admission that it is prior art with respect to the present invention.

It should be understood that every maximum numerical limitation given throughout this specification includes every lower numerical limitation, as if such lower numerical limitations were expressly written herein. Every minimum numerical limitation given throughout this specification will include every higher numerical limitation, as if such higher numerical limitations were expressly written herein. Every numerical range given throughout this specification will include every narrower numerical range that falls within such broader numerical range, as if such narrower numerical ranges were all expressly written herein.

All parts, ratios, and percentages herein, in the Specification, Examples, and Claims, are by weight and all numerical limits are used with the normal degree of accuracy afforded by the art, unless otherwise specified.

While not intending to limit the utility of the fluid delivery mechanism herein, it is believed that a brief description of its use in association with a modern mopping implement will help elucidate the invention.

Modern cleaning/mopping implements employ disposable sheets or absorbent pads, which are releasably affixed to the head of the implement, and which can conveniently be discarded and replaced after soiling. Even more modern implements carry their own reservoir of detersive liquid, thereby greatly enhancing their usefulness and convenience. In use, the cleaning composition, preferably in a liquid form, is dispensed onto the surface being cleaned via a liquid delivery mechanism. This liquid delivery mechanism is connected or connectable to the handle of the implement and is preferably located within a housing. Some cleaning implements include a continuous tube connecting the liquid delivery mechanism to a nozzle such that the tube is located within the handle of the implement in order to protect this tube during the cleaning operation. Because this tube is continuous, the length of the section of the handle including the tube (i.e. the mop head and the handle section carrying the liquid delivery mechanism) controls the length of the package that is used to store and sell the cleaning implement.

In order to reduce the size of this package, the inventors have found that the lower section can also be segmented such that the mop head is separated from the portion of the handle carrying the liquid delivery mechanism when the implement is placed in a package.

As will be seen from the disclosure, providing a cleaning implement whose mop head is disconnected from the liquid delivery mechanism (in a packaged form) and establishing a liquid communication between a nozzle and the liquid delivery mechanism results in several problems whose solutions are non-trivial.

A first problem faced by the manufacturer is that once the cleaning implement is removed from its package, a user has to be able to connect mechanically the mop head portion to the handle section.

Another problem faced by the manufacturer is that the liquid communication between a nozzle and the liquid delivery mechanism has to be either maintained while the mop head is separated, or established when the mop head is attached to the handle section by a user.

The foregoing considerations are addressed by the present invention, as will be clear from the detailed disclosures which follow.

Reference will now be made in detail to the present preferred embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings wherein like numerals indicate the same elements throughout the views and wherein reference numerals having the same last two digits (e.g., 20 and 120) connote similar elements.

I. Cleaning Implement

FIG. 1 shows an assembled cleaning implement 10 including a mop head 20 that is connected to a handle 30, a housing 40 for receiving a container 50 that is filled with a cleaning composition.

In one embodiment, the handle 30 is segmented such that it includes a plurality of handle sections and preferably includes four handle sections 130, 230, 330 and 430. In one embodiment, each handle section includes a proximal and a distal end. In one embodiment, the proximal end 1130 of the first handle section 130 can be pivotably connected to the mop head 20 and the distal 2130 end can be mechanically connectable the proximal end 1230 of a second handle section 230. By “mechanically connectable” it is meant that the handle sections are not connected and/or attached when the cleaning implement is in a package but once a user has removed the handle sections from the package, these handle sections can be connected and/or attached by the user either permanently or releasably. Two handle sections can be mechanically connected via any connecting and/or locking mechanism known in the art. Non-limiting examples of connecting mechanisms include male section for engaging a corresponding female section (e.g., swagged or tapered pole), screw-thread connecting mechanism, biased push-button and the like.

In one embodiment, the distal end 2230 of the second handle section 230 is mechanically connectable to the proximal end 1330 of a third handle section 330 and the distal end 2330 of the third handle section 330 is mechanically connectable to the proximal end 1430 of a fourth handle section 430. It will be understood that a cleaning implement can have fewer or more handle sections and still provide the same benefits.

In one embodiment, the housing 40 can be connected to the second handle section 230. As previously discussed, the housing 40 can receive at least a portion of a container 50 for retaining this container during the cleaning operation. In a preferred embodiment, the liquid delivery mechanism is located within the housing 40 in order to protect the liquid delivery mechanism during the cleaning operation and to prevent accidental actuation of the delivery mechanism. The liquid delivery mechanism can be any mechanism known in the art, which allows a user to controllably dispense the cleaning solution stored in the container 50 to a nozzle 60 and onto the surface to be cleaned, preferably in front of the mop head. Non-limiting examples of liquid delivery mechanisms include gravity type mechanisms, motorized mechanisms, pump mechanisms, and aerosol type or pressurized mechanisms.

In one embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the nozzle 60 is in fluid communication with the liquid delivery mechanism. The nozzle can be any nozzle known in the art capable of dispensing a cleaning solution onto a surface to be cleaned. In a preferred embodiment, the nozzle is fluidically connected to the liquid delivery mechanism via a fluid transfer tube 70. The fluid transfer tube 70 is preferably located within the first handle section 130, the second handle section 230 and the housing 40 when the first handle section 130 is mechanically connected to the second handle section 230. In a preferred embodiment, the mop head 20 is pivotably connected to the first handle section 130 via a universal joint 80 and the fluid transfer tube 70 is preferably located within the universal joint 80 as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,988,920 to Kunkler et al., issued Nov. 23, 1999, and assigned to The Procter & Gamble Company.

In one embodiment, the fluid transfer tube 70 is made of a flexible and/or bendable material such that the fluid transfer tube 70 can be folded without any substantially damage to the fluid transfer tube. Non-limiting examples of flexible and/or bendable material suitable for conveying a fluid in a substantially leak-tight manner include natural and synthetic rubbers, elastomeric materials, silicone type materials, Polyurethane, Poly Vinyl Chloride, Polyethylene, Polypropylene, metallocene catalyzed resins, and any mixtures thereof.

In one embodiment, the length of the fluid transfer tube 70 is such that a continuous fluid communication exist between the liquid delivery mechanism and the nozzle 60 when the first handle section 130 is not mechanically connected to the second handle section 230. One skilled in the art will understand that in order to provide a continuous fluid communication between the liquid delivery mechanism and the nozzle while allowing the first handle section 130 to be disconnected from the second handle section 230, the length of the fluid transfer tube 70 is preferably greater than the minimal length of the fluid transfer tube required to provide a fluid communication between liquid delivery mechanism to the nozzle.

In one embodiment, the fluid transfer tube 70 includes a slack portion 170. In one embodiment, the length of the slack portion is at least about 3 mm, preferably at least about 6 mm, more preferably at least about 10 mm. In one embodiment, the length of the slack portion 170 is less than about 100 mm, preferably less than about 50 mm, more preferably less than about 25 mm. The length of the slack portion 170 can be measured in between the edges of the distal end 2130 of the first handle section 130 and the proximal end 1230 of the second handle section 230 by aligning the first and second handle sections 130 and 230 and pulling them apart without disconnecting or cutting the fluid transfer tube 70 such that the slack portion 170 is substantially straight. In one embodiment, the slack portion 170 can be protected against damage caused by the edges of the first and second handle sections by an outer cover made of a wire mesh. One skilled in the art will understand that the slack portion 170 allows the mop head 20 and the first handle section 130 to be placed along the second handle section 230 and the housing 40 in a package. Consequently, the size of the unassembled cleaning implement is reduced and the implement can be stored in a smaller package in comparison to a cleaning implement which does not include a mop head disconnected from the housing such as the one shown in FIG. 3. The cleaning implement shown in FIG. 3 includes a first continuous handle section 132, which is pivotably connected to a mop head 20 and a housing 40 which is connected to the first continuous handle section 132.

When a user removes the unassembled cleaning implement shown in FIG. 2 from its package, the user can very simply assemble the implement by mechanically connecting the handle sections 130, 230, 330 and 430. When the user mechanically connects the first and second handle sections 130 and 230, the flexible and bending properties of material used for the fluid transfer tube 70 allows the fluid transfer tube to bend inside the first handle section 130 and/or the second handle section 230. In order to assist the user, the fluid delivery tube can be tensioned by a spring which allows the tube to retract within the handle sections.

In one embodiment shown in FIG. 4, a cleaning implement 10 can have a first handle section 130 that is disconnected from the second handle section 230 such that the liquid delivery mechanism is not in fluid communication with the nozzle 60 when the cleaning implement is not assembled. When a user mechanically connects the first handle section 130 to the second handle section 230, a fluid communication is established between the nozzle 60 and the liquid delivery mechanism located in the housing 40. In one embodiment, the cleaning implement can have a fluid connecting member for establishing a fluid communication between the nozzle 60 and the liquid delivery mechanism.

FIG. 5 shows a partial cross section of the first handle section 130 connected to the second handle section 230 and the fluid connecting member 90.

In one embodiment, the fluid connecting member 90 includes a receiving element 190 and an engaging element 290. In one embodiment, the receiving element 190 is connected to the first handle section 130 and the engaging element 290 is connected to the second handle section 230. In a preferred embodiment, the receiving element 190 is fixedly connected to the first handle section 130 and the engaging element 290 is fixedly connected to the second handle section 230.

In one embodiment, the receiving element 190 includes a female portion 1190 connected to a first tubular portion 2190 such that a fluid can flow from the female portion 1190 to the tubular portion 2190. A first fluid transfer tube 73, which is preferably located within the first handle section 130, provides fluid communication between the first tubular portion 2190 and the nozzle 60.

In one embodiment, the receiving element 190 is attached to the distal end of the first handle section 130. The receiving element 190 can be connected to a locking element 390 which allows the first handle section 130 to be attached to the second handle section 230. The locking element 390 includes a substantially cylindrical body 1390 and a protrusion 2390 biasably connected to the cylindrical body 1390. In one embodiment, the first tubular portion 2190 extends through the cylindrical body 1390. In one embodiment, the protrusion 2390 of the locking element extends through an opening 3130 of the first handle section 130 thereby maintaining the locking element 390 attached to the first handle section 130. In one embodiment, the protrusion 2390 is capable of extending at least partially through an opening 3230 of the second handle section 230 when a user inserts the distal end 2130 of the first handle section 130 through the proximal end 1230 of the second handle section 230.

In one embodiment, the engaging element 290 includes a male portion 1290 for engaging the female portion 1190 of the receiving element 190. The male portion 1290 can be connected to a middle portion 2290 and a second tubular portion 3290 can be connected to the middle portion 2290 such that a fluid can flow from the second tubular portion 3290 to the male portion 1290. A second fluid transfer tube 76, which is located within the second handle section 230, provides fluid communication between the second tubular portion 3290 and the liquid delivery mechanism. In one embodiment, the male portion 1290 includes a seal member 1295 for providing a substantially leak tight fluid communication between the male portion 1290 and the female portion 1190 when the male portion engages the female portion. The seal member 1295 can be any seal know in the art such as for example an O-ring made of rubber. In one embodiment, the middle portion 2290 is fixedly connected to the second handle section 230 such that the male portion 1290 is located within the second handle section 230. One skilled in the art will understand that when the engaging member 290 is located within the second handle section 230, the male portion 1290 is protected by the handle section 230 against accidental damage during transport and/or assembly of the engaging and receiving members.

In one embodiment, the distal portion 2130 is a male portion 2130A for engaging a corresponding female portion of the proximal end 1230 of the second handle section 230. In one embodiment, the first and the second handle sections are substantially cylindrical and the diameter of the distal portion 2130 is smaller than the diameter of the proximal end 2130 such that the distal portion 2130 can be inserted within the proximal portion 1230. In a preferred embodiment, the distal portion 2130 is swaged and/or tapered as disclosed in copending U.S. patent application publication No. 2003/0110584A1 to Clare et al., published Jun. 19, 2003, and assigned to The Procter & Gamble Company.

In a preferred embodiment, the engaging element 290 is located within the proximal portion 1230 of the second handle section 230 and the receiving element 190 is substantially adjacent to the distal edge of the male portion 2130A of the first handle section such that a substantially leak-tight fluid communication is established between the engaging and receiving elements when the male portion 2130A is substantially fully inserted within the female portion of the second handle section 230.

It will be understood that the receiving element 190 can be connected to the second handle section 230 and the engaging element 290 can be connected to the first handle section 130 and still provide the same benefit. Similarly, it will be understood that the distal end 2130 of the first handle section 130 can have a female portion and the proximal end 1230 of the second handle section 230 can have a male portion and still provide the same benefits.

One skilled in the art will understand that when a cleaning implement includes a second handle section 230 having an engaging element 290, it is possible to connect different types of mop heads having a first handle section 130 with a receiving element 190. The mop heads can have different shape and or size in order to give a user the ability to choose a specific mop head depending on the type of surface to be cleaned.

II. Cleaning Kits

Any of the previously discussed cleaning implement having a first handle section disconnected from a second handle section of the implement can be sold as a cleaning kit in a package that is smaller than the package required to store the implement shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 7 shows a picture of two packages side by side. The first package 100 includes an unassembled cleaning implement such as the one shown in FIG. 2 or FIG. 4. The second package 200 includes and unassembled cleaning implement such as the one shown in FIG. 3. It can be immediately appreciated that the package 100 is smaller in size that the package 200.

In one embodiment, a package can include instructions to remove and then assemble the cleaning implement by mechanically connecting consecutive handle sections.

In one embodiment, the cleaning kit can include a cleaning reservoir filled with a cleaning solution and/or at least one disposable cleaning substrate that is releasably attachable to the mop head of the implement.

In one embodiment, the cleaning kit can include at least two mop heads, preferably mop heads having different shape and/or size, each mop head including a first handle section with a receiving element at the distal end of the first handle section such that a user can selectively attach the mop head he or she wishes to the implement.

In one embodiment, a cleaning kit can further include at least one extension section for increasing the total length of handle.

FIG. 8 shows a cross section of an extension section 530 that can be included in a cleaning kit.

The extension section 530 is preferably not mechanically connected to either the first handle section 130 or the second handle section 230 of the cleaning implement when the implement is in a package.

In one embodiment, the extension section 530 has a proximal end 1530 with an engaging element 295 and a distal end 2530 with a receiving element 195 as previously discussed. In one embodiment, the engaging element 295 is fluidically connected to the receiving element 195 by a fluid transfer tube 75 located within the extension section. The proximal end 1530 of the extension handle 530 is mechanically connectable to the distal end 2130 of the first handle section 130 of the implement and the distal end 2530 of the extension handle is mechanically connectable to the proximal end 1230 of a second handle section 230. Among other benefits, this cleaning kit allows a user to increase the length of the handle without increasing the size of the package used to store or sell the cleaning implement.

III. Miscellaneous

In one embodiment, the handle section can be made of wood, plastic or metal. In a preferred embodiment, the handle sections are made of aluminum.

In one embodiment, the mop head 20 of the implement includes fastening members for releasably retaining a disposable absorbent cleaning substrate thereabout. The fastening members can be any mechanism for releasably retaining a disposable cleaning substrate to the mop head of the implement. Non-limiting examples of fastening members include flexible slitted structures, hook or loop fasteners, clips or clamps. Suitable slitted structures are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,651,290 to Kingry et al., issued Nov. 25, 2003, and assigned to The Procter & Gamble Company.

The disposable cleaning substrate can be any cleaning substrate known in the art. A disposable cleaning substrate preferably includes an absorbent layer for removing a liquid from a surface being cleaned. Non-limiting examples of suitable cleaning substrates are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,048,123, 6,003,191, 5,960,508, 6,101,661, 2003/0126710A1, copending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/700,988 to Policicchio et al., filed Nov. 4, 2003, and copending U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/477,669 to Policicchio et al. filed Jun. 11, 2003, all assigned to The Procter & Gamble Company.

FIG. 9 shows a partial cross section of a suitable liquid delivery mechanism for controllably dispensing the cleaning solution stored in a reservoir onto the surface to be cleaned and which is located within a housing.

The liquid delivery mechanism 300 can have a flexible membrane 1300 for receiving at least a portion of a cap 400 which is connected to an inverted container 50. The liquid delivery mechanism also include a projection element 2300 for engaging a fluid delivery check valve 1400 biasably connected to the cap 400. The projection element 2300 can be fluidically connected to a tube 76 which is internally located within a handle section 230 and the housing 40. An upward motion of a lever member 3300 causes the projection element 2300 to engage and open the fluid delivery check valve 1400 and, as a result, the cleaning composition stored with the container 50 flows by gravity into the tube 76.

The liquid delivery mechanism is described in greater details in copending U.S. patent application Ser/ No. 10/658,031 to Höfte et al., filed Sep. 9, 2003, and assigned to The Procter & Gamble Company.

Although the nozzle is preferably connected to the mop head, the nozzle can also be connected and or connectable directly to the handle of the implement and still provide the same benefits.

The cleaning implements previously described include a liquid delivery mechanism for controllably dispensing a cleaning composition onto a surface to be cleaned. However, one skilled in the art will appreciate that the previously discussed mechanisms and cleaning kits can also be used with other type of cleaning implements having a fluid transfer mechanism capable of transferring a fluid, either liquid or gaseous, from a container to a nozzle or from a nozzle to the container or from a first container to a second container.

In one embodiment, a fluid transfer mechanism can be a vacuum mechanism that is fluidically connected to a suction nozzle adjacent to the leading edge of a mop head. One example of cleaning implement including a mop head (used with a disposable cleaning sheet) and a vacuum mechanism is the DIRT DEVIL® SWEEPER-VAC™ sold by The Royal Company.

While particular embodiments of the subject invention have been described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications of the subject invention can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. In addition, while the present invention has been described in connection with certain specific embodiments thereof, it is to be understood that this is not by way of limitation and the scope of the invention is defined by the appended claims which should be construed as broadly as the prior art will permit.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8241427Apr 29, 2008Aug 14, 2012Diversey, Inc.Floor maintenance tool and method
EP2142063A2 *Apr 29, 2008Jan 13, 2010JohnsonDiversey, Inc.Floor maintenance tool and method
WO2008137414A2 *Apr 29, 2008Nov 13, 2008Johnson Diversey IncFloor maintenance tool and method
Classifications
U.S. Classification401/139, 401/138
International ClassificationA47L13/30, A47L13/22
Cooperative ClassificationA47L13/22, A47L13/51
European ClassificationA47L13/22, A47L13/51
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 26, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY, THE, OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MENSINK, JOHANNES LAMBERTUS MARIA;HOFTE, PAULUS ANTONIUSAUGUSTINUS;MORTLAND, KIM MOREY;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:016940/0092;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050315 TO 20050526
Owner name: PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY, THE, OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MENSINK, JOHANNES LAMBERTUS MARIA;HOFTE, PAULUS ANTONIUSAUGUSTINUS;MORTLAND, KIM MOREY;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:016943/0319;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050315 TO 20050526