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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
GARMENT DEODORISER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2004/103127
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Apparatus is disclosed for de-odorising a garment, including footwear, and/or for killing bacteria. The apparatus comprises: a housing (10), e.g. a clothes hanger, for fitting inside the garment includes at least one duct (16) that has a gas inlet (3) arranged to draw air into the duct from outside the garment and a gas outlet (18) arranged to discharge air from the duct within the garment and an ioniser (1) arranged to ionise air supplied through the duct. The apparatus may further includes a fan (2) for passing air through the at least one duct (16).

Inventors:
Lyons, Charles Stephen (26 Wren Crescent, Bushey Heath Watford, Hertfordshire WD2 1AN, GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2004/002205
Publication Date:
December 02, 2004
Filing Date:
May 21, 2004
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Lyons, Charles Stephen (26 Wren Crescent, Bushey Heath Watford, Hertfordshire WD2 1AN, GB)
International Classes:
A47G25/60; A47L23/20; A61L9/22; D06F73/00; (IPC1-7): A47G25/60; A61L9/22
Domestic Patent References:
WO2001019729A22001-03-22
Foreign References:
US6149038A2000-11-21
US6585935B12003-07-01
EP1121874A22001-08-08
GB2379495A2003-03-12
Other References:
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN vol. 1997, no. 01 31 January 1997 (1997-01-31)
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN vol. 1998, no. 10 31 August 1998 (1998-08-31)
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN vol. 2000, no. 24 11 May 2001 (2001-05-11)
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN vol. 2000, no. 12 3 January 2001 (2001-01-03)
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN vol. 1999, no. 09 30 July 1999 (1999-07-30)
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hedley, Nicholas James Matthew (Kilburn & Strode, 20 Red Lion Street, London WC1R 4PJ, GB)
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. Apparatus for deodorising a garment, including footwear, and/or for killing bacteria, which apparatus comprises: a housing for fitting inside the garment, said housing including at least one duct that has a gas inlet arranged to draw air into the duct from outside the garment and a gas outlet arranged to discharge air from the duct within the garment and an ioniser arranged to ionise air supplied through the duct.
2. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1, which further includes a fan for passing air through the at least one duct.
3. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the ioniser is arranged within the duct or adjacent to the duct inlet or outlet.
4. An apparatus as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the housing is arranged to support or be supported by or within the garment.
5. An apparatus as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the housing is a clothes hanger having a pair of struts for supporting the shoulders of a garment, wherein each strut is provided with a duct.
6. An apparatus as claimed in claim 5, wherein the ducts have a common intlet.
7. An apparatus as claimed in claim 6, wherein the struts are joined together and said common inlet is provided at the location where the struts join.
8. An apparatus as claimed in any one of claims 5 to 7, which further includes a bar joining the struts.
9. An apparatus as claimed in claim 8, wherein the bar includes a further duct that is in fluid communication with at least one of the ducts in the said struts.
10. An apparatus as claimed in claim 8, which includes a pair of spacedapart bars for supporting a pair of trousers and wherein at least one of the ducts has an outlet for directing to the space between the bars.
11. An apparatus as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the housing is shaped to fit inside an article of footwear and the outlet is arranged to pass air into the footwear article.
12. An apparatus as claimed in claim 11, wherein the housing has a shape corresponding to the shape of the inside of a shoe or boot.
13. An apparatus as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 12, which includes at least one vent for allowing air to pass out of the garment to the atmosphere.
14. An apparatus as claimed in claim 13, wherein a fan is provided for passing air through the at least one vent.
15. An apparatus as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 14, which further includes a chamber for holding waterabsorbent material, said chamber being arranged to dry air within the garment.
16. An apparatus as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 15, which further includes waterabsorbent material arranged to dry air within the garment.
Description:
GARMENT DEODORISER Technical Field The present invention relates to the deodorising of garments and killing of bacteria while they are not being worn. As used herein, the term"garment" means clothing, irrespective of the material from which the clothing is made, and footwear.

Background While being worn, a garment can acquire malodours, not only from the wearer but also from the external environment, for example tobacco odours from the <BR> <BR> t<BR> garment being wom in a smoke-filled environment.

It is known to store clothing in the presence of aromatic materials, for example lavender to remove or mask malodours and prevent malodours from developing.

It is known to use ionisers to freshen the air within a room. It is also known to use ionisers to eliminate other malodours and to kill bacteria, for example in pet-grooming brushes.

Disclosure of Invention According to the present invention, there is provided an apparatus for de- odorising a garment, including footwear, and/or for killing bacteria, which apparatus comprises: a housing for fitting inside the garment, said housing including at least one duct that has a gas inlet arranged to draw air into the duct from outside the garment and a gas outlet arranged to discharge air from the duct within the garment and an ioniser arranged to ionise air supplied through the duct.

The apparatus may further include a fan for passing air through the at least one duct.

By providing a flow of air into the garment that is ionised, an improved deodorising/anti-bacterial effect can be brought about as compared to merely placing a de-ioniser in the room, wardrobe or cupboard in which the garments are stored.

Air ionisers are well known and freely available; for example, they are often used in room fresheners and so further description is unnecessary.

The ioniser may be arranged within the duct or adjacent to the duct inlet or outlet in order to ionise air supplied by the duct and supplied to the space within the garment. If the space within the garment to which the duct outlet feeds air is a closed space, e. g. the inside of a shoe, then one or more vents may be provided for allowing air to pass out of the garment to the atmosphere. A vent may also be provided even if the space within the garment is open. If the ionised air is supplied to a space that is not itself closed, then a fan may be provided in the vent for drawing air out of the inside of the garment; a fan may also be provided when the space is closed. Such an arrangement may be desirable to increase the circulation of air within the garment and/or to dry the inside of the garment. A single fan may be used to provide the ionised air and, by reversing the direction of rotation of the fan, to vent air from the inside of the garment.

The fan in the duct and/or vent may operate simultaneously or sequentially with each other and with the ioniser. In one embodiment, the ioniser only operates while the fans are not in operation and vice versa.

Ionisation is rendered less efficient by moisture e. g. if the garment is damp.

Accordingly, it a feature of the present invention that the duct and/or vent can be used to circulate air within the garment to dry it out. During such a drying phase, the ioniser may be turned on or remain off; in one embodiment, the fan (s) in the duct and/or vent are operated intermittently and the ioniser is turned on when the fan (s) are not operating. In order to assist in drying, water absorbent materials, e. g. silica gel may be provided. A perforated compartment may be provided within the housing containing such water absorbing materials.

Alternatively, the water absorbent materials may merely be provided within the housing so as to be arranged within the garment concerned.

In one embodiment, the apparatus may take the form of a clothes hanger having a pair of struts for supporting the shoulders of a garment; in this case, each strut could be provided with a duct. The ducts may be formed within the struts or may merely be supported by the struts. Preferably, the ducts of the two shoulder struts meet at a common inlet, which is preferably located just below a suspension hook.

The clothes hanger may include a bar joining the shoulder struts and the bar is provided with a further duct that is in fluid communication with at least one of the ducts in the shoulder struts. Outlets can be provided along the length of the bar to provide ionised air to trousers held on the bar.

Instead of providing an actual duct in the bar, air from at least one of the strut ducts can be configured to direct ionised air along the direction of the bar so that trousers folded over the bar will create a channel to contain the flow of ionised air. Instead of using a single bar, two spaced-apart bars may be provided and the air is directed to the space between the bars.

The ioniser and/or the fans in the duct and vent may be driven by battery power or by mains power.

In one preferred embodiment, the hanger may be provided in conjunction with a trouser press, for example a Corby trouser press (Corby is a trade mark).

Such trouser presses are already provided with a hanger for holding a jacket while the trousers are being pressed. The hanger may be a hanger in accordance with the present invention to refresh the jacket while the trousers are being pressed. In this case, the power supply for the ioniser and fan (s) would generally be the same mains electricity supply as is used to power the trouser press.

As indicated above, the fans and/or ionisers may operate intermittently and switches may be provided to turn the fans and ioniser on and off. A light may indicate that the fans and/or the ioniser is in operation. The light and switch may be provided, in the case of a clothes hanger, in the area of the housing where the two struts meet. This will allow them to be readily visible and accessible from the outside.

The ioniser is preferably located at the end of the struts within a perforated enclosure adjacent to the armpits of a garment hung on the hanger to de-odorise the garment at the armpits of the garment and also kill bacteria at that location.

A timer may be provided to limit the operation of the ioniser to a pre- programmed time or a time set by the user. If so, the control should be readily accessible, for example, in the case of a hanger, in the part of the hanger where the two shoulder struts meet.

Washable, removable and/or disposable electrostatic filters may be provided if desired.

The apparatus could take the form of an insert to fit inside an article of footwear and the duct is arranged to pass ionised air into the footwear. The housing should be such as to allow the passage of as much air as possible within the footwear.

Brief Description of the Drawings Referring to the accompanying drawings, which are given by way of example only: Figure 1 is an example of a hanger in accordance with the invention; Figure 2 is a schematic view of a second hanger in accordance with the invention; Figure 3 is a schematic sectional view of a shoe insert in accordance with the present invention; Figure 4 is a schematic sectional view of a pair of linked shoe inserts in accordance with the present invention; and Figure 5 is a schematic sectional view of a stack of pairs of linked shoe inserts in accordance with the present invention.

Detailed Description of the Best Mode for Putting the Invention into Practice Referring initially to Figure 1, there is shown a hanger having a pair of shoulder struts 12 and a connecting bar 6. A hanger hook 14 is provided to suspend the hanger from a bar. Below the hook 14, at the place where the shoulder struts 12 meet, there is provided a vent 3 with a grill. Behind the grill is a fan 2, which draws air in through the grill and supplies it to ducts 16 shown in broken lines in Figure 1. Air drawn in by the fan 2 passes along the ducts 16

to an outlet 18, where it flows over ionisers 1 situated within a perforated enclosure (the perforations are shown by the reference number 1'). A portion of the air fed through the ducts 16 can be passed along the bar 6 and can pass out through perforations provided in the bar.

Also suspended from the shoulder struts 12 are perforated containers 9 for holding silica gel for removing dampness from a garment.

A control switch 4 may be provided for turning the fan and ioniser on and off.

The hanger may be provided with a control unit (not shown) which controls the operation of the fan and ioniser according a predetermined program and/or in accordance with a timer (not shown).

The fan may be stopped while the ionisers are in operation and vice versa. The ionisers and the fan may be operated intermittently.

The fan 2 can operate in either direction, that is to say it can pass air along the duct to outlet 18, which is a normal mode of operation, or it can operate in reverse and draw air along the duct from outlet 18 and expel it through the grill 3. Normally, when the is switched on, air is drawn through the grill 3 by fan 2 and passed down the duct 16 to the outlet 18, where it contacts the ioniser to produce ionised air within a garment hanging on the shoulder struts 12. Part of the ionised air would pass through the bar 6 and out through outlets 20.

Operation could be started by means of the switch 4 and terminated by turning the switch off. Alternatively, a timer could be provided to terminate the operation of the fan and ioniser. An LED 5 could be lit when the hanger is in operation.

When a garment is damp, it can be dried out and a typical operation cycle may be controlled by a central processing unit (not shown) as follows: 1. The fan 2 could operate by alternately passing air into the garment via the duct to outlet 18 and withdrawing air from the interior of the garment by reversing the fan and drawing air in through inlet 18 and discharging it through the grill 3.

2. The fan could operate intermittently so that, during rest periods, it does not pass air through the duct 16.

3. After a predetermined time, or on detection of a low relative humidity level using a sensor (not shown), the above operation could be terminated and the operation of the hanger switch to its normal mode of supplying air continuously or intermittently through the duct 16 past the ioniser 1.

The hanger of Figure 2 is identical in operation to that of Figure 1 and so is shown without the bar 6. However, the Figure 2 hanger includes, in addition to the duct 16 described in connection with Figure 1, a pair of vents 30 that can draw air from within the garment and pass it to the atmosphere. A fan 32, may be provided to draw air along the duct. The fan 32 may be driven by the same motor as fan 2.

Referring to Figure 3, there is shown a shoe insert 50 having a housing 52 in the shape of the inside of a shoe. The inside of the housing is a hollow space.

The housing also includes an air intake section 56 which will be placed in the opening of the shoe. The air intake section includes a fan 58 and an ioniser 60.

Air is drawn by the fan 58 from the atmosphere through an inlet 62 and passes across ioniser 60 into space 53 (see arrows A). An air vent 64 is provided in section 56 and air passes in the direction of arrow B from the space 53 to vent 64. A further fan may be provided at the outlet vent 64 to draw air in this

direction. In order to prevent air passing directly from the air inlet section to the outlet 64, a baffle wall 68 is provided between them.

Two or more shoe inserts may be linked together with a common air supply and venting arrangement, as shown in Figure 4, which shows two inserts 50, which use the same general reference numbers as are used in Figure 3 to indicate the same features. Thus a single fan 58 draws air in from the atmosphere and directs it along ducts 68 to ioniser 60 provided within a perforated housing 52. Also shown in Figure 4 are a filter 71 in front of the ioniser 60 and a silica gel compartment 70. Each insert also includes a vent 72 for venting air from within the footwear; air is withdrawn along vent 72 by a fan 58b.

Figure 5 shows a stack of shoe inserts as described in Figure 4 provided with a manifold 80 having an inlet 82 for providing air to the air ducts (not shown) of the inserts 50. A stand 81 is provided for supporting the inserts 50.