Patent application title: Wall mountable back body scrubbing device
George David Green (Queen City, TX, US)
IPC8 Class: AA47K702FI
Class name: Fabric wiper, dauber, or polisher special work
Publication date: 2008-10-16
Patent application number: 20080250594
A mountable scrubber comprised of a rectangular base (not to exclude other
shapes) with scrubbing element attached to the surface to be applied to
the skin and suction cups on the opposite side for attaching to a fixed
surface as desired. Subsequent units will have a rear mounted hand strap
allowing easier hand operation while still maintaining it's mountable
qualities. The scrubbing surface is of synthetic mesh material, which can
be varied in texture (soft or firm) and size (the actual opening in the
mesh) to increase and/or decrease the amount of exfoliation produced.
This scrubber has particular utility not only in scrubbing and massaging
but also in exfoliating and stimulating the dermis layer of the body, in
particular the back area. This is made possible because of the abrasive
nature of the scrubbing surface and the ability to apply as much pressure
as necessary due to it's wall mounting capability.
1. A personal hygiene cleansing device, comprising:a flexible backing of
i.e. natural or synthetic rubber, vinyl, polyethylene or similar water
Proof material, with multiple suction cups (or other devices) on one
side, covering 50% to 70% of the surface area (but not to exclude other
amounts of suction devices) and, a finely woven or extruded mesh material
(netting) comprised of nylon or like water resistant fabric gathered and
twisted into a resilient pad affixed to and completely covering the
smooth side of the backing by sewing, gluing of other means.
2. The body scrubber of claim 1, will cleanse, stimulate and exfoliate the dermis layer of the body.
3. The body scrubber of claim 1 when affixed to the shower or tub wall will allow the user to reach the hard to cleanse portions of the back without the aid of others.
4. The scrubber of claim 1, will when used in accordance with claim 3 allow the user to apply sufficient force to thoroughly clean, exfoliate and stimulate the back.
5. The scrubber of claim 1 will after use (due to the properties of the scrubbing medium) rinse clean and when affixed to the wall drain and dry rapidly improving hygiene and extending the life of the product.
TABLE-US-00001 5,179,755 January 1993 Hill 15/160 5,228,165 July 1993 Westberry 15/160 5,628,083 May 1997 Hayes 15/244.3 5,836,035 November 1998 McElfish 15/160 6,370,722 April 2002 Duckworth 15/104.92 6,647,564 November 2003 Smith 4/606
During the course of my search I found multiple examples of personal cleansing devices many of which are wall mounted and designed to scrub the back. However, none of these used the technology that enables this device to exfoliate and stimulate. The woven scrubbing medium does a superior job of cleansing and exfoliating while being porous enough to rinse clean and drain rapidly. This gathered and twisted netting maintains its resilience even after repeated use. Also the device of this invention solves the problem of wall mounting being easily affixed with one hand utilizing its suction cup design.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention generally relates to personal bathing and scrubbing devices, and in its preferred embodiments more specifically relates to a scrubbing device that may be affixed to a shower wall or tub for use in scrubbing a person's back and that may also be separated from the stationary surface and used as a hand held scrubbing device. After the bather has completed his body the scrubber can be dropped on the floor of the shower and used as a foot scrubber. This aspect of the device is enhanced due to the suction sides ability to resist slippage.
A person bathing alone, e.g., in a shower or bathtub, is normally able to reach the majority of his or her body for washing or scrubbing without difficulty, but very few people are able to reach the entire surface of his or her back. As a result, the inaccessible portion of the back may not be directly washed or scrubbed. The need to thoroughly wash or scrub the skin of the entire back can be particularly important for people with skin conditions, such as acne, and incomplete cleansing may be ineffective in controlling the condition. Various approaches have been used in an effort to overcome this problem and provide a means for scrubbing the back during bathing. In one approach a long handled brush is held by the bather in one of his or her hands and used to reach, e.g., over the bather's shoulder to scrub the back. Although such a brush can be effective in allowing a bather to reach his or her back, the long handle can make the device cumbersome to use, and it may be difficult for many people to apply the desired pressure to the back. Further, manipulation of the brush can be difficult for people who may have limited arm mobility.
In another approach a wall mounted device may be used, either permanently mounted to the wall of a shower or tub enclosure or temporarily mounted with means such as suction cups. Permanently mounting a scrubbing device presents a number of disadvantages. A permanently mounted device cannot be removed for cleaning either the device or the wall behind it. Further, a device mounted in one position may be appropriately located for one person in a household, but not others, so the usefulness of such a device is limited. Temporarily mounted devices known in the prior art resolve some of these difficulties, but are often subject to other disadvantages. In one known approach a large deice, sized to cover the entire back of a typical adult, with a base incorporating a significant number of suction cups to hold it to the wall has been used. The large size of these devices make them difficult to remove from the wall, difficult to clean, and cumbersome to reposition. In another approach, devices with a permanently or temporarily mounted base and a removable scrubbing element have been used. In such devices the base is typically rigid, and has portions extending outwardly from the base, to engage the removable scrubbing element, and those extensions can be uncomfortable to a person leaning against the device to scrub his or her back. The engaging structures of the base and removable element can also be difficult to clean. The ability to thoroughly clean all parts of the device is considered to be important to avoid mold or mildew growth, and to eliminate other sources of contamination.
Wall mounted scrubbing devices often use a sponge or other water retaining substance as the scrubbing material, sometimes though not always covered by a cloth or other material to increase friction. Water retaining structures, even though they will eventually drain the water and dry, remain wet or damp for a sufficiently long period after use to allow the growth of mold or mildew and other contaminants, and are hygienically undesirable. The present invention provides a wall mountable back scrubbing device that is easily attachable and removable from a shower or tub enclosure wall, that is constructed of materials that will quickly drain and dry and discourage the growth of mold, mildew and other contaminants, and that is designed to be used as a hand held body scrubber as well as a wall mounted back scrubber. The structure and features of the device of the invention will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawing figures.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is an elevation view of the front, or outer face of a preferred embodiment of the device of the invention.
FIG. 2 is an elevation view of the rear face of a preferred embodiment of the device of the invention.
FIG. 3 is a side elevation view of a preferred embodiment of the device of the invention.
FIG. 4 is an elevation view of the rear face of an alternative embodiment of the device of the invention, incorporating a hand strap to facilitate use of the device as a body scrubber.
FIG. 5 is a side view of the alternative embodiment of the device of the invention shown in FIG. 4, in a curved orientation for use as a body scrubber.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Referring to the drawing figures, the device of the invention, generally designated by reference number 10, comprises a generally planar base, or backing, 11 with a rear face 12 and front face 13. A plurality of suction cups 14 are disposed on the rear face of base 11, preferably in a symmetrical array, and interconnected to the base. It is preferred that the base be formed of a flexible synthetic rubber or rubber-like plastic material, and it is further preferred that suction cups 14 be integrally formed with base 11 as a unitary construction. In the preferred embodiment base 11 is generally rectangular in configuration, approximately five inches in width and approximately seven inches in length. The corners of the base are preferably rounded. It is to be understood, however, that neither the configuration nor the dimensions of the base are critical to the invention, and any desired configuration and size may be utilized within the scope of the invention. As a non-limiting example, the base may readily be formed in an oval configuration. Although the base may be formed in any size within the scope of the invention, it is preferred that the length and width of the base be selected so that the size of the base does not greatly exceed the size of a typical adult hand, in order to facilitate use of the device as a body scrubber as well as a wall mounted back scrubber.
The device of the invention further comprises a scrubbing structure 15, interconnected to the front face 13 of the base 11, and extending fully over the front face and outwardly from the front face a short distance. In the preferred embodiment of the device the scrubbing structure is formed of an open mesh or open celled polymeric netting. The preferred material of construction is highly durable and resilient or elastic, and the netting is formed of a multiplicity of thin strands of non-porous material. A suitable material for the construction of the scrubbing structure is a commercially available material generally referred to as a diamond mesh netting, formed of a polyethylene material. This preferred material of construction is soft and resilient to the touch, provides sufficient friction on the skin for effective scrubbing action without excessive abrasion, and drains and dries rapidly when wet. The strands forming the netting do not absorb water, soap, or dirt and the material does not encourage mold or mildew growth or bacterial growth on the surface of the strands.
In the preferred embodiment of the device of the invention, the scrubbing structure is formed by gathering the netting material into overlapping folds or loops to form a matting of generally uniform thickness. The gathered material, or matting, is interconnected to the front face 13 of base 11 to fully cover the front face. The scrubbing structure may be connected to the base by any desired secure conventional means, such as by stitching or with an adhesive suitable to the materials and intended use. In the preferred embodiment the thickness of the scrubbing structure, and its extension outwardly from the front face of the base is approximately one inch. However, the specific thickness is not critical within the scope of the invention, and differing thicknesses may be utilized if desired. It is also preferred that the scrubbing structure extend outwardly beyond the edges of the base a short distance so that the edges of the base do not normally rub against a bathers skin during use of the device. It is preferred that the netting material be gathered tightly to provide a relatively dense scrubbing structure that is resilient when pressed against the skin but does not compress or collapse fully against the base of the device under normal washing or scrubbing force. The gathering of the netting material creates a multiplicity of fairly convoluted passages through the scrubbing structure, through which water will readily, but somewhat slowly drain. During use of the device for bathing, soapy water will be retained in the scrubbing structure a sufficient period of time for effective bathing, but will be easily and quickly washed through and drained from the scrubbing surface after bathing. Because liquid drains quickly from the device, and because none of the materials of construction are absorbent, the device will dry quickly, and discouraging the growth of potentially harmful and/or odor causing organizers.
The embodiment of the device of the invention described above is used as a wall mounted back scrubber by pressing the suction cups 14 extending from the rear face 12 of the base against a flat, smooth surfaced wall such as a wall of a shower or tub enclosure, at an appropriate height relative to the back of the intended user. In the preferred embodiment of the device the total area of the suction cups in contact with the wall is equal to at least fifty percent of the area of the rear face 12 of base 11, in order to assure secure adhesion of the device tot eh wall, although it is to be understood that the specific relationship of the area of the suction cups to the area of the obese is not critical to the invention, so long as the suction cups achieve a secure adhesion and the device will remain inn place during use as a back scrubber. A bather may scrub his or her back by leaning against the device and moving his or her body to provide the desired scrubbing effect. The device may also be easily removed front the wall and fastened in the bather's hand for use as a body scrubber. The device may still further be removed from the wall and adhered to the floor of the shower enclosure or the bottom of a bathtub and used to scrub the bathers feet by rubbing each foot back and forth and of side to side over the scrubbing structure. When the bath is completed the device may be left on the wall or returned to the wall to drain and dry.
Although the embodiment of the device described above can be used as a hand held body scrubber, it may be cumbersome for some bathers to use in that manner. An alternative embodiment of the device illustrated in FIGS. 4a and 5d is provided to facilitate that manner of use without diminishing the usefulness of the device as a wall mounted back scrubber. In the alternative embodiment suction cups 14 are omitted from a portion of tear face 12 and base 11, in a line extending along a majority of the length of rear face 12. It is preferred that the portion of the rear suction coups extends around the perimeter of the rear face to ensure secure attachment of the device or other flat surface. An elongate hand strap 16 is interconnected at each of its ends to the rear face of the base so that the hand strap extends through the space free of suction cups. The orientation of the longitudinal axis of the hand strap relative to the base, perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the base or at a diagonal. With the base in a flat or planar orientation the hand strap preferably extends parallel to and flat against the rear face of the base. The thickness of hand strap 16 is less than the distance of extension of suction cups 14 outwardly from rear face 12, so that when the rear face of the base is pressed against a flat surface to engage the suction cups with that surface the hand strap dies not interfere with the adhesion of the device to the surface.
Hand strap 16 is formed of a flexible material, so that when the base 11 is deformed into the curved configuration illustrated ion FIG. 5, the strap will flex away from the rear face of the base into an oppositely curved configuration, allowing a person to extend his or her hand between the hand strap and the rear face of the base of the device, with the palm of the hand against the rear face of the base and with the hand strap extending over the back of the hand. The device is thus removably secured on the hand to facilitate use of the device as a body scrubber. It is preferred that the material of construction of hand strap 16 be elastic and shape retentive as well as flexible, so that the front face 13 and scrubbing structure 15 into a convex curvature to match the curvature of a bather's body without exerting an uncomfortable constriction on the bather's hand.
It is readily understood that this embodiment of the device of the invention can readily be adhered to a wall and used as a wall mounted back scrubber, easily removed from the wall and as a securely retained hand held body scrubber, and then easily returned to the wall to dry.
In a further alternative embodiment, not illustrated in the figures, base 11 could be formed of two parallel sheets of material, interconnected at their edges along three sides of a rectangularly configured base or along a sufficient portion of their edges to secure the sheets together leaving an opening for the insertion of a bather's hand between the two sheets. In this alternative embodiment suction cups 14 are connected to the outer face of the rear sheet and the scrubbing structure 15 is interconnected to the outer face of the front sheet. The two sheets of the base are formed of a material of sufficient rigidity to maintain the two sheets in parallel orientation when the device is adhered to a wall by the suction cups, but sufficiently flexible to allow the sheets a to separate when a bather inserts his or her hand between them. When a bather desires to use the device as a hand held body scrubber he or she may insert his or her hand into the cavity to secure the device on the bather's hand. Although fully functional for bathing this embodiment of the device is not preferred because water and soap will be introduced into the cavity between the front and rear sheets of the base during use of the device as a hand held body scrubber. When the device is removed from the hand of the bather the sheets will close against each other, retaining moisture within the cavity, and inhibiting the circulation of air through the cavity for drying. As a result this alternative embodiment of the device will be more difficult to clean and will be subject to the growth of undesirable organisms to a much grater extent than the previously described embodiment.
The foregoing description of preferred and alternative embodiments of the device of the invention is intended to be illustrative and not limiting. The device of the invention is susceptible too other embodiments and variations within the scope of the invention, which is intended to broadly construed.
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