Patent application title: Multipurpose Cleaning Device
James M. Hill (Eugene, OR, US)
IPC8 Class: AA46B1500FI
Class name: Implements combined brush
Publication date: 2012-11-15
Patent application number: 20120284941
A multipurpose cleaning device including a rigid body and which may
include attachments is provided. The rigid body includes a handle, a
flange and a head. Each attachment is slidably and adjustably mounted to
the head. Each attachment is movable yet may be locked into place onto
1. A cleaning device comprising: a handle; a flange coupled to the
handle; a head coupled to the flange, the head having a raised rib and a
contiguous support section, the raised rib extending along a lengthwise
axis of the head and the contiguous support section including a convex
forward track and a convex rear track; and two or more attachments
removably coupled to the contiguous support section, each attachment
having a forward flange mated with the convex forward track and a rear
flange mated with the convex rear track, the forward flange including a
threaded hole engaging a thumbscrew, the thumbscrew of each attachment
selectively adjustable to secure that attachment at a fixed location
along the head and at a fixed distance relative to other attachments.
2. The cleaning device of claim 1, where each attachment includes grout-cleaning bristles.
3. The cleaning device of claim 1, where each attachment includes a grout-cleaning sponge.
4. The cleaning device of claim 1, wherein the raised rib is common to the head and the flange.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
 The present application claims the benefit of and priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/518,683, filed May 9, 2011 and titled "Multipurpose Cleaning Device," the content of which is incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.
 Tiled surfaces are spaced apart when installed and these spaces are typically filled with grout. The grout surface is usually recessed from the tile surface, making the grout surface difficult to clean when using conventional floor cleaning tools that use broad sweeping motions such as a mop or sponge. The recessed location of the grout tends to collect dirt, which requires frequent cleaning and the rough texture of the grout requires increased pressure to clean. Moreover, grout in baths or showers, or other high humidity environments, is susceptible to mold and mildew which are difficult to clean. Scrubbing brushes aid the cleaning of grout but are very tedious in function, as each grout line has to be scrubbed individually. The spacing between grout lines is a function of tile size, which can vary greatly. A brush with multiple heads at a fixed width may only be useful for one specific application due to this variance in spacing between grout lines.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the cleaning device showing an embodiment with multiple brush assemblies.
 FIG. 2A is a perspective view of the cleaning device.
 FIG. 2B is a right side view of the cleaning device.
 FIG. 2c is a rear view of the cleaning device.
 FIG. 2D is a left side view of the cleaning device.
 FIG. 2E is a top view of the cleaning device.
 FIG. 2F is a front view of the cleaning device.
 FIG. 2G is a bottom view of the cleaning device.
 FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a brush assembly.
 FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment squeegee attachment.
 FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment sponge attachment.
 FIGS. 1-5 are drawn approximately to scale.
 A cleaning device including a rigid body that allows multiple adjustable attachments for cleaning applications is provided herein. The cleaning device may be a rigid body cleaning device that can accommodate a variety of attachments to clean a variety of surfaces including grout between tiled surfaces.
 The cleaning device includes attachments mounted to a rigid assembly. The rigid assembly is of solid construction and includes three, structurally integrated parts: a handle, a flange and a head. The head forms a mounting track, which is in part also formed by the flange, for several brush head assemblies. The top of the head incorporates a raised rib along its lengthwise axis to provide rigidity to the head and to assist in the transfer of energy from the handle to the head through the flange. The raised rib also defines a forward and rear track concave notch. The raised rib creates a track along the head that allows the brush head assemblies to be mounted at any desired spacing along the head as well as allowing the attachment of other accessories to the head.
 A cleaning device with multiple brush heads allows several lines of grout to be cleaned simultaneously. Customizable spacing of brush heads allows for the cleaning of varying widths of grout lines. Attachments such as a squeegee, sponge, or brush allow the device to be used for multiple purposes including removing cleanser film from grout and tile which may be left after cleaning adjacent grout lines.
 It is understood that while a preferred embodiment of a cleaning device is illustrated and described below, it is not limited to the specific form or arrangement of parts and/or design elements herein described and shown.
 Referring to FIG. 1, FIG. 2A and FIG. 2B, the cleaning device 10 includes a lengthwise handle 20, a flange 30, and a head 40. All three components are contiguous and structurally integrated, creating a single rigid structure. Therefore, the handle 20 is coupled to the flange 30 and the flange 30 is coupled to the head 40. The flange 30 connects the handle 20 with the head 40. The handle 20 is a hollow tube designed to be comfortable for gripping and may have a threaded aperture, which may allow connections to elongate the handle 20. The head 40 includes a raised rib 41 and a support section 42 that allows attachments to slide along the entire length of the head 40. The raised rib 41 may be common to the head 40 and the flange 30. The support section 42 may be a support tract. The raised rib 41 extends along the top of the head 40 running the lengthwise axis of the head 40. The support section 42 forms two tracks along the lengthwise axis of the head 40; the forward track 421 and the rear track 422. As shown, both the forward track 421 and the rear track 422 are convex. The raised rib 41 also forms two concave notches with the top surface of the support section 42; the forward track notch 423 and the rear track notch 424. The dimension of the forward track 421, which is the segment of the head 40 in front of the raised rib 41, may be equal or unequal to the dimension of the rear track 422, which is the segment of the head 40 behind the raised rib 41. If the forward track 421 and rear track 422 are of unequal dimensions, the asymmetrical design may ensure that all attachments may be placed onto the head 40 in one direction, ensuring the correct orientation of the attachments onto the head 40. The forward track notch 423 and the rear track notch 424 may dictate the orientation of attachments by creating a shape that accommodates a corresponding shape on the attachment. If the orientation of attachments does not matter for cleaning purposes, the forward track 421 and rear track 422 may be of equal dimensions and the forward track notch 423 and the rear track notch 424 may be of symmetrical shape.
 The cleaning device 10 may be made from a variety of materials, including, but not limited to, plastic, aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, wood or graphite. Other materials may be used if desired. The size of the cleaning device 10 may vary and particularly the lengthwise dimension of the head 40 may be shorted or elongated for a variety of applications of the cleaning device.
 Referring to FIG. 1, the embodiment of the cleaning device 10 shown includes multiple identical brush assemblies 50 mounted on the head 40. With additional reference to FIG. 3, the brush assembly 50 will now be discussed in detail. The brush assembly 50 is an attachment. It will be appreciated that the attachment may be removably coupled to the support section 42, shown in FIG. 2B. Specifically, in some embodiments two or more attachments may be removably coupled to the support section. The brush assembly 50 includes a brush body 51, comprised of a forward flange 511 and a rear flange 512. The brush body 51 is a single-piece brush body in the depicted embodiment. The forward flange 511 may be mated with the forward track 421, shown in FIG. 2B. Likewise, the rear flange 512 may be mated with the rear track 422, shown in FIG. 2B. The two flanges create a "C" shaped brush body 51. The "C" shape of the brush body 51 creates a support track 515 to slide the brush assembly 50 onto the head 40. The "C" shape of the brush body 51 may limit the movement of the brush assembly 50 in relationship to the head 40 when in use by allowing the forward flange 511 and the rear flange 512 to hug the around the support section 42. The dimensions of the forward flange 511 of the brush assembly and the rear flange 512 of the brush assembly correspond to the dimensions of the forward track 421 of the head 40 and the rear track 422 of the head, respectively, which may be equal or not equal. This correspondence may provide a tight fit between the brush assemblies 50 and the head 40 which may substantially reduce and in some cases eliminate movement of the brush assemblies 50 during operation and may also ensure the brush assemblies 50 are oriented onto the head 40 in the correct direction if desired. The forward flange end 513 and the rear flange end 514 of the brush body 51 may be convex and may correspond conversely with the shape of the forward track notch 423 and the rear track notch 424 of the support section 42. This correspondence may provide a tight fit between the brush assemblies 50 and the support section 42 and may also provide a desired orientation of the brush assemblies 50 onto the head 40. The forward flange 511 of the brush body 51 houses a threaded hole in which a thumbscrew 53 may be engaged. The thumbscrew 53 may be configured to secure the brush assembly 50 or other suitable attachment at a fixed location along the head 40, shown in FIG. 2A, and at a fixed distance relative to other attachments. Thus, a user may tighten the thumbscrew to fix the relative position of the brush assembly to the head or loosen the thumbscrew to enable adjustment of the relative position of the brush assembly. In this way, the thumbscrew may be selectively adjustable by a user of the cleaning device.
 The bottom of the brush body 51 contains several rows of bristles 52 which may be oriented in a direction efficient for use. The bristles 52 may be referred to as grout-cleaning bristles. However, the bristles may be used to clean a variety of surfaces, if desired.
 As depicted in FIG. 3, brush body support track 515 is designed to encompass support section 42 and slide along the entire length of support section 42. Brush body 51 may be constructed of a rigid plastic, nevertheless, a plastic with a modulus of elasticity which allows a slightly under-dimensioned brush body support track 515 to be marginally opened by the user of cleaning device 10 upon installation onto support section 42, thereby biasing brush body support track 515 with a compressive force on support section 42 which may secure the fit between support section 42 and brush body support track 515 and which may substantially reduce play, and therefore wear and tear, between these surfaces. Such a sign may be desirable as thumbscrew 53, while fixing brush assembly 50 to support section 42, provides force to substantially prevent the brush body 51 from pivoting in relationship to head 40 during vigorous use of cleaning device 10.
 The brush assemblies 50 are mounted to the head 40 of the cleaning device 10 via sliding onto the track of the head 40 such that they remain parallel to one another and may be spaced at any desired interval along the entire lengthwise axis of the head 40. Thumbscrews 53 that are engaged at the top of each brush assembly 50 may be advanced to press against the head 40 and lock the brush assembly 50 in any desired location along the head 40. Although thumbscrews 53 are used in this embodiment, other means of locking the brush assemblies 50 onto the head 40 may be used such as quick release cams or levers, etc. An embodiment of the cleaning device 10, shown in FIG. 1, includes a group of six brush assemblies 50 mounted onto the head 40. However the cleaning device may include more, or fewer, brush assemblies 50 if desired. The structure and operation of each brush assembly 50 is identical. Therefore, where one brush assembly 50 is described, this description applies to each of the assemblies. However, in other embodiments the structure of the brush assemblies may vary.
 Referring to FIG. 4, an alternative embodiment may use a squeegee attachment 60 mounted to the head 40, shown in FIG. 2A, for the use of removing excess water from surfaces. The length of the attachment body 61 is equal to the length of the head 40 of the cleaning device 10, in the depicted embodiment. However, other attachment body lengths have been contemplated. The squeegee may be inserted into a squeegee track 65 on the front of the squeegee attachment 60 allowing for easy replacement. The attachment body 61 slides along the track of the head 40 through a set of flanges 611/612 on either side of the top of the attachment body 61. The forward flange 62 is equipped with a threaded hold for a thumbscrew 64 to advance onto the head 40 and lock the attachment into place on the head 40 and consequently attaching to the cleaning device 10.
 A contiguous support section 42 along the entire length of head 40 permits a brush assembly 50 to be placed and secured anywhere along support section 42, and a brush assembly 50 may be installed or removed from either end of head 40. Moreover, contiguous support section 42 also permits alternative cleaning device attachments to be mounted to head 40, and in particular squeegee attachment 60 is depicted in FIG. 4 and sponge 70 in FIG. 5. In other embodiments, two or more squeegee attachments or sponges may be removably coupled to the contiguous support section 42.
 Other alternate embodiments may include a sponge 70 in FIG. 5, or a continuous brush attachment mounted to the rigid body in a similar manner as the embodiments described above. The sponge 70 may be referred to as a grout-cleaning sponge. However, the sponge may be used to clean a variety of surface, if desired. It is also possible to have an embodiment that permanently mounts brush assemblies or other apparatus to the support track.
 The cleaning device may also include a long handle screwed into the threaded handle of the rigid body, elongating the handle and extended the reach of the device.
 While specific embodiments of the cleaning device have been described in detail, it would be appreciated by those skilled in the art that there is modification and alterations that would be developed in light of the overall teaching of the disclosure. Accordingly, the particular arrangements disclosed are meant to be illustrative only and not limiting as to the scope of the invention.
Patent applications by James M. Hill, Eugene, OR US
Patent applications in class Brush
Patent applications in all subclasses Brush