US 3399955 A
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United States Patent "ice 3,399,955 METHOD FOR STERILIZING CLOTHING AND THE LIKE IN A BAG WITH A STERILIZING FLUID Merle A. Zimmerman, 3930 Merwin St., Shreveport, La. 71109 N0 Drawing. Filed July 30, 1964, Ser. No. 386,414
3 Claims. (Cl. 21-58) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A method for sterilizing articles such as shoes or clothing or the like whereby such article is wetted with a sterilizing fluid having a relatively low degree of toxicity and is then sealed in a container from which the air is evacuated for a suflicient period of time to kill the fungi and the spore of such fungi present in the articles in the container.
The present invention relates to a method for enabling an individual to easily sterilize various articles such as clothing, shoes, bedclothes and other similar articles in a relatively simple manner with a sterilizing agent having a relatively low degree of toxicity and which is safe for home use.
At the present time, there is not commercially available any suitable method for home use whereby a person may safely sterilize various articles of clothing such as shoes or other articles such as bedclothing and the like. A great deal of difficulty is experienced particularly by people who frequent public or semipublic places for the purpose of engaging in exercise or athletic endeavors in that certain fungi or bacteria which cause rashes are diflicult to combat or destroy. For example, a great deal of trouble is experienced by the average golfer and other athletes withathletes foot,v and the present invention provides a relatively simple method whereby an individual may safe ly sterilize articles of clothing and shoes or other articles to kill bacteria or fungi to prevent rashes or other irritating infections with a sterilizing fluid having a relatively low degree of toxicity.
An object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved method for sterilizing articles such as shoes or clothing or bedclothing and the like whereby a sterilizing agent having a low degree of toxicity suitable for home use may be employed.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved method for sterilizing articles of clothing, bedclothes and the like wherein such article is wetted with a sterilizing fluid having a relatively low degree of toxicity and is then sealed in a container from which the air is evacuated for a sufiicient period of time to kill the fungi and the spore of such fungi present in the articles in the bag.
And still a further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved method for killing fungi and the spore of such fungi in articles of clothing or the like whereby such articles are wetted with a liquid having a low degree of toxicity and are then placed in an airtight container from which substantially all of the air is then purged and the container is thereafter closed to prevent evaporation of the liquid sterilizing agent so as to kill any aerobic bacteria or spore thereof present in the articles in the container.
And still a further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved method for sterilizing articles such as shoes or clothing or the like wherein such articles are thoroughly wetted with a liquid sterilizing fluid and placed in a substantially airtight container or bag from which the air is purged by spraying sterilizing 3,399,955 Patented Sept. 3, 1968 fluid and inert gas into the bag and in which the articles are allowed to remain sealed in the bag for a period of twenty-four hours or more so as to kill the bacteria and the spore of the aerobic fungi in the articles.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent from a consideration of the following description and explanation.
The present invention relates to and is an improvement on the invention disclosed in my prior copending application entitled Method and Apparatus For Sterilizing Clothing and the Like in a Bag With a Sterilizing Flui bearing Ser. No. 267,722, filed on Mar. 25, 1963, and now abandoned.
In practicing the method of the present invention a substantially airtight envelope or container is used for receiving and storing the articles being sterilized during the sterilization. Preferably a bag or sack formed of plastic, rubber, coated paper or fabric or some other similar material which is substantially impervious to the sterilizing fluids is to be utilized in practicing the method of the present invention, the exact material or construction of which the bag or sack is formed is not critical. However, in order to be suitable for home use such a container should be sufiiciently flexible to enable the major portion of the air to be purged or evacuated therefrom after the articles to be sterilized have been placed therein by squeezing the bag or container. Also, such bag or container should have a suitable opening formed therein to enable the article to be easily inserted into and removed from the bag and also, such opening should have a closure means such as the slide fastener device of my c0- pending application entitled, Slide Fastener Apparatus for Forming an Airtight Closure, filed July 15, 1964, bearing Ser. No. 382,902 and now US. Patent No. 3,259,- 951, or some other suitable type of closure means to enable the opening in the bag to be quickly and easily closed to form a substantially airtight seal.
According to the method of the present invention the article to be disinfected or sterilized is thoroughly wetted with a disinfectant having a relatively low degree of toxicity which is suitable for home use. The disinfecting fluid may contain ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, metacresyl acetate, naphtha, or other suitable sterilizing agents or mixtures of the above listed disinfectants together or with other suitable sterilizing agents having a relatively low degree of toxicity. The desired sterilizing fluid may be sprayed or sprinkled or poured onto the article to be sterilized or, if it is desired, the article may be dipped in the disinfecting solution to thoroughly wet the areas of the article to be disinfected.
Thereafter, the article is placed in the bag or container in which the sterilizing operation is to be conducted or, if it is desired, the article may be placed in the bag before the article is wetted. However, in either event, with the wetted article in the sterilizing enclosure, the major portion of the air in the sterilizing enclosure is exhausted or purged therefrom and the bag closed and tightly sealed to provide a substantially airtight container. If it is desired, the bag or container may be further purged of air by spraying sterilizing fluid and inert gas such as freon, carbon dioxide, or nitrogen into the bag.
It has been found that the absence of air alone does not produce sterility in any reasonable length of time and the presence of a small amount of air does not prevent sterilization. While most bacteria are killed in a period of a few minutes or a few hours, in order to kill the spore of various aerobic fungi such as epidermophyton floccosum, tinea rubrum, penicillium and aspergillus with a disinfecting agent having a relatively low degree of toxicity, the fungi should be kept moist with the disinfecting agent for a period ranging from twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Neither commercial dry cleaning nor five minute contact with Clorox solution will kill one hundred percent of these spores.
In the use of the present invention, the sterilizing fluid may be poured or sprayed on the article such as shoes or the like to thoroughly wet the articles that are to be sterilized. Such articles are then placed in a suitable bag or other container which may be collapsed by squeezing or from which the major portion of the air is removed or evacuated by other suitable means. Thereafter, additional amounts of the sterilizing fluid may be placed in the bag or the sterilizing fluid and an inert gas sprayed into the bag. Thereafter, the bag is closed and sealed by a suitable sealing means so as to provide a substantially airtight closure for preventing the evaporation or loss of the disinfectant therefrom. The articles are left in the closed container for periods ranging from twenty-four to forty-eight hours in order to effect thorough sterilization with the low toxicity range disinfectants which are preferable for home use.
From the foregoing description, it can be appreciated that the present invention provides a method whereby the individual user may quickly and easily and also safely disinfect various articles of clothing or articles normally used in the home, such as bedclothing and the like. I have found the present invention especially useful for combatting fungus infections of the foot. Normally, fungi thrive in shoes and socks, and it is substantially impossible to destroy these fungi by washing the feet or the socks with soap and water. The present invention would enable the golfer, for example, to sterilize his shoes after each use with a minimum of effort and would enable him to disinfect his shoes while storing them in a locker at a club or other facility Where articles are normally kept when not in use.
Also, it can be appreciated that the present invention would be especially useful for sterilizing clothing for children, such as diapers and other types of clothing, to combat mildew, mold and bacteria, which normally cause infections such as impetigo, ringworm, and rashes.
Broadly, the present invention relates to a method for sterilizing articles quickly, easily and safely in the home to destroy fungi and bacteria.
What is claimed is 1. A method of sterilizing articles comprising the steps of:
(a) wetting the article to be sterilized with a liquid sterilizing agent having a relatively low toxicity,
(b) placing the article in a bag of substantially impervious material,
(c) squeezing the bag to evacuate substantially all of the air therefrom, and I (d) sealing the bag to prevent loss by evaporation of the liquid sterilizing agent.
2. A method of sterilizing articles comprising ofn (a) wetting the article to be sterilized with a liquid sterilizing agent having a relatively low toxicity,
(b) placing the article in a bag of substantially impervious material,
(0) purging air from the bag,
(d) injecting a mixture of sterilizing fluid and inert gas into the bag, and
(e) closing the bag to prevent evaporation of the liquid sterilizing agent. 3. A method of sterilizing articles comprising the steps of:
(a) wetting the article to be sterilized with a liquid sterilizing agent having a relatively low toxicity, (b) placing the article in a bag of substantially impervious material,
(0) injecting a mixture of inert gas and sterilizing fluid into the bag to purge the air therefrom, and
((1) closing the bag to prevent evaporation of the liquid sterilizing agent.
the steps References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,817,531 8/1931 Spanel 21--58 2,060,23 8 11/1936 Nilson. 2,069,036 1/1937 Howard 2161 OTHER REFERENCES Reddish, G. F. Antiseptics, Disinfectants, Fungicides, and Sterilization, Lea Febiger, Philadelphia 1957 (pp. 377, 417, and 737 relied on).-
Grant, Julius, Hackhs Chemical Dictionary, McGraw- Hill, N.Y. l944(p. 557 relied on).
MORRIS O. WOLK, Primary Examiner.
B. S. RICHMAN, Assistant Examiner.