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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
A CLEANING DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/025014
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A cleaning device for a toilet comprising a deformable housing (2) for containing at least a first fluid; a fluid flow passage (4b, 6b) located at a first position in the housing, the first fluid flow passage being configured to permit the transfer of at least part of the first fluid from the interior of the housing to the exterior of the housing on deformation of the deformable housing; and a second fluid flow passage (4b, 6b) located at a second position in the housing, the second fluid flow passage being configured to permit fluid flow of a second fluid from the exterior of the housing to the interior of the housing in dependence upon the transfer of at least part of the first fluid through the first fluid flow passage.

Inventors:
MISTRY, Kamlesh (48 Bridge Mead, Ebley, Stroud Gloucestershire GL5 4BP, GL5 4BP, GB)
Application Number:
GB2017/052205
Publication Date:
February 08, 2018
Filing Date:
July 28, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MISTRY, Kamlesh (48 Bridge Mead, Ebley, Stroud Gloucestershire GL5 4BP, GL5 4BP, GB)
International Classes:
A47K11/10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STRACHAN, Victoria (Essex Place, 22 Rodney Road, Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL50 1JJ, GL50 1JJ, GB)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A cleaning device for a toilet comprising

a deformable housing for containing at least a first fluid;

a fluid flow passage located at a first position in the housing, the first fluid flow passage being configured to permit the transfer of at least part of the first fluid from the interior of the housing to the exterior of the housing on deformation of the deformable housing; and a second fluid flow passage located at a second position in the housing, the second fluid flow passage being configured to permit fluid flow of a second fluid from the exterior of the housing to the interior of the housing in dependence upon the transfer of at least part of the first fluid through the first fluid flow passage.

2. A cleaning device according to claim 1 , wherein the second fluid flow passage is configured to prevent fluid flow of a second fluid from the exterior of the housing to the interior of the housing when at least part of the first fluid is being transferred through the first fluid flow passage.

3. A cleaning device according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the second fluid flow passage is configured to permit fluid flow of the second fluid from the exterior of the housing to the interior of the housing when a pressure differential is formed between a region external to the housing and a region internal to the housing.

A cleaning device according to any preceding claim, wherein the deformation of the deformable housing is provided by manual pressure applied to an external region of the housing.

A cleaning device according to claim 4 wherein the second fluid flow passage is configured to permit fluid flow of the second fluid from the exterior of the housing to the interior of the housing on termination of the application of manual pressure to the exterior of the deformable housing.

A cleaning device according to claim 4 or claim 5, wherein the manual pressure is a squeezing force.

A cleaning device according to any preceding claim, wherein at least part of the first fluid is caused to move from the interior of the housing to the exterior of the housing in response to the application of increased pressure to the interior of the housing.

A cleaning device according to any preceding claim, wherein the first fluid differs to the second fluid.

9. A cleaning device according to any preceding claim, wherein the first fluid is a liquid.

10. A cleaning device according to any preceding claim, wherein the second fluid is a gas.

1 1 . A cleaning device according to any preceding claim, wherein a first one-way valve is located at the first fluid flow passage.

12. A cleaning device according to any of claims 1 to 10, wherein a removeably attachable first lid is located at the first fluid flow passage.

13. A cleaning device according to claim 12, wherein an inner edge of the lid comprises a thread that is co-operable with a complimentary thread located at the first positon of the housing.

14. A cleaning device according to claim 12 or claim 13, wherein a first valve is located in the first lid. 15. A cleaning device according to claim 1 1 or claim 14 wherein the valve is a cross-slit valve.

16. A cleaning device according to claim 15 wherein the valve is formed from silicone.

17. A cleaning device according to any preceding claim, wherein a second valve is located at the second fluid flow passage.

18. A cleaning device according to any of claims 1 to 16, wherein a removeably attachable second lid is located at the second fluid flow passage.

19. A cleaning device according to claim 18, wherein an inner edge of the second lid comprises a thread that is co-operable with a complimentary thread located on the second positon of the housing.

20. A cleaning device according to claim 18 or 19, wherein a second valve is located in the second lid.

21 . A cleaning device according to claim 17 or 20, wherein the second valve is an air valve.

22. A cleaning device according to claim 21 , wherein the valve is an in line ball valve.

23. A cleaning device according to any preceding claim, wherein the first fluid is expelled from the first fluid flow passage as a directional jet of fluid.

24. A cleaning device according to any preceding claim wherein the. first fluid flow path is spaced apart from the second fluid flow path.

25. A cleaning device according to claim 23 wherein the first fluid flow path and the second fluid flow path are located at opposing ends of the housing.

26. A cleaning device according to any preceding claim, wherein the housing is an elongate body.

27. A cleaning device according to any preceding claim, wherein the thickness of the housing is sized to be held within at least one hand of a user.

28. A cleaning device according to any preceding claim, wherein the housing comprises a funnel shaped first end defining the first position.

29. A cleaning device according to claim 28, wherein the second end of the housing defines the second position and is wider than the first end of the housing.

30. A cleaning device, according to claim 29, wherein at least one surface at the second end there is positioned an elongate protrusion for, in use, guiding the positioning of the hand of the user. 31 . A cleaning device, according to claim 30, wherein the elongate protrusion has at least one tapered side edge.

32. A cleaning device according to any preceding claim, wherein the housing is receivable in a self-standing holder in the stored state.

33. A cleaning device according to any of claims 1 to 31 , wherein the housing is receivable in a wall mountable holder in the stored state.

34. A cleaning device as hereinbefore described in reference to the accompanying drawings.

Description:
A cleaning device

This invention relates to a cleaning device, in particular one that may be used to direct fluid to the surface of a toilet bowl.

It is well known to use a toilet brush for daily cleaning of the toilet bowl. A standard toilet brush is provided with a hard bristled end, usually rounded in shape and is commonly made of plastic. The toilet brush is commonly stored in a holder when not is use such that the bristled end of the brush is enclosed by the holder.

In use the brush is held by its handle and the bristled end is brought into contact with the inside of the toilet bowl.

Use of the toilet brush is a generally unpleasant experience where the user must reach behind the toilet bowl to access the handle of the toilet brush, make contact between the brush end and the toilet bowl, scrub the toilet bowl with the brush end and then return the soiled toilet brush to the holder.

Generally the toilet brush is used with a toilet cleaner or bleach and therefore after being used, the brush will contain toxic cleaning chemicals which can be a risk to the health of young children who may come into contact with it.

The toilet brush is used to clean the inner surface of the bowl either above or below the waterline, however such a toilet brush should not be used to clean the toilet seat or any other area of the toilet that is to come into contact with the user of the toilet.

In recent years there has been a desire to make toilet brushes more aesthetically pleasing, This has resulted in toilet brushes being made from a variety of materials and in a variety of different shapes. There has also been a drive to make the brush more ergonomic for the user, for example electronic toilet brushes exist whereby the bristles are fastened on the rotor of a motor and powered by a battery. Therefore, faeces removal is less strenuous on the user.

However, such a device comprises many mechanical parts and may as a result be costly to purchase. Also such a device is powered on batteries that need to be regularly replaced causing unwanted further expense and contact with the brush and replacement is likely to be required at a time when it is not convenient to do so.

Also, when considering both the standard and electronic versions of the toilet brush, the bristle end of the brush regularly comes into contact with faeces or other residue deposited on the inner surface of the toilet bowl and as a result is full of bacteria. This makes it an unpleasant experience to the user. Additionally it is undesirable for the brush to be accessed by small children.

Innovative toilet brush holders have been designed and implemented to better contain the bristled end of the brush and to prevent the release of unpleasant smells and germs when the brush is stored away. One example is to use a snap fit mechanism between the brush and the holder.

However, this does not prevent the dripping of dirty water and/or shifted residues onto the toilet seat or the floor on transfer of the brush between the toilet and the holder.

Therefore, embodiments of the present invention are intended to address at least some of the above described problems and desires. In particular there is provided a device that is an alternative to a toilet brush which is capable of efficiently and reliably cleaning the surface of a toilet bowl and just below the water line. Beneficially, the cleaning device does not touch the toilet when in use so as to provide a hygienic alternative to a toilet brush that is efficient to use and safe for children. The cleaning device also offers a less unpleasant experience since it is less messy (mainly due to the absence of dirty water from the brush dripping everywhere), there is less of a smell since dirty water is not collected in the holder, the cleaning device is more environmentally friendly and it is also more aesthetically pleasing.

According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided a cleaning device for a toilet comprising

a deformable housing for containing at least a first fluid;

a fluid flow passage located at a first position in the housing, the first fluid flow passage being configured to permit the transfer of at least part of the first fluid from the interior of the housing to the exterior of the housing on deformation of the deformable housing; and

a second fluid flow passage located at a second position in the housing, the second fluid flow passage being configured to permit fluid flow of a second fluid from the exterior of the housing to the interior of the housing in dependence upon the transfer of at least part of the first fluid through the first passage.

The housing is a main body having a central chamber configured to receive the first fluid, the second fluid or a mixture of the first and second fluid.

The second fluid flow passage may be configured to prevent fluid flow of a second fluid from the exterior of the housing to the interior of the housing when at least part of the first fluid is being transferred through the first fluid flow passage. In fact the second fluid enters the interior of the deformable housing subsequent to the first fluid being expelled from the deformable housing. Therefore the first fluid flow and the second fluid flow cannot occur at the same time. This is due to the fact that the user is squeezing the bottle and there is no space for the second fluid to enter until the user releases their squeezing force.

The second fluid flow passage may be configured to permit fluid flow of the second fluid from the exterior of the housing to the interior of the housing when a pressure differential is formed between a region external to the housing and a region internal to the housing.

The deformation of the deformable housing may be provided by manual pressure applied to an external region of the housing.

The second fluid flow passage may be configured to permit fluid flow of the second fluid from the exterior of the housing to the interior of the housing on termination of the application of manual pressure to the exterior of the deformable housing.

The manual pressure may be a squeezing force.

The at least part of the first fluid may be caused to move from the interior of the housing to the exterior of the housing in response to the application of increased pressure to the interior of the housing.

The first fluid may differ to the second fluid.

The first fluid may be a liquid.

The second fluid may be a gas, for example air.

A first one-way valve may be located at the first fluid flow passage.

A removeably attachable first lid may be located at the first fluid flow passage. An inner edge of the lid may comprise a thread that is co-operable with a complimentary thread located at the first positon of the housing.

A first valve may be located in the first lid. The valve may be a cross-slit valve.

The valve may be formed from silicone.

A second valve may be located at the second fluid flow passage.

A removeably attachable second lid may be located at the second fluid flow passage.

An inner edge of the second lid may comprise a thread that is co- operable with a complimentary thread located on the second positon of the housing.

A second valve may be located in the second lid.

The second valve may be an air valve.

The valve may be an in line ball valve.

The first fluid may be expelled from the first fluid flow passage as a directional jet of fluid.

The.first fluid flow path may be spaced apart from the second fluid flow path.

The first fluid flow path and the second fluid flow path may be located at opposing ends of the housing.

The housing may be an elongate body.

The thickness of the housing may be sized to be held within at least one hand of a user. The housing may comprise a funnel shaped first end defining the first position.

The second end of the housing may define the second position and is wider than the first end of the housing.

At least one surface at the second end there may be positioned an elongate protrusion for, in use, guiding the positioning of the hand of the user.

The elongate protrusion may have at least one tapered side edge.

The housing may be receivable in a self-standing holder in the stored state.

The housing may be receivable in a wall mountable holder in the stored state.

Whilst the invention has been described above it extends to any inventive combination of the features set out above, or in the following description, drawings or claims. For example, any features described in relation to any one aspect of the invention is understood to be disclosed also in relation to any other aspect of the invention.

The invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:-

Figure 1 a is a perspective bottom view of the cleaning device according to the invention;

Figure 1 b is a perspective top view of the cleaning device according to the invention;

Figure 2 is a front view of the cleaning device;

Figure 3a is a top view of the cleaning device applied using two hands; Figure 3b is a top view of the cleaning device applied using one hand; Figure 4 is a cross sectional view of the cleaning device; and

Figure 5 is a perspective view of the cleaning device in the stored position.

In Figure 1 a and 1 b the cleaning device 1 comprises an elongate main body 2 formed of a deformable material, for example a plastic such as PVC and in which a central chamber 3 is formed. The main body 1 has a first end 2a spaced apart from the second end 2b. The first end 2a being substantially narrower than the second end 2b and is bent away from the longitudinal axis of the main body 2. At the first end 2a is located a first aperture 4a that is covered by a removable lid 5a. The walls of the main body 2 taper towards the first end 2a of the main body and towards the first aperture 4a. In use the first aperture 4a acts as an outlet or a spout. The first lid 5a is removeably attached to the first end 2a of the main body 2 by a thread arrangement (not shown) as per a standard bottle and lid arrangement so as to enable the first aperture 4a located at the first end 2a of the main body 2 to be substantially covered by the lid 5a. A first valve 6a is located in the first lid 5a such that the first aperture and valve create a first fluid flow path enabling the passage of a first fluid in a first direction only. The first valve 6a sits within an undercut region located at the end of the first lid 5a. Therefore the valve 6a is secured within the first lid 5a in a friction fit.

The first lid 5a is secured to the main body screwing the first lid 5a on a threaded portion (not shown) located at the first end 2a of the main body

Whilst the first lid 5a is predominantly intended to stay in place, the ability for it to be unscrewed enables a replacement lid to be applied. Replacement of the lid may be desired for example in the case of a fault with the outlet valve or when the lid is to be replaced with a lid comprising a valve with a different diameter so as to provide an alternative spray strength.

The side edges of the main body are tapered towards the first end 2a such that fluid contained therein i.e. within the chamber is funnelled towards the first aperture 4a at the first end 2a when a user applies manual pressure i.e. a squeezing force on the exterior of the cleaning device 1 . The fluid then exits the first aperture 4a along the first fluid flow path and the bent configuration of the first end 2a ensures that the fluid is directed downwardly of the user. The thickness between the top surface and the bottom surface of the main body 2 is sized to permit the user to comfortably and reliably hold the bottle in their hand so as to enable them to ergonomically squeeze the top wall 2c and bottom wall 2d of the main body towards each other. The top wall 2c and the bottom wall 2d of the main body are flat and are slightly tapered such that the top wall 2c and bottom wall 2d are closer at the first end 2a of the main body compared to at the second end 2b of the main body. This tapering effect is extremely subtle and in an alternative embodiment need not be provided.

A fluid, for example water, can be located in the chamber 3 of the main body 2. It is noted that the cleaning device has been optimised for use with water and that other fluids, for example bleach and other cleaning liquids would be too viscous to squirt powerfully under pressure. A small amount of bleach could be added to the water, but this is not advised since this is considered a health and safety issue. Instead the bleach could be applied to the bowl in the standard way after the water jet has been applied on use of the cleaning device. At the second end 2b of the main body 2 is positioned a second aperture 4b that in use is operational as an inlet. A second lid 5b is removeably attached to the second end 2b of the main body 2 so as to retain the contents located interior to the main body 2 and prevent them from escaping to the exterior of the main body 2.

The second end lid 5b is removeably attached to the second end 2b of the main body 2 by screwing the second lid 5b on a threaded portion (not shown) located at the second end 2b of the main body as per a standard bottle and lid arrangement so as to enable the aperture located at the second end of the main body to be substantially covered by the lid.

The first and second lid are formed from polypropylene.

The main body of the cleaning device is a bottle type structure that has an aperture 4a, 4b located at either end of the bottle, wherein the apertures are closeable by means of a first and second threaded lid respectively. A valve assembly 6b is configured in the second lid 5b. The valve permits passage of air from the exterior of the cleaning device to the interior of the cleaning device and prohibits the passage of the fluid from the interior of the cleaning device to the exterior of the cleaning device when the second lid 5b is in position. Specifically the air is caused to pass within the device 1 in the case that water from inside of the device is expelled through the outlet located at the other end (first end 2a) of the main body 2.

In Figure 2 it is shown that a valve assembly 6a is also located on the flat region of the first lid 5a. This first valve 6a is in the form of a cross slit valve that permits the travel of fluid in a first direction from the interior of the main body to the exterior of the main body, but prevents movement of fluid from the exterior of the main body to the interior of the main body. Therefore, due to the use of the second valve assembly 6b there is only a minimal transfer of air from the exterior region of the main body 2 to the interior region of the main body 2 through the cross slit valve.

In a first state of the device, the water remains within the chamber 3 of the main body 2 and is only caused to move through the cross slit valve when a user squeezes an external region of the main body 2 and deforms the shape of the main body 2 so as to decreases the volume within the main body 2 and increase the pressure applied to the fluid contained therein.

In use, as shown in Figure 3a and 3b the user takes the device in their hand or hands and directs the off-centred narrow end of the cleaning device 1 towards the toilet bowl. An elongate protrusion 7 extends along at least part of the top wall 2c of the main body and acts a guide for the hand of the user. The elongated protrusion 7 is tapered at its side edges 7a, 7b and is terminated by a flat connecting portion 7c. The protrusion 7 also acts to increase the volume within the main body, since the dimensions of the main body 2 are limited to enable the user to squeeze the bottle. The increased volume provided by the protrusion 7 also provides a region of increased depth close to the second aperture that aids the flow of the first fluid as it passes through the aperture and into the interior of the main body 2 and consequently allows the main body to be filled with ease.

In use, the user applies a squeezing force to the exterior of a rearward region of the main body 2 and the water contained within the chamber 3 of the main body 2 is compressed and forced through the cross slit valve 6a so as to form a directional water jet that can be directed towards the residue to be removed from the toilet bowl or to provide a general cleaning mechanism. As the water is expelled from the interior of the cleaning device 1 and the user releases the manual pressure from the external region of the main body 2, the pressure within the device 1 is reduced and this causes air from an external region to pass through the air valve 6b into the chamber 3 of the cleaning device 1 due to the pressure differential formed between the space external to the main body 2 and the space internal to the main body 2. Replacing the expelled water with air ensures that there is enough pressure in the cleaning device 1 to enable further use of the device such that the device can be used even if the chamber 3 is only partially filled with water. This ensures that the user can provide a water jet stream as and when required. This is because in the unsqueezed state the pressure within the main body 2 is maintained and the main body 2 is is no longer deformed.

Once the water in the main body 2 has been partially or completely depleted, the second lid 5b located at the wider end of the main body 2 can be removed, the second end 2b can be positioned under the tap and the tap can be turned on to permit passage of water from the tap through the second aperture 4b and into the chamber 3 of the main body 2. Therefore, on removal of the second lid 5b, the second aperture 4b may act as a water inlet.

Therefore, the bottle-like part of the cleaning device 2 can be re-filled with water provided by a tap located, for example in the bathroom and in close proximity of the toilet which increases the level of convenience to the user. Use of tap water also provides a cost effective means of cleaning the toilet. Further using tap water rather than a brush with bleach/toilet cleaner also provides a more environmentally friendly means of removing residue from a toilet bowl.

Figure 4 shows that the second end 2b of the main body 2 is bent away from the longitudinal axis of the elongate main body 2 to enable the second aperture 4b to be conveniently positioned under the tap enabling the main body 2 to be filled with water. The first end 2a of the main body 2 is also shown to be bent away from the longitudinal axis of the elongate main body 2.

Figure 4 also clearly shows the first and second valve 6a, 6b of the first and second lid 5a, 5b respectively.

Firstly considering the second valve 6b which is the 'air' valve, or the inlet valve, it is shown that the second valve 6b is located within the second lid 5b which is positioned at the second end 2b of the main body 2. The second valve 6b is a ball valve that comprises a central channel 8 in which is located a small spherical structure 9.

The second valve 6b is pushed through the second aperture (not shown) located within the second lid (or end cap) and is sealed on its underside by an O-ring. The underside is the part that faces towards the interior of the main body 2 when the second lid 5b is screwed onto the main body 2.

When the pressure internal to the main body 2 is equal to, or greater than the pressure experienced externally of the main body 2, the spherical structure 9 is configured in a first configuration in which it prohibits passage of air from external to the main body 2 to an internal region (i.e. chamber 3) of the main body 2. However, as the main body 2 is squeezed a portion of the water passes through the first valve 6a located at the narrow first end 2a of the main body 2.

When the user releases the manual pressure that he has applied to the external surface of the main body 2, the pressure within the main body 2 is consequently less than the pressure outside of the main body 2. This has the effect of moving the spherical structure 9 to a second configuration permitting air from external to the device 1 to pass through the central channel 8 to the interior chamber 3 of the main body 2 i.e. the spherical structure 9 moves along the channel 8 between a first configuration and a second configuration. The water contained within the chamber 3 of the main body 2 is still, however prevented from passing through the air valve 6b. Once the pressure within the chamber 3 of the main body 2 has been restored to its original level (or substantially at that level) the spherical structure 9 will return to the first configuration so as to prohibit the passage of air from the exterior to the interior of the device 1 once again. Therefore, the air valve 6b only operates when a reduction in pressure within the main body 2 is experienced i.e. when a pressure differential exists between the region exterior to the main body and the region interior to the main body 2. This arrangement ensures that the device 1 is consistently ready to be used, even when only a fraction of the water remains within the chamber 3. This also ensures that the force of water expelled from the first end 2a is maintained regardless of the volume of water contained within the chamber, so as to provide the required spray or jet to clean the toilet bowl.

By maintaining the pressure within the main body 2 (i.e. by permitting the air to be drawn into the interior of the main body 2 on release of the squeezing force on the main body 2) the shape of the main body 2 maintains its initial shape enabling the device to operate even when there is a reduced amount of water located within the interior of the main body i.e. when the device is only partially filled.

Once the user has completed the cleaning action the main body 2 can be placed in a stand 10, as shown in Figure 5. Such a stand 10 is usually located adjacent to the toilet. The narrow first end 2a of the main body 2 (which is the water output end) is receivable in a co-operably shaped self-standing stand 10. At no point does the stand 10 and the bottle part (namely main body 2 and first and second lid 5a, 5b) of the device 1 come into contact with the toilet bowl. Therefore, both the stand 10 and the device 1 beneficially are devoid of germs or toilet residues usually associated with a toilet brush. The stand 10 has a flat base 1 1 and two opposing raised sides 12a, 12b that, in use, come into contact with a portion of the side edge of the main body 2. The front portion of the stand 10 has a recessed region located between the first and second side edge 12a, 12b of the stand 10 which is provided to aid the placement of the narrow end 2a of the elongate body 2 into the stand 10. This ensures that the user can easily access the second, wider end 2b of the elongated body 2 which extends past the top edge of the stand 10. The rear portion may also comprise a recessed region, but need not do so. In a stored state, the lower region (first end 2a) of the main body 2 snuggly fits within the side walls 12a, 12b of the stand 10.

The device 1 is designed to be used every day immediately after the toilet has been used. Often people use toilet brushes with toilet cleaner/bleach for the weekly clean of the toilet bowl too. The cleaning device 1 of the invention will not be used in this way because it is not capable of removing caked on grime. Therefore the cleaning device is for immediate use. Therefore, by cleaning on the go using a more convenient and less tiresome method there is less of a mess for people to have to deal with when they do the weekly clean, and this may eliminate the possibility of someone stumbling across a dirty toilet bowl following someone else's visit.

Various modifications to the principles described above would suggest themselves to the skilled person. For example, the chamber 3 of the main body 2 can be filled with a fluid other than water, for example a small amount of bleach could be added to provide a deep clean. The user may insert water into the main body 2 on removal of the first lid 5 allocated at the narrower end 2a of the main body 2.

The main body 2 need not be made from plastic and may instead be made from another material having the same deformable property.

In an alternative embodiment of the invention the first end 2a need not be bent away from the longitudinal axis of the elongate main body 2.

In an alternative embodiment the elongate protrusion 7 is not provided on the outer surface of the main body 2.

The air valve 6b need not be a ball valve, and may instead be any valve that stops air entering the main body when it is squeezed, yet permits air into the bottle when the main body is released (or un-squeezed). The air transfer through the air valve 6b of course assumes that a pressure differential exists between the exterior and interior of the main body 2. The main body 2 may alternatively be mateable with a wall mountable holder (not shown) so as to prevent the need for the user to bend down and reach around the toilet bowl.

The first and second passage may not be spaced apart at opposite ends of the main body 2 and instead the second passage may be located, for example, half way along the main body 2 or three quarters of the way along the main body. Alternatively the first and second passage may be located side by side to each other.

In an alternative embodiment of the invention the main body 2 is tubular in form and does not have the tapered edged as per the above embodiment.

In an alternative embodiment the cross slit valve 6a need not be formed of silicon and may be formed of an alternative material, for example rubber or some other resilient material.

In an alternative embodiment of the invention the first valve 6a will be glued to the ledge located at the end of the first lid 5a.

The lids need not be formed of polypropylene, and may instead be formed from another plastic, or indeed a metal.