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US20060000043A1 - Cleaning product for storing and attaching cleaning blocks or wipes - Google Patents

Cleaning product for storing and attaching cleaning blocks or wipes Download PDF

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Publication number
US20060000043A1
US20060000043A1 US10884748 US88474804A US2006000043A1 US 20060000043 A1 US20060000043 A1 US 20060000043A1 US 10884748 US10884748 US 10884748 US 88474804 A US88474804 A US 88474804A US 2006000043 A1 US2006000043 A1 US 2006000043A1
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US
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
cleaning
surface
wipe
foam
body
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US10884748
Inventor
Fung Jou-Chen
Jeffrey Lindsay
Herb Velazquez
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Kimberly-Clark Worldwide Inc
Original Assignee
Kimberly-Clark Worldwide Inc
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L13/00Implements for cleaning floors, carpets, furniture, walls, or wall coverings
    • A47L13/10Scrubbing; Scouring; Cleaning; Polishing
    • A47L13/50Auxiliary implements
    • A47L13/51Storing of cleaning tools, e.g. containers therefor
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L13/00Implements for cleaning floors, carpets, furniture, walls, or wall coverings
    • A47L13/10Scrubbing; Scouring; Cleaning; Polishing
    • A47L13/16Cloths; Pads; Sponges

Abstract

An apparatus for storing and attaching cleaning wipes or cleaning blocks is provided. The apparatus includes a container configured for holding at least one cleaning wipe or block. The container has a body with an attaching surface. An attachment mechanism is included and is configured for attaching the cleaning wipe or block to the attaching surface for use in a cleaning procedure. The container is capable of being grasped to aid in positioning of the cleaning wipe or block during the cleaning procedure.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • [0001]
    Cleaning applications employ cleaning products, such as towels, in order to remove dirt and other unwanted elements from surfaces. In some instances the cleaning product may be a urethane foam or a cellulose sponge which may be used in order to wipe a surface clean. The cleaning product may be configured with bristles or grit disposed thereon in order to aid in cleaning.
  • [0002]
    Cleaning products can be configured to work when in a dry state in order to clean the surface, or may be designed to work in a wet state so that the cleaning product is wet to some degree when cleaning the surface. A detergent may be used with the cleaning product in order to assist in breaking up dirt and other unwanted elements so that the surface may be cleaned. It is sometimes the case that dirt or other unwanted elements cannot be sufficiently removed from a surface even when a cleaning product is properly applied. Applying the cleaning product too aggressively may result in the surface being damaged, and may still not result in the removal of dirt or unwanted elements from the surface. Examples of difficult to clean materials include crayon on walls, scuff marks from shoes on floors, permanent magic marker markings on a variety of surfaces such as dry erase boards, stains on porcelain or ceramics including dentures, grease and oil spots on numerous surfaces, hard water spots and soap scum on tile, biofilms on metal and plastic surfaces, mildew and fungus growths on numerous surfaces, and other forms of dirt, grime, or other unwanted elements from various surfaces.
  • [0003]
    Melamine-based foam has been recognized as having useful cleaning properties when wetted with water and rubbed against certain surfaces to be cleaned, and have been marketed in several countries for such purposes. Melamine-based foam has an open-celled, microporous structure. Melamine-based foam is abrasive in that when rubbed across a surface, dirt and other unwanted elements will be removed. Particles of the melamine-based foam may break off due to this abrasive contact. Over time, the melamine-based foam will be worn down due to repeated abrasion with the surface to be cleaned and the unwanted elements present on this surface.
  • [0004]
    Melamine-based foam may be used to clean a surface when in a wet state. In this regard, the melamine-based foam may be soaked with water to some degree prior to being applied by a user to the surface to be cleaned. A block of melamine-based foam by itself is sometimes used as a cleaning product. In this regard, the user may grasp the block of melamine-based foam, wet the block in water, and then rub the wetted melamine-based foam across a surface to remove dirt and unwanted elements.
  • [0005]
    Alternatively, a cleaning wipe may be provided that includes a layer of melamine-based foam attached to a backing layer such as a web for use in cleaning a surface. The web may be a non-woven web and the melamine-based foam may be attached to the web in a variety of manners, for instance the melamine-based foam may be laminated to the web. Additionally, multiple layers of melamine-based foam and web backing may be provided to achieve various functionality such as allowing for the replacement of a worn out sheet of melamine-based foam and web backing. Further, cleaning wipes may be provided that employ other relatively brittle foams such as phenolic foams. Still further, cleaning wipes are in use that do not incorporate any type of foam therein.
  • [0006]
    Cleaning products such as blocks and cleaning wipes, including those that incorporate melamine-based foam, suffer from excessive and nonuniform wear at a few pressure points where the fingers of the user selectively depress the product when in use. Due to nonuniform wear, a user may prematurely discard the product even though other portions of the product have experienced little wear or are unused. At such time, the user will have to travel to a second location to retrieve a new cleaning product to continue cleaning.
  • [0007]
    Another problem exists when the user selectively depresses only certain portions of a cleaning product. For instance, if a cleaning wipe that incorporates a melamine-based foam was applied to remove a crayon mark, the fingers of the user will apply pressure to the foam in the vicinity of the mark. After removal, crayon will be plainly visible in a highly soiled, isolated spot on the foam. This allows for the possibility of secondary transfer of the crayon to a previously unsoiled clean surface, the hands of the user, or to another soiled surface that is to be cleaned.
  • [0008]
    The present invention improves upon known cleaning products by providing for a cleaning product that acts as both a storage container for cleaning blocks or wipes and as a gripping member that is capable of holding the blocks or wipes during cleaning. A user may grasp the cleaning product and move the cleaning block or wipe over a surface in a uniform manner that provides for more uniform wear and soiling of the block or wipe due to the backing action provided by the cleaning product. Application of uniform pressure allows for the unwanted material to be more uniformly spread over the cleaning block or foam such that it is less visible. Cleaning with uniform pressure extends the life of the cleaning block or wipe, improves comfort, decreases soiling or wetting of the hands, and improves convenience.
  • [0009]
    Additionally, the ability of the cleaning product to store cleaning blocks or wipes allows for the user to continue cleaning without having to move to a separate location to retrieve a new cleaning block or wipe. Also, the user will be able to ascertain the exact amount of cleaning blocks or wipes available for use during cleaning since the cleaning products are stored on hand. This feature increases convenience and allows for a decrease in the amount of time spent cleaning.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0010]
    Various features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in part in the following description, or may be obvious from the description, or may be learned from practice of the invention.
  • [0011]
    The present invention provides for an apparatus for storing and attaching cleaning wipes. The apparatus includes a container configured for holding at least one cleaning wipe with a body that has an attaching surface. The apparatus also includes an attachment mechanism that is configured for attaching a cleaning wipe to the attaching surface of the body. The container is capable of being grasped by a user to aid in positioning of the cleaning wipe during a cleaning procedure.
  • [0012]
    The present invention also provides for an apparatus for storing and attaching cleaning wipes that includes a container with a body that defines an interior space that is configured for storing a plurality of cleaning wipes. The container has a lid that is configured to be opened and closed in order to allow and to prevent access through the body to the interior space. An attachment mechanism is configured for attaching a cleaning wipe to an attaching surface of the body so that the container acts as a handle for use in applying the cleaning wipe to a surface.
  • [0013]
    The present invention also provides for an apparatus that may store and attach articles other than cleaning wipes. For instance, the present invention provides for an apparatus that includes a container that is configured for holding at least one cleaning block. An attachment mechanism is configured for attaching the cleaning block to an attaching surface of the body for use in a cleaning procedure. Again, the container is capable of being grasped in order to aid in positioning of the cleaning block during a cleaning procedure.
  • [0014]
    When configured with a lid, the lid may be configured so as to be completely removed from the body when opened, or the lid may be configured so as to be contiguous with the body when both opened and closed. The lid may be attached to the body in a variety of manners. For instance, the lid may be hingedly attached to the body and pivot with respect to the body in order to open and close. Alternatively, the lid may be in sliding engagement with the body so that the lid is slid into both the open and closed positions. In another embodiment of the present invention, the lid may include at least one flexible flap that is configured to flex upon the application of a force in order to open and to return to the closed position when the force is removed.
  • [0015]
    The lid may be securingly engaged to the body in a variety of manners in accordance with different exemplary embodiments of the present invention. For instance, the lid may be snap-fit onto the body when closed. Alternatively, the lid may be attached to the body with a hook and loop type fastener when closed. The lid may also be configured so as to form a watertight seal when closed in order to prevent liquid from escaping or entering the interior space of the container.
  • [0016]
    The attachment mechanism of the present apparatus may be configured in a variety of manners in accordance with various exemplary embodiments of the present invention. For instance, the attachment mechanism may be configured in order to allow the cleaning wipe to be removed from attachment with the attaching surface, or alternatively the attachment mechanism may be configured for permanently attaching the cleaning wipe to the attaching surface. The attachment mechanism may be an adhesive in order to attach the cleaning wipe to the attaching surface. The attachment mechanism may also be a hook and loop type fastener in which either the hook or the loop elements are attached to the attaching surface and the other of the hook or the loop elements are attached to the cleaning wipes. The attachment mechanism may also be a gecko-type fastener, a pressure sensitive adhesive, a mechanical fastener, a foam adhesive element, or a magnetic fastener in accordance with various exemplary embodiments.
  • [0017]
    The apparatus may assume a variety of shapes in accordance with various exemplary embodiments of the present invention. For instance, the apparatus may be rectangular in shape, square shaped, circular shaped, or provided with one or more contoured surfaces. The attaching surface of the body may also be configured in a variety of shapes. For instance, the attaching surface may be flat in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0018]
    The present invention also provides for an apparatus as discussed above that further includes a plurality of cleaning wipes that are configured to be stored in the interior space and are configured to be attached to the cleaning surface. The cleaning wipes include a melamine-based foam that is configured for contacting and cleaning a surface to be cleaned. A web is attached to the melamine-based foam and is contiguous with the attaching surface when the cleaning wipe is attached to the attaching surface.
  • [0019]
    The present invention also provides for an apparatus as discussed above where the body has a spine that is configured for removable attachment with at least one cleaning wipe. In a further exemplary embodiment, the container may have a handle that is connected to the body so as to be grasped by a user in order to position the apparatus.
  • [0020]
    When configured to be used with a cleaning block, the cleaning block may be a block of melamine-based foam. Additionally, the cleaning block may be provided in a variety of shapes. For instance, the cleaning block may be rectangular, square, cylindrical, or oval shaped.
  • [0021]
    The present invention also provides for an apparatus for storing and attaching cleaning wipes that includes a plurality of cleaning wipes that are configured for cleaning a surface. The apparatus also includes a container that has a body with a flat attaching surface and that defines an interior space configured for storing a plurality of cleaning wipes. The container has a lid that is configured to be opened and closed in order to allow and prevent access through the body to the interior space. The lid is snap-fit onto the body when closed and forms a watertight seal in order to prevent liquid from escaping or entering the interior space. A hook and loop type fastener is provided and is configured for attaching one of the cleaning wipes to the attaching surface so that the container acts as a handle for use in applying the cleaning wipe to a surface to be cleaned. One of the hook or the loop elements are attached to the attaching surface and the other of the hook or the loop elements are attached to the cleaning wipes. The hook and loop type fastener is configured for allowing the cleaning wipe to be removed from the attaching surface.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
  • [0022]
    A full and enabling disclosure of the present invention, including the best mode thereof, directed to one of ordinary skill in the art, is set forth more particularly in the remainder of the specification, which makes reference to the appended figures in which:
  • [0023]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a cleaning product used in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention that has a cleaning wipe attached thereto.
  • [0024]
    FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the cleaning product of FIG. 1 in which the lid is removed therefrom in order to provide access to the interior space of the container.
  • [0025]
    FIG. 3 is a side view of a cleaning product in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention in which the lid is attached to the body of the container by way of a hinge such that the lid may be pivoted to open.
  • [0026]
    FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a cleaning product in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention in which the lid is in sliding engagement with the body such that the lid may be slid into the open position to allow access to the interior space of the container.
  • [0027]
    FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a cleaning product in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention that includes a depression configured for receiving the hand of a user in order to allow the user to grip the container. The container includes flexible flaps on the side of the container to provide access to the interior space.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a cleaning product used in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention in which the body of the container has a contoured shape. The lid is hinged to the body and retained thereon through a snap-fit connection.
  • [0029]
    FIGS. 7A-7G are top views of cleaning products in accordance with various exemplary embodiments of the present invention that demonstrate different shapes into which the cleaning product may be formed.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a cleaning product in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention in which the cleaning wipes are not retained within an interior space but are instead attached to the body through a perforated connection.
  • [0031]
    FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a cleaning product in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention in which cleaning wipes are attached to an attaching surface of the body by way of a hook and loop type fastener.
  • [0032]
    FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a cleaning product in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention in which cleaning wipes may be attached to the attaching surface of the body by way of a series of gecko-type fasteners located on the attaching surface.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a cleaning product in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention in which the cleaning wipes are attached to the attaching surface by way of a pair of grippers located on opposite sides of the body of the container.
  • [0034]
    FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a cleaning product in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention in which a cleaning block having magnetic strips may be attached to a magnetic attaching surface.
  • [0035]
    FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a cleaning product in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention in which a second lid is present on the container and in which a pouch is located in the interior space that holds an active ingredient useful in enhancing cleaning.
  • [0036]
    FIG. 14 is a perspective view of a cleaning product in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention that includes a spray mechanism configured for dispensing a fluid, such as water, useful in enhancing cleaning.
  • [0037]
    FIG. 15 is a perspective view of a cleaning product in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention in which the container is in the shape of an eraser.
  • [0038]
    FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a cleaning product in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention in which the container has two rounded ends each having a different radius of curvature.
  • [0039]
    FIG. 17 is a perspective view of a cleaning product in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention in which the lid has a pair of tabs to aid in opening.
  • [0040]
    FIG. 18 is a perspective view of a cleaning product in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention in which the lid has beveled edges and the container has concave sides.
  • [0041]
    FIG. 19 is a perspective view of a cleaning product in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention in which the container is in the shape of a mailbox.
  • [0042]
    Repeat use of reference characters in the present specification and drawings is intended to represent same or analogous features or elements of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0043]
    Reference will now be made in detail to embodiments of the invention, one or more examples of which are illustrated in the drawings. Each example is provided by way of explanation of the invention, and not meant as a limitation of the invention. For example, features illustrated or described as part of one embodiment can be used with another embodiment to yield still a third embodiment. It is intended that the present invention include these and other modifications and variations.
  • [0044]
    It is to be understood that the ranges and limits mentioned herein include all ranges located within, and also all values located under or above the prescribed limits. For instance, a range from 100 to 200 also includes ranges from 110 to 150, 170 to 190, and 153 to 162. Further, a limit of up to about 7 also includes a limit of up to about 5, up to about 3, and up to about 4.5.
  • [0045]
    Referring to FIG. 1, the present invention provides for a cleaning product 10 that is capable of both storing and gripping a cleaning member such as a cleaning wipe 18. The cleaning product 10 may include a container 12 into which the cleaning wipes 18 are stored and an attaching surface 20 onto which the cleaning wipes 18 are attached via an attachment mechanism 24. Attachment of the cleaning wipes 18 to the attaching surface 20 allows for the user to grip the container 12 and move the cleaning wipe 18 over a surface to be cleaned in a uniform manner that provides for more uniform wear and soiling of the cleaning wipe 18. Cleaning in this manner improves cleaning performance and lengthens the life of the cleaning wipe 18. Storage of the cleaning wipes 18 in the container 12 allows for the user to retrieve a fresh cleaning wipe 18 without having to travel to a second location and also allows the user to ascertain the exact amount of cleaning wipes 18 remaining on hand.
  • [0046]
    The cleaning product 10 may be configured in a variety of manners in accordance with various exemplary embodiments of the present invention. FIGS. 1 and 2 show one such configuration in which the container 12 includes a body 14 that is substantially rectangular in shape. Body 14 defines an interior space 16 into which one or more cleaning wipes 18 may be positioned. The cleaning wipes 18 may be stacked either vertically or horizontally in interior space 16. Additionally, several different stacks of the cleaning wipes 18 can be formed inside of interior space 16. Container 12 may include a lid 22 that is removed as shown in FIG. 2 in order to provide access to the interior space 16 and hence allow one to remove the cleaning wipes 18. In the embodiment shown, lid 22 is configured to be completely removed from body 14 when opened. However, in accordance with later described exemplary embodiments of the present invention, lid 22 may be configured so as to remain attached to body 14 after opening.
  • [0047]
    Lid 22 is attached to body 14 by way of a snap-fit connection 27. Snap-fit connection 27 includes four male snap-fit members 28 located on lid 22 that are received in complementary female snap-fit members 30 on body 14. Although shown using four male snap-fit members 28 and four female snap-fit members 30, it is to be understood that in accordance with various exemplary embodiments of the present invention fewer or more of these members 28, 30 may be employed in order to effect attachment of lid 22 to body 14. The construction of such a snap-fit connection 27 is well known to one of ordinary skill in the art, and it is to be understood that the present invention includes various modifications to the shape, size, and configuration of the male and female snap-fit members 28, 30 as is known in the art.
  • [0048]
    Attachment mechanism 24 may be an adhesive 86 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. In this instance, a user may simply locate the cleaning wipe 18 proximate to attaching surface 20 and move the cleaning wipe 18 into engagement with adhesive 86 hence causing attachment of the cleaning wipe 18 to attaching surface 20. Once removal of cleaning wipe 18 is desired, a user may peel cleaning wipe 18 from the adhesive 86 hence removing the cleaning wipe 18 from the attaching surface 20. A user may then obtain a fresh cleaning wipe 18 from the container 12 and apply the fresh cleaning wipe 18 onto adhesive 86 in order to retain the cleaning wipe 18 and allow for one to continue or start cleaning.
  • [0049]
    FIG. 3 shows an exemplary embodiment of the cleaning product 10 in which the lid 22 remains attached to, and pivots with respect to, body 14 after opening through use of a hinge 26. Hinge 26 may be selected so as to allow lid 22 to rotate any arc distance with respect to the top of body 14. Additionally, hinge 26 may be selected so that lid 22 rotates freely with respect to body 14, or hinge 26 may be selected so that a coil spring or other member acts against the force of opening lid 22 and acts to urge lid 22 back into the closed position.
  • [0050]
    In order to aid in retaining lid 22 in the closed position, a hook and loop type fastener 32 is employed on one end of lid 22 and body 14. Hook and loop type fastener 32 includes a plurality of hooks 34 attached to the underside of lid 22 that are configured to engage and be retained by a plurality of loops 36 attached to an upper portion of body 14. Such hook and loop type fasteners 32 are well known in the art, and the hook and loop type fastener 32 employed can be variously configured in accordance with other exemplary embodiments of the present invention. For instance, the loops 36 may be positioned on lid 22 and the hooks 34 may be positioned on body 14 in a different embodiment of cleaning product 10. Hook and loop type fastener 32 may be selected so as to open upon the application of a predetermined and desired force.
  • [0051]
    FIG. 4 shows another alternative exemplary embodiment of cleaning product 10 in which lid 22 is alternatively configured. In this instance, lid 22 is in sliding engagement with body 14 such that a user may pull or push pull tab 38 in order to slide lid 22 into the open or closed position. Lid 22 includes a pair of rails 42 that are received in corresponding tracks 40 located on body 14. Rails 42 may have an end portion that is dovetail shaped or otherwise configured so as to retain lid 22 in the same vertical position with respect to body 14. A stop 44 may be provided on body 14 in order to engage a stop 46 positioned on lid 22. Engagement of stops 44, 46 with one another will prevent further displacement of lid 22 with respect to body 14 and hence act to achieve a desired size of the opening into interior space 16. Alternatively, lid 22 may be configured so that stops 44, 46 are not present hence allowing lid 22 to be moved in order to open essentially the entire upper surface of container 12.
  • [0052]
    FIG. 5 shows another embodiment of cleaning product 10 in which four flexible flaps 48 are positioned on one side of body 14. Flexible flaps 48 are configured in order to be biased into the closed position and opened upon the application of a force thereon. For instance, a user may push his or her hand against flexible flaps 48 thus causing flexible flaps 48 to pivot inwardly into interior space 16 and allow the user to gain access to the cleaning wipes 18 stored therein. After removing his or her hand, flexible flaps 48 spring back into the normally closed position through their construction from a resilient material. Flexible flaps 48 may be provided in any number and in any other shape in accordance with various exemplary embodiments of the present invention.
  • [0053]
    The cleaning product 10 in FIG. 5 also includes a body 14 that defines a depression 50 shaped for receipt of a hand of the user. Depression 50 allows for a user to more easily grasp container 12 in order to move container 12 during a cleaning procedure such that the cleaning wipe 18 attached thereto is moved across the soiled surface in a uniform manner. Although depression 50 is shown as being configured for receipt of the fingers, palm, and thumb of a user, depression 50 may be configured differently in accordance with other exemplary embodiments such that only the fingers and thumb are accommodated for receipt. Further, depression 50 may be configured so as to be able to receive the right hand, left hand, or both hands of the user of cleaning product 10. Container 12 may be manufactured by molding in order to form depression 50 into body 14. Additionally, depression 50 may be located on any surface or surfaces of body 14 in accordance with various exemplary embodiments.
  • [0054]
    FIG. 6 shows an alternative configuration of cleaning product 10 in which body 14 is contoured in shape. The contouring of body 14 causes attaching surface 20 to be similarly contoured and hence allow for the attachment of a contoured cleaning wipe 18. However, in accordance with other exemplary embodiments of the present invention, cleaning wipes 18 need not conform to the same size or shape of attaching surface 20. For instance, cleaning wipe 18 may be circular in shape whereas attaching surface 20 is rectangular. Further, cleaning wipe 18 may be smaller than or larger than attaching surface 20.
  • [0055]
    The attaching surface 20 may be of any size or shape, although the attaching surface 20 may be preferably flat in certain exemplary embodiments in order to assist in providing for uniform wiping of the cleaning wipe 18.
  • [0056]
    Referring back to FIG. 6, cleaning product 10 employs a lid 22 that is attached via hinge 26 to body 14. Lid 22 may therefore be pivoted upwards in order to open body 14 and provide access to interior space 16. A snap-fit connection 27 is employed around at least a portion of the perimeter of lid 22 and body 14. Snap-fit connection 27 may be configured as previously discussed with respect to the exemplary embodiment disclosed in FIGS. 1 and 2, and snap-fit connection 27 is used in order to attach lid 22 to body 14 when in the closed position.
  • [0057]
    Lid 22 and container 12 may be made out of any suitable material. For instance, these components may be made out of plastic or rubber in accordance with certain exemplary embodiments. When closed, lid 22 may form a watertight seal in order to prevent liquid from escaping or entering interior space 16. This feature may be beneficial when the cleaning wipes 18 are provided in a moist state. In this case, the watertight seal of lid 22 will prevent the cleaning wipes 18 from prematurely drying out and will in turn extend the life of the cleaning wipes 18. Additionally, should the cleaning wipes 18 be provided in a dry state, the lid 22 and possibly the watertight seal will prevent premature wetting of the cleaning wipes 18 in the interior space 16 again extending the life of cleaning wipes 18.
  • [0058]
    Cleaning product 10 may be formed in a variety of configurations having various sizes and shapes. FIGS. 7A-7G show different plan views of configurations of cleaning product 10 in accordance with various exemplary embodiments of the present invention. As may be seen, cleaning product 10 may be shaped so as to be rectangular, trapezoidal, circular, semi-circular, contoured, etc. The overall three-dimensional shape of the body 14 may be prismatic, such as a cuboid, a prism (e.g., a triangular prism, a pentagonal prism, a hexagonal prism, etc.), a prismatoid, a pyramidal frustum, a parallelepiped, and the like, or rounded, beveled, and/or augmented versions of the same, or versions with concave portions. Any face or plurality or neighboring faces of the shape may serve as the lid 22. The different configurations of cleaning product 10 allow for various additional advantages to be realized. For instance, when rectangular or square shaped so as to have a corner section, cleaning product 10 will allow a user to reach into and clean corners of his or her room. Further, some users may find it more comfortable to grasp a semi-circular cleaning product 10 as opposed to one that is rectangular or circular in shape. Still further, a circular cleaning product 10 may be preferred when used for cleaning around circular objects. As such in accordance with other embodiments of the invention, the attaching surface 20 of body 14 is non-rectangular and the cleaning wipes 18 have a similar non-rectangular shape.
  • [0059]
    Although described as having an interior space 16 into which cleaning wipes 18 are positioned, cleaning product 10 may be configured in order to hold cleaning wipes 18 on the exterior of body 14 such that a lid 22 is not necessary. This type of positioning will eliminate the need of having a user open lid 22 and insert his or her hand into the body 14 in order to retrieve a fresh cleaning wipe 18. FIG. 8 shows one such exemplary embodiment of the present invention in which the cleaning product 10 is configured without an interior space 16. In this instance, a plurality of cleaning wipes 18 are attached to a spine 52 of body 14 by way of a series of perforated connections 56. In order to apply a fresh cleaning wipe 18 to attaching surface 20, a user will grasp and pull the top cleaning wipe 18 in order to break the perforated connection 56 and remove the cleaning wipe 18 from spine 52. Subsequent cleaning wipes 18 may be removed in a similar manner until the supply of cleaning wipes 18 is exhausted. A handle 54 is provided and is attached to spine 52. Handle 54 is able to be grasped by a user and allows the user to maneuver cleaning product 10 so that the attached cleaning wipe 18 may be moved over the surface to be cleaned in a uniform manner. Handle 54 may be simply cylindrically shaped, or may be provided with additional features such as depressions into which a user's hand and/or fingers may be retained in order to provide for an improved grip. Further, handle 54 may have a sleeve placed thereon that is made of a high friction material in order to allow for better grasping. In accordance with one such exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a rubber sleeve may be placed on handle 54 in order to provide for an improved grip.
  • [0060]
    Attachment mechanism 24 may be configured in a variety of manners in order to attach cleaning wipe 18 to attaching surface 20. FIG. 9 shows one such exemplary embodiment of cleaning product 10 in which a hook and loop type fastener 58 is employed in order to attach cleaning wipe 18. In this embodiment, a plurality of hooks 60 are disposed on attaching surface 20 and a plurality of loops 62 are disposed on cleaning wipe 18. A user may position cleaning wipe 18 such that the loops 62 engage and are retained on the hooks 60 causing cleaning wipe 18 to be securely attached to attaching surface 20. At this point, a user may use cleaning product 10 in order to clean a surface by moving cleaning wipe 18 across a surface to be cleaned. After the useful life of cleaning wipe 18 has expired, or if so otherwise desired by a user, cleaning wipe 18 may be pulled by a user such that the loops 62 are pulled from engagement with the hooks 60 hence causing disengagement of cleaning wipe 18 from attaching surface 20. Hooks 60 may be disposed across the entire area of attaching surface 20, or may be limited to smaller discrete portions. Additionally, loops 62 may also be disposed across the entire surface of cleaning wipe 18 or may be positioned at selective locations thereon. In accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, strips of loops 62 are placed on cleaning wipe 18. Further, in accordance with other exemplary embodiments, loops 62 may be instead disposed on attaching surface 20 while hooks 60 are located on cleaning wipe 18.
  • [0061]
    The hook and loop type fastener 58 used in order to attach cleaning wipe 18 to attaching surface 20 may be made under the brand name VELCRO®. One example of a type of VELCRO® material that may be used in accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention may be manufactured by Velcro USA, Inc. located at 406 Brown Avenue, Manchester, N.H. 03103.
  • [0062]
    FIG. 10 shows yet another exemplary embodiment of cleaning product 10. In this instance, a plurality of gecko-type fasteners 64 are present on attaching surface 20. Placing cleaning wipe 18 into contact with the gecko-type fasteners 64 will cause the cleaning wipe 18 to be retained onto attaching surface 20.
  • [0063]
    The gecko-type fasteners 64 mimic the adhesive characteristics of gecko feet. Principles of gecko adhesion are discussed in more detail in Kelly Autumn et al., “Evidence for van der Waals Adhesion in Gecko Setae,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 99, No. 19, pp. 12,252-12,256 (Sep. 17, 2002); in Robert J. Full et al., “Adhesive Microstructure and Method of Forming the Same,” WO 01/49776, published Jul. 12, 2001; in U.S. application Ser. No. 10/039574, “Adhesive Microstructure and Method of Forming Same,” filed Jan. 2, 2002 by K. Autumn and published as US20030124312-A1 on Jul. 3, 2003; and in U.S. application Ser. No. 10/197763, “Adhesive Microstructure and Method of Forming Same,” filed Jul. 17, 2002 by R. Fearing and published as US 20030208888-A1 on Nov. 13, 2003; all of which are incorporated by reference herein in their entireties. In general, gecko-like materials can have a plurality of microscopic protrusions rising from a surface, the protrusions having a diameter of about 0.1 to 1 microns and a height of about 0.5 microns to about 500 microns, said protrusions being effective at adhering to an opposing surface without the use of pressure-sensitive adhesives.
  • [0064]
    FIG. 11 shows another embodiment of the attachment mechanism 24 that may be employed with cleaning product 10. In this instance, attachment mechanism 24 is a pair of grippers 70 and 72 located on either end of body 14. A cleaning wipe 18 may be positioned onto attaching surface 20 and either end of cleaning wipe 18 may be wrapped around attaching surface 20 in order to contact the sides of body 14. At this point, grippers 70 and 72 may be opened and then closed so as to grasp the ends of cleaning wipe 18 thus attaching the cleaning wipe 18 to attaching surface 20. Grippers 70, 72 may be again actuated in order to remove the cleaning wipe 18 therefrom once cleaning wipe 18 has reached the end of its useful life or if so otherwise desired to be removed by the user.
  • [0065]
    FIG. 12 shows yet another exemplary embodiment of cleaning product 10. In this instance, instead of being configured to be used with a cleaning wipe 18 the cleaning product 10 is configured for use with a cleaning block 92. Cleaning block 92 may be stored in interior space 16 in the same manner as previously described with respect to cleaning wipe 18. Cleaning block 92 may also be attached to attaching surface 20 in the same manners as previously discussed with respect to attachment of cleaning wipe 18. In this instance, however, cleaning block 92 is provided with a plurality of magnetic strips 68 that are configured for attachment to a magnetic surface 66 comprising the attaching surface 20. A user may simply position cleaning block 92 proximate to attaching surface 20 in order for magnetic strips 68 to contact and engage magnetic surface 66. The magnetic attachment may be designed of such a strength so as to be able to retain cleaning block 92 onto attaching surface 20 during cleaning, yet allow for a user to disengage magnetic strips 68 from magnetic surface 66 once the removal of cleaning block 92 is desired.
  • [0066]
    In accordance with the various configurations of attachment mechanism 24, strong attachment of the cleaning wipe 18 to attaching surface 20 is not needed in order to enable cleaning product 10 to function. However, the peel force for removal of the cleaning wipe 18 from attaching surface 20 may be desirably low in accordance with certain exemplary embodiments of the present invention in order to facilitate repeated removal and reattachment of a fresh cleaning wipe 18. It is generally desirable for the cleaning wipe 18 to have good shear resistance so that the cleaning wipe 18 does not readily detach under shear forces subjected thereon typically produced by scrubbing with the cleaning product 10.
  • [0067]
    Other cleaning components may be incorporated into cleaning product 10 in accordance with other exemplary embodiments of the present invention. FIG. 13 shows one such exemplary embodiment in which body 14 is provided with a pouch 74 into which an active ingredient 76 such as a cleaning agent, disinfectant, or abrasive agent may be disposed. Aside from using a pouch 74, the active ingredient 76 may be contained within any suitable container. For instance, a pocket, tube, or bottle may be used in order to store the active ingredient 76. During cleaning, the user may remove and apply active ingredient 76 in order to aid in cleaning.
  • [0068]
    The cleaning product 10 in FIG. 13 also employs a second lid 78 that may be opened by a user in order to obtain access to interior space 16 for removing cleaning wipes 18 or other products stored therein. As can be imagined, any number of lids may be employed on body 14 in order to obtain access to interior space 16. In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 13, lid 22 provides access to active ingredient 76 and may be also used to access the cleaning wipes 18 in the interior space 16 while second lid 78 is used exclusively for obtaining access to the cleaning wipes 18.
  • [0069]
    Another feature that may be included in cleaning product 10 is a spray mechanism 80 as shown in FIG. 14. Here, a container 82 may be filled with a fluid 84, such as water or other cleaning solution, that may be used in order to assist the user in cleaning. The user may actuate the spray mechanism 80 in order to dispense fluid 84 onto a surface and subsequently rub the cleaning wipe 18 thereon in order to allow cleaning wipe 18 to clean while in a wet state. Spray mechanism 80 may be detached from container 82 to allow the user to refill container 82 with an appropriate fluid 84. Fluid 84 may be a fluid designed solely to clean the surface to be cleaned, or may be configured with other properties as desired. For instance, fluid 84 may be configured as an odor control agent in order to suppress or eliminate odors associated with the surface to be cleaned or with odors brought about during cleaning of the surface.
  • [0070]
    The container 12 may be provided in any shape in accordance with various exemplary embodiments of the present invention. For instance, FIG. 15 shows a container 12 with a parallelepiped prism shaped body with a side view in the shape of a rhombus and an end view in the shape of a rectangle. The container 12 has a shape that resembles a well-known shape for a pink rubber eraser. An end face of body 14 serves as the lid 22.
  • [0071]
    In FIG. 16, a cleaning product 10 has a container 12 with a prismatic shape with a plan view resembling an oval that has been augmented by a rounded triangle. The cleaning wipes 18 intended for use in this cleaning product 10 have a pointed end that may be useful for reaching into narrow corners. In general, the body 14 of container 12 can have a rounded end and a pointed end (i.e., tapering at an acute angle), or a first end 94 with a first radius of curvature substantially greater than the radius of curvature of a second end 96. The cleaning wipes 18 may have the same or different shape as that of the attaching surface 20.
  • [0072]
    The cleaning product 12 in FIG. 17 has a container 12 with a hinged lid 22. Lid 22 has a pair of tabs 98 on opposite ends thereof to facilitate opening of the lid 22. The tabs 98 may be received in depressions 100 in the body 14.
  • [0073]
    The cleaning product 12 of FIG. 18 has a lid 22 with beveled edges. Additionally, the body 14 has a pair of concave sides. The cleaning wipes 18 may be shaped in a manner so as to conform with the shape of body 14 or may be differently shaped in accordance with various exemplary embodiments.
  • [0074]
    FIG. 19 shows a cleaning product 10 with a container 12 that is in the shape of a mailbox. A side of body 14 swings down in order to provide access to the cleaning wipes 18 that may be stacked horizontally in container 12.
  • [0075]
    Examples of cleaning wipes 18 or cleaning blocks 92 that may be used in accordance with the present invention may be found, for instance, in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/744,238, filed on Dec. 22, 2003, whose inventors are Jeff Lindsay, Fung-Jou Chen, Julie Bednarz, Stan Kellenberger, and James Tanner, entitled “Multipurpose Cleaning Product Including A Foam and A Web.” The entire disclosure of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/744,238 is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety for all purposes. Other examples of how the cleaning wipes 18 may be configured are as that shown in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/321,277, filed Dec. 17, 2002, whose inventors are Fung-Jou Chen and Jeff Lindsay, entitled “Disposable Scrubbing Product.” The entire disclosure of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/321,277 is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety for all purposes.
  • [0076]
    The cleaning wipe 18 includes a foam such as a melamine-based foam 90 that is attached to a web 88. The foam 90 generally has an open celled structure that when moved over a surface is capable of effectively cleaning dirt and other unwanted elements from the surface. The web 88 may act as a reinforcing layer in order to strengthen or hold the melamine based foam 90, and/or may provide for water retaining properties which help to keep the melamine based foam 90 wet should wet wiping with the cleaning wipe 18 on attaching surface 20 be conducted. Alternatively or in addition, the web 88 may be adapted for scrubbing, and may comprise abrasive material (not shown) such as coarse polymeric filaments, meltblown shot, abrasive particles, hook-like protrusions such as those used in hook and loop mechanical fastening systems, and the like.
  • [0077]
    The web 88 may comprise a structure of fibers or filaments that are retained to one another by fiber-fiber bonding (e.g., hydrogen bonding), fiber entanglement, adhesive bonding, interfiber or interfilament friction, and the like. In accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the web 88 can be a hydrophilic cellulosic fibrous web such as a wet-laid or air-laid paper web comprising predominately natural cellulosic fibers such as wood-based papermaking fibers, cotton, kenaf, bagasse, milkweed, etc., and mixtures thereof In other embodiments, the web 88 may be a paper web comprising synthetic cellulosic fibers such as rayon. Alternatively, the web 88 can be a nonwoven fibrous web which has a structure of individual fibers or threads which are interlaid, but not in an identifiable manner as in a knitted fabric. The fibers in a nonwoven web are generally understood to be manmade fibers such as non-cellulosic polymeric fibers, typically based on synthetic polymers such as polyolefins, including webs made from meltspun processes (meltblowing, spinbonding, etc.). Alternatively, the web 88 need not include a fiber structure but may be, for instance, a film or foam in other exemplary embodiments.
  • [0078]
    The foam 90 may be laminated to the web 88 in order to effect attachment of these two components of the cleaning wipe 18. The term “laminated” as used herein means the two components are united to one another by an adhesive optionally with the use of heat and/or pressure. However, in accordance with other exemplary embodiments of the present invention, the foam 90 may be attached to the web 88 in a variety of manners. For instance, these two components may be attached to one another by ultrasonic bonding, hot melts, pressure sensitive adhesives, thermal bonds, or by mechanical attachments such as sewing, mechanical fasteners, or a hook and loop type fastener in accordance with other exemplary embodiments. Hydroentangling can also be used to join a fibrous web to the foam. In one embodiment, a hotmelt is used comprising at least one polymer with a substantial number of carboxyl groups or salts thereof to provide good bonding with a fibrous cellulosic web when wet. For example, a hot melt suitable for the present invention may comprise ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), and may have at least about 20 weight percent (wt %) EVA or at least about 50 wt % EVA. Hotmelts may be applied by meltblown nozzles, glue guns, other known adhesive nozzles, and the like. After hotmelt is applied to one or both surfaces to be joined, the two surfaces can immediately be brought into contact and optionally pressed together with a compressive force, such as a force of about 0.03 psi or greater, or about 0.5 psi or greater, or about 5 psi or greater. The compressive force may be provided by a nip between two rollers, pressure between two flat plates, or other methods known in the art.
  • [0079]
    The cleaning wipe 18 may be configured such that the foam 90 is a relatively thin layer. For instance, the foam may be on the order of from about 2 millimeters to about 8 millimeters in thickness. Other exemplary embodiments of the present invention exists in which the foam 90 may have a varying thickness, for instance being 1 millimeter thick at certain portions of the web 88, and being 10 millimeters thick at other portions of the web 88. As such, the present invention includes various embodiments in which the foam 90 has a uniform thickness throughout, and also a varying thickness throughout. Additionally, the present invention includes exemplary embodiments where the foam 90 is less than 20 millimeters in thickness. Still further exemplary embodiments exist in which the foam 90 is less than 15 millimeters in thickness, less than 10 millimeters in thickness, and less than 5 millimeters in thickness. Additional exemplary embodiments of the present invention exist in which the foam 90 is from about 1 millimeter to about 15 millimeters in thickness.
  • [0080]
    The web 88 may be made of a soft material so that it is capable of buffing or polishing a surface. Alternatively, the web 88 may be made of a coarse material such that the web 88 is more coarse or abrasive than the foam 90. In this instance, the cleaning wipe 18 may be used so that the web 88 is capable of scrubbing coarse surfaces which would otherwise damage the foam 90. In fact, the web 88 may be more capable of removing dried food substances or ground in dirt and some other unwanted elements from a surface to be cleaned in other exemplary embodiments. The web 88 may comprise abrasive grit or meltblown shot joined to a fibrous substrate, or abrasive fibers such as the multifilamentary aggregates disclosed in commonly owned U.S. patent Ser. No. 10/321,831, “Meltblown Scrubbing Product,” filed Dec. 17, 2002 by Chen et al., herein incorporated by reference. A portion of the cleaning surface of the foam 90 itself may also be joined to materials such as meltblown shot or multifilamentary aggregates, in order to enhance cleaning or to strengthen the foam 90 and prevent the foam 90 from being damaged during cleaning.
  • [0081]
    The web 88 may optionally include an abrasive material disposed therein, such as a coarse meltblown shot, an abrasive grit such as mineral particles, or a meltblown multifilamentary aggregate.
  • [0082]
    The cleaning wipe 18 may be incorporated into a scrubbing pad that is attached to attaching surface 20 such that cleaning wipe 18 is attached to attaching surface 20. Here, the cleaning wipe 18 comprises the outer surface of the scrubbing pad. The foam 90 is located on one end of the scrubbing pad. Alternatively, the foam 90 may be included on both ends of the scrubbing pad in accordance with other exemplary embodiments. The web 88 is again attached to the foam 90.
  • [0083]
    The scrubbing pad may be a layered structure, the outer layer being the cleaning wipe 18. Additional layers of the scrubbing pad may be each an abrasive meltblown layer which is also capable of contacting a surface to be cleaned once the cleaning wipe 18 is removed. The abrasive layer may be attached to a water absorbent substrate, which may be for instance a sponge. In this exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the scrubbing pad may be configured to clean a surface when the scrubbing pad is wet to some degree.
  • [0084]
    Once the cleaning wipe 18 has been worn down to some degree, the abrasive layer or layers may be exposed in order to assist in cleaning the surface to be cleaned. Although described as being an abrasive meltblown, the layers may be substituted for additional cleaning wipes 18 in accordance with other exemplary embodiments of the present invention.
  • [0085]
    In an alternative exemplary embodiment, the cleaning wipe 18 may be incorporated into a sponge substitute. The sponge substitute used may be that as described in U.S. Ser. No. 10/036,736 filed on Dec. 21, 2001 which published as U.S. patent application publication No. U.S. 2003/0,135,181 on Jul. 17, 2003. This application is owned by the assignee of the present application and is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety for all purposes. The cleaning wipe 18 may cover one side of the sponge substitute. Attachment of the sponge substitute to attaching surface 20 causes cleaning wipe 18 to be attached to attaching surface 20.
  • [0086]
    The cleaning wipe 18 may also be configured to include alternating layers of foam 90 and web 88 joined together. The alternating layers of foam 90 and web 88 are configured into a stack. In such a configuration, use of the cleaning product 10 with cleaning wipe 18 will eventually result in one of the layers of the foam 90 and/or the web 88 to be worn away. In such an instance, a fresh layer of foam 90 and/or web 88 will be exposed upon the wearing away of the preceding foam 90 and/or web 88.
  • [0087]
    The foam 90 may extend across the entire surface of the web 88, or the foam 90 may extend only over a portion of the surface of the web 88. In accordance with other exemplary embodiments of the present invention, any number of additional pieces of foam 90 may be placed onto the web 88 such that a plurality of foam 90 pieces are located throughout the receiving surface of the web 88.
  • [0088]
    In accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the foam 90 and the web 88 are attached to one another due to the fact that the foam 90 and the web 88 are integrally formed with one another. The entire foam 90 or a layer or portion of the foam 90 may be integrally formed with a plurality of fibers. The plurality of fibers may be paper making fibers, mineral fibers, and/or polymeric fibers. The foam 90 may be integrally formed with the plurality of fibers which form the web 88 of the cleaning wipe by a method as set forth in U.S. Pat. No. 6,603,054 which is owned by the assignee of the present invention and is incorporated herein for all purposes in its entirety. In one such instance, the web 88 may be dispersed throughout the foam 90 and therefore integrally connected therewith. Here, about 10% or more of the weight of the cleaning wipe 18 may be from the plurality of fibers which are formed by blending loose fibers into a resin coupled with a blowing agent or other foam-producing means prior to curing the resin in order to form the foam.
  • [0089]
    The web 88 may in other exemplary embodiments of the present invention be provided with additional functionality. For instance, web 88 may be provided with a plurality of functional members disposed therein. The functional members may be cleaning agents in order to help aid the cleaning wipe 18 in cleaning a surface. For instance, the functional members may be enzymes such as papain enzymes, or may be bleaching agents such as peroxide. Additionally, the functional members may be abrasive compounds or may be detergents in accordance with other exemplary embodiments. The functional members may also be configured such that they release an odor which may subsequently be transferred to the surface which is to be cleaned. Further, the functional members may be skin wellness agents. The functional members may be encapsulated in a polymeric or lipid shell capable of breaking during use in response to mechanical compression and shear, whereby ingredients in the functional members are released. Alternatively, the functional members may be encased or encapsulated in a water soluble material such that solvation of the material when wet permits release of the functional components. The functional members may be antimicrobial agents and/or natural plant based extracts or compounds in accordance with other exemplary embodiments. The functional members may be a detergent, a bleaching agent, a solvent, enzymes, etc.
  • [0090]
    The cleaning product 10 may also have an added functionality such that the container 12 and/or the functional members act as a biosensor. In this instance, should the cleaning wipe 18 and/or the functional members detect the presence of harmful bacteria, lead, mercury, or other agents, the cleaning wipe 18 and/or functional member may change color in order to indicate the presence of such agents. Alternatively or additionally, the cleaning wipe 18 and/or functional members may be heat generating agents, for instance the cleaning wipe 18 may employ thermal pad technology. In one instance, oxidation of iron may result in a heating of the cleaning wipe 18. Alternatively, water activated technology may be used, such as calcium chloride pellets, in order to heat the cleaning wipe 18 such that the cleaning wipe 18 is also heated. Heating of the cleaning wipe 18 may be advantageous in that more effective cleaning of grease or other elements may be realized when employing the cleaning product 10.
  • [0091]
    The functional members may be odor control agents such as cyclodextrins, zeolites, clays, and/or activated carbon particles or fibers. The cleaning wipe 18 may also be configured to have a chemical agent in order to combat odor or to regulate the release of odor eliminating or odor providing compounds. Chemical agents which may be included are, for instance, chlorine dioxide, antimicrobial gases or liquids, time release antimicrobial compounds, silver ions embedded in the foam 90, zeolites, and/or chitosan-related compounds.
  • [0092]
    The cleaning wipe 18 and/or functional members may also be foaming agents. In these instances, the foaming agents may be activated when contacted by water in order to create a foam which may additionally be used in helping the cleaning wipe 18 clean a surface of dirt or other unwanted elements. Also, the functional members and/or the web 88 may be made of a material or configured in order to help keep the foam 90 wet during use of the cleaning wipe 18.
  • [0093]
    Although described as being incorporated into the web 88, the functional members may be incorporated into the foam 90 of the cleaning wipe 18 in accordance with other various embodiments. Further, the functional members may be on the outer surface, edges, or even separate from the web 88 and/or foam 90.
  • [0094]
    The cleaning product 10 may be employed by a user in order to clean the face or other portions of the user's body. The cleaning product 10 may also be used as a make-up removal article. In this instance, the foam 90 may be provided with extra pore space in order to catch and hold make-up during wiping by the user across the surface of the skin. In such an instance, the foam 90 of the cleaning wipe 18 may provide a soft yet abrasive cleaning of the skin of the user. Such cleaning may be either wet or dry. Extra pore space may be provided by needling, drilling, laser drilling, punching, aperturing, or other means to provide wells or other depressions suitable for retaining removed material. In one embodiment, a textured three-dimensional molded foam layer 90 with suitable topography can be used. Suitable topography can include molded wipes 18 with depressions less than about 4 mm in diameter and with a peak-to-valley height of about 0.2 mm or greater. In a related embodiment, the elevated portions of a three-dimensional surface are substantially flat, with depressed regions occupying about 30% or less of the surface area of the foam layer.
  • [0095]
    Additional uses of the cleaning product 10 may be found by employing the cleaning product 10 as a furniture wipe for buffing and polishing wood furniture. The cleaning wipe 18 may also be configured as a buffing pad for automotive bodywork. The cleaning wipe 18 may also be configured as a waxing pad for use in maintaining an automotive body. In this instance, the foam 90 may have a wax additive impregnated therein in order to effect waxing of the automotive surface. Alternatively, a wax substrate may be attached to the foam 90 and/or the web 88 in other exemplary embodiments.
  • [0096]
    The cleaning product 10 may also be used in order to prepare a surface that is about to be painted. Still further, the cleaning product 10 may be used as a shoe shining wipe. The cleaning product 10 may also be used as a bathroom cleaning product. In this instance, the cleaning product 10 may be used in order to clean stiff grout from tile and porcelain found in bathrooms.
  • [0097]
    The cleaning product 10 may be used in order to clean a variety of objects. For instance, knives, golf balls, bowling balls, and various household objects may be cleaned by the cleaning product 10 of the present invention. The cleaning product 10 may also be employed as an article useful for removing stains from the teeth of a user, or to brighten one's teeth.
  • [0098]
    One or more portions of the cleaning wipe 18, for instance the foam 90 and/or the web 88, may be charged in order to more effectively remove and retain bacteria. In accordance with one exemplary embodiment, the foam 90 and/or the web 88 have an electrostatic charge either chemically, or by the addition of electrets in order to help attract and retain bacteria by electrostatic means. A chemical electrostatic charge may be provided, for instance, by chitosan, polyvinylamines, primary, secondary, tertiary, or quaternary amines, cationic polymers, polyelectrolytes.
  • [0099]
    Any known method may be used for adding charged compounds to the surfaces of the struts in the foam 90 should charged surfaces be desired in the cleaning foam 90. For example, chemical additives may be attached to the surface of the polymeric struts by impregnating the foam 90 with a solution containing charged species that can be cross linked to each other or to the foam 90. Combinations of chemical, electrical, and other physical treatments may be used, such as plasma treatment, corona discharge treatment, electret generation, and the like. By way of example, chemical post-treatments of hydrophobic surface are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,537,614, issued Mar. 25, 2003 to N. Wei et al., and it is believed that such treatments can be adapted for the cleaning foams 90 of the present application. The Wei et al. patent discloses a hydrophobic polymer fiber having a cationically charged coating thereon, in which the coating includes a functionalized cationic polymer, such as an epichlorohydrin-functionalized polyamine or an epichlorohydrin-functionalized polyamido-amine, which has been crosslinked by heat. Such materials can be made by treating the fibrous filter with an aqueous solution of a functionalized cationic polymer cross linkable by heat under conditions sufficient to substantially coat the fibers with the functionalized cationic polymer, wherein the solution includes the functionalized cationic polymer, a poly(vinyl alcohol), a polar solvent for the poly(vinyl alcohol), and water; and treating the resulting coated fibrous filter with heat at a temperature and for a time sufficient to crosslink the functionalized cationic polymer present on the hydrophobic polymer fibers. As adapted for the present application, a solution of a functionalized cationic polymer cross linkable by heat can be used to impregnate or saturate all or a portion of a cleaning foam 90 layer to coat the struts of the foam 90. The resulting coated foam 90 can be treated with heat at a temperature and for a time sufficient to crosslink the functionalized cationic polymer present on the surfaces of the foam 90.
  • [0100]
    The cleaning wipe 18 may also be configured in some embodiments such that the “melamine based foam” 90 is a non-melamine foam that contains melamine powder.
  • [0101]
    Further, any aminoplast foam or other rigid or brittle foam disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,125,664, “Shaped Articles of Foam Plastics,” issued Nov. 14, 1978 to H. Giesemann, herein incorporated by reference, may be used with the cleaning product 10 of the present invention. Other foams 90 believed to be useful within the scope of the present invention include those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,666,948, “Preparation of Resilient Melamine Foams,” issued May. 19, 1987 to Woerner et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,234,969, “Cured Phenolic Foams,” issued Aug. 10, 1993 to Clark et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 6,133,332, “Process for Producing Phenolic Resin Foams,” issued Oct. 17, 2000 to T. Shibanuma; and WO 91/14731, “Stable Aminoplast Cellular Foams and Process for Manufacturing Them,” published Oct. 3, 1991 by Mäder et al., all of which are herein incorporated by reference. The latter, WO 91/14731, discloses cellular foams obtained by using an unsaturated, halogenated polyalcohol in a resin precondensate constituent and a dodecylbenzolsulphonic acid partially esterified preferably with a fatty alcohol and a long-chain polyhydric alcohol such as a polyethylene glycol, in a foaming agent hardener constituent.
  • [0102]
    Principles for manufacturing melamine-based foam are well known. Melamine-based foams are currently manufactured by BASF (Ludwigshafen, Germany) under the BASOTECT® brand name. For example, BASOTECT® 2011, with a density of about 0.01 g/cm3, may be used. The cleaning block 92 of melamine-based foam may be as that marketed by Procter & Gamble (Cincinnati, Ohio) under the MR. CLEAN® brand name, and under the CLEENPRO™ name by LEC, Inc. of Tokyo, Japan (several product executions are shown at http://www.users.bigpond.com/jmc.au/CLEENPRO/CLEENPRO-E.htm and http://www.users.bigpond.com/jmc.au/CLEENPRO/CLEENPRO%20Family-E.htm, both printed on Nov. 13, 2003). Melamine-based foam is also marketed for acoustic and thermal insulation by many companies such as American Micro Industries (Chambersburg, Pa).
  • [0103]
    Other foams that can be used are as described in German publication DE-AS 12 97 331. Those foams are formed from phenolic components, urea-based components, or melamine-based components, or are in an aqueous solution with a blowing agent and a hardening catalyst.
  • [0104]
    The cleaning wipe 18 need not include a melamine-based foam 90 or other type of cleaning foam in accordance with other exemplary embodiments of the present invention. For instance, the cleaning wipe 18 may be made out of a tissue, spunbond webs, meltblown webs, textiles, or the like or any combination thereof. Additionally, the cleaning wipe 18 may be a coform material that may be formed from cellulose and meltblown fibers possibly having an optional layer of meltblown, spunbond or film laminated on either side of the composite.
  • [0105]
    The cleaning product 10 may be provided with a battery powered heating element in order to heat the cleaning wipes 18 in order to improve their ability to clean a soiled surface. The cleaning wipe 18 may be made of a disbursable component so that the cleaning wipe 18 disintegrates when contacted or saturated by water.
  • [0106]
    It should be understood that the present invention includes various modifications that can be made to the embodiments of the cleaning product 10 as described herein as come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

Claims (46)

  1. 1. An apparatus for storing and attaching cleaning wipes, comprising:
    a container having a body defining an interior space configured for storing a plurality of cleaning wipes, the body having an attaching surface, the container having a lid to allow and prevent access through the body to the interior space; and
    an attachment mechanism configured for attaching a cleaning wipe to the attaching surface such that the container acts as a handle for use in applying the cleaning wipe to a surface.
  2. 2. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the lid is completely removed from the body when opened, and wherein the lid is attached to the body when closed.
  3. 3. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the lid is contiguous with the body when both opened and closed.
  4. 4. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the lid is hingedly attached to the body and is pivoted with respect to the body in order to open and close.
  5. 5. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the lid is in sliding engagement with the body such that the lid is slid in order to open and close.
  6. 6. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the lid includes at least one flexible flap configured to flex upon the application of a force in order to open and to return to the closed position when the force is removed.
  7. 7. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the lid is snap-fit onto the body when closed.
  8. 8. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the lid is attached to the body with a hook and loop type fastener when closed.
  9. 9. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the attaching surface is flat.
  10. 10. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the lid forms a watertight seal when closed to prevent liquid from escaping or entering the interior space.
  11. 11. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the body defines a depression configured for receiving the hand of a user to aid in gripping of the container.
  12. 12. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the container is configured for storing an active ingredient.
  13. 13. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the container includes a biosensor for use in monitoring analytes.
  14. 14. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the attachment mechanism is configured for allowing the cleaning wipe to be removed from attachment with the attaching surface.
  15. 15. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, further comprising a spray mechanism attached to the body, wherein the spray mechanism is configured for dispensing a fluid.
  16. 16. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the attachment mechanism is an adhesive.
  17. 17. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the attachment mechanism is a hook and loop type fastener in which either the hook or the loop elements are attached to the attaching surface and the other of the hook or the loop elements is attached to the cleaning wipes.
  18. 18. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the attachment mechanism is selected from the group consisting of a gecko-type fastener, a pressure sensitive adhesive, a mechanical fastener, a foam adhesive element, and a magnetic fastener.
  19. 19. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, further comprising a plurality of cleaning wipes configured to be stored in the interior space and configured to be attached to the attaching surface, wherein the cleaning wipes comprising a melamine-based foam configured for contacting and cleaning a surface to be cleaned and a web attached to the melamine-based foam, wherein the web is contiguous with the attaching surface when the cleaning wipe is attached to the attaching surface.
  20. 20. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the attaching surface has a non-rectangular shape.
  21. 21. The apparatus as set forth in claim 20, further comprising a plurality of cleaning wipes having a non-rectangular shape adapted for attachment to the non-rectangular attaching surface.
  22. 22. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the body has a rounded end and a substantially pointed end.
  23. 23. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the body has a first rounded end and a second rounded end, wherein the radius of curvature of the first rounded end is substantially greater than the radius of curvature of the second rounded end.
  24. 24. An apparatus for storing and attaching cleaning wipes, comprising:
    a container configured for holding at least one cleaning wipe, the container having a body with an attaching surface; and
    an attachment mechanism configured for attaching a cleaning wipe to the attaching surface for use in a cleaning procedure, wherein the container is capable of being grasped to aid in positioning of the cleaning wipe during a cleaning procedure.
  25. 25. The apparatus as set forth in claim 24, wherein the body has a spine configured for removable attachment with at least one cleaning wipe.
  26. 26. The apparatus as set forth in claim 24, wherein the container has a handle connected to the body.
  27. 27. The apparatus as set forth in claim 24, wherein the body defines an interior space for use in holding the cleaning wipe, and further comprising a lid configured to be opened and closed in order to allow and prevent access through the body to the interior space.
  28. 28. The apparatus as set forth in claim 24, wherein the attaching surface is flat.
  29. 29. The apparatus as set forth in claim 24, wherein the body defines a depression configured for receiving the hand of a user to aid in grasping of the container.
  30. 30. The apparatus as set forth in claim 24, wherein the container is configured for holding an active ingredient.
  31. 31. The apparatus as set forth in claim 24, wherein the container includes a biosensor for use in monitoring analytes.
  32. 32. The apparatus as set forth in claim 24, wherein the attachment mechanism is configured for allowing the cleaning wipe to be removed from attachment with the attaching surface.
  33. 33. The apparatus as set forth in claim 24, further comprising a spray mechanism attached to the body, wherein the spray mechanism is configured for dispensing a fluid.
  34. 34. The apparatus as set forth in claim 24, wherein the attachment mechanism is an adhesive.
  35. 35. The apparatus as set forth in claim 24, wherein the attachment mechanism is a hook and loop type fastener in which either the hook or the loop elements are attached to the attaching surface and the other of the hook or the loop elements is attached to the cleaning wipes.
  36. 36. The apparatus as set forth in claim 24, wherein the attachment mechanism is selected from the group consisting of a gecko-type fastener, a pressure sensitive adhesive, a mechanical fastener, a foam adhesive element, and a magnetic fastener.
  37. 37. The apparatus as set forth in claim 24, further comprising a plurality of cleaning wipes configured to be held by the container and configured to be attached to the attaching surface, wherein the cleaning wipes comprising a melamine-based foam configured for contacting and cleaning a surface to be cleaned and a web attached to the melamine-based foam, wherein the web is contiguous with the attaching surface when the cleaning wipe is attached to the attaching surface.
  38. 38. The apparatus as set forth in claim 24, wherein the attaching surface has a non-rectangular shape.
  39. 39. The apparatus as set forth in claim 38, further comprising a plurality of cleaning wipes having a non-rectangular shape adapted for attachment to the non-rectangular attaching surface.
  40. 40. The apparatus as set forth in claim 24, wherein the body has a rounded end and a substantially pointed end.
  41. 41. The apparatus as set forth in claim 24, wherein the body has a first rounded end and a second rounded end, wherein the radius of curvature of the first rounded end is substantially greater than the radius of curvature of the second rounded end.
  42. 42. An apparatus for storing and attaching cleaning wipes, comprising:
    a plurality of cleaning wipes configured for cleaning a surface;
    a container having a body defining an interior space configured for storing the plurality of cleaning wipes, the body having a flat attaching surface, the container having a lid configured to be opened and closed in order to allow and prevent access through the body to the interior space, wherein the lid is snap-fit onto the body when closed and forms a watertight seal when closed to prevent liquid from entering or escaping the interior space; and
    a hook and loop type fastener configured for attaching one of the cleaning wipes to the attaching surface such that the container acts as a handle for use in applying the cleaning wipe to a surface, wherein either the hook or the loop elements are attached to the attaching surface and the other of the hook or the loop elements are attached to the cleaning wipes, wherein the hook and loop type fastener is configured for allowing the cleaning wipe to be removed from the attaching surface.
  43. 43. The apparatus as set forth in claim 42, wherein the plurality of cleaning wipes are a melamine-based foam configured for contacting and cleaning a surface to be cleaned and a web attached to the melamine-based foam, wherein either the hook or the loop elements are attached to the web.
  44. 44. An apparatus for storing and attaching a cleaning block, comprising:
    a container configured for holding at least one cleaning block, the container having a body with an attaching surface; and
    an attachment mechanism configured for attaching a cleaning block to the attaching surface for use in a cleaning procedure, wherein the container is capable of being grasped to aid in positioning of the cleaning block during a cleaning procedure.
  45. 45. The apparatus as set forth in claim 44, wherein the cleaning block is a block of melamine-based foam.
  46. 46. The apparatus as set forth in claim 44, wherein the body defines an interior space for use in holding the cleaning block, and further comprising a lid configured to be opened and closed in order to allow and prevent access through the body to the interior space.
US10884748 2004-07-02 2004-07-02 Cleaning product for storing and attaching cleaning blocks or wipes Abandoned US20060000043A1 (en)

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PCT/US2005/017398 WO2006014198A1 (en) 2004-07-02 2005-05-18 Cleaning product for storing and attaching cleaning blocks or wipes

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Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:JOU-CHEN, FUNG;LINDSAY, JEFFREY DEAN;VELAZQUEZ, HERB FLORES;REEL/FRAME:015556/0706

Effective date: 20040630