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Title:
PERSONAL WASH SOAP HOLDER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2003/079877
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A personal wash soap bar holder comprising at least one reversibly closeable opening (2) and a means (5) for suspending the holder around the neck and/or about the shoulders of the user.

Inventors:
Davies, Leonard Edward (Unilever Vietnam, Central Plaza Floor 12 17 Le Duan Boulevar, District 1 Ho Chi Minh City, VN)
Hoa, Vo-van (Lever Vietnam Joint Venture Company, 672-673 Kien Thiet Buildings District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, VN)
Huynh, Pham-ngoc (Lever Vietnam Joint Venture Company, 672-673 Kien Thiet Buildings District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, VN)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2003/002631
Publication Date:
October 02, 2003
Filing Date:
March 10, 2003
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
UNILEVER PLC (Unilever House, Blackfriars, London EC4P 4BQ, GB)
UNILEVER NV (Weena 455, AL Rotterdam, NL-3013, NL)
HINDUSTAN LEVER LIMITED (Hindustan Lever House, 165/166 Backbay Reclamation Maharashtra, 0 Mumbai, 400 02, IN)
Davies, Leonard Edward (Unilever Vietnam, Central Plaza Floor 12 17 Le Duan Boulevar, District 1 Ho Chi Minh City, VN)
Hoa, Vo-van (Lever Vietnam Joint Venture Company, 672-673 Kien Thiet Buildings District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, VN)
Huynh, Pham-ngoc (Lever Vietnam Joint Venture Company, 672-673 Kien Thiet Buildings District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, VN)
International Classes:
A47K7/03; (IPC1-7): A47K7/03
Foreign References:
US5857794A
US3791746A
US6015242A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mulder, Cornelis Willem Reinier (Unilever PLC, Patent Department Colworth House, Sharnbroo, Bedford Bedfordshire MK44 1LQ, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A personal wash soap bar holder comprising at least one reversibly closeable opening and a means for suspending the holder around the neck and/or about the shoulders of the user.
2. A holder according to Claim 1, in which the means for suspending the holder comprises a strap.
3. A holder according to Claim 1 or 2, which comprises a drawstring.
4. A holder according to Claim 3, in which the drawstring further comprises a moveable stopper to restrict opening of the bag.
5. A holder according to Claim 3 or 4, in which the drawstring additionally forms the means for suspending the holder.
6. A holder according to any one of Claims 1 to 5 in which the means for suspending the holder has a total length of from O. lm to 3. Om.
7. A holder according to any one of Claims 1 to 6 in which the wall of the holder comprises a multiply polymeric mesh.
8. A cleansing system comprising a soap bar inside a holder according to any one of Claims 1 to 7.
9. A cleansing system according to Claim 8, in which the soap bar is substantially enveloped inside the holder.
10. Use of the system according to Claim 8 or 9 in order to improve lather formation.
11. Use of the system according to Claim 8 or 9 in order to reduce the drying time of the soap and holder and/or to prevent mush formation.
12. A method of improving skin cleansing comprising the steps of moistening the skin or system of Claim 8 or 9 with water, rubbing the system on to exposed skin and then rinsing the skin with water.
13. A method of providing a polymeric mesh holder for a soap bar, comprising the steps of providing a polymeric tubular mesh material, folding the tubular mesh material back over itself at least once to form two or more thicknesses of tubular mesh material, sealing one end of the folded tubular mesh material and providing an openable closure for the open end of the tubular mesh material.
14. A soap bar holder produced according to the method of Claim 13.
Description:
PERSONAL WASH SOAP HOLDER The present invention relates to a personal wash soap bar holder, the use of the soap holder in a cleansing system in order to improve lather formation and/or reduce the drying time of the cleansing system, and a method for improving skin cleansing using the cleansing system of the invention.

The soap bar, by which it is meant soap i. e. , fatty acid based bars and/or non-soap synthetic detergent based bars as well as mixtures of fatty acid and non-soap synthetic detergent based bars, has provided a very popular means for assisting with cleansing of the body.

However, the physical properties of the soap bar, particularly when moistened with water, can result in practical problems both during and after use of the soap bar.

Thus, during use, a moistened soap bar is particularly slippery, and may be difficult to retain within the hands during any vigorous rubbing or scrubbing motion. As a result, control over the bar may be lost during showering or bathing. This may cause some inconvenience and irritation to the user.

Moreover, if the cleansing is carried out in the outdoors i. e. , in an inland source of water such as a stream, river or lake, or in coastal waters, the open sea or in a public washing area, as is common in many areas of the world, the loss of control of the soap bar may result in the loss of the soap bar altogether.

A flannel or other type of washing implement such as a cloth or sponge may be used in combination with a soap bar.

In typical use, the soap and/or flannel is moistened with water, the soap bar contacted with the flannel and/or body, soap is transferred to the flannel and the flannel contacted with the body in order to create a lather and effect cleansing.

However, this method of cleansing can be cumbersome. In particular, the soap may still be dropped and lost during transfer of soap to the flannel, or when the flannel is being used.

It is known to attach soap directly to a"rope". However, the"rope"in question is usually very short, and is aimed at providing a means for attaching the soap to bath taps, for example, when the soap is not being used.

In addition, such a"soap on a rope"can only be used once.

It does not allow for the soap to be replaced once it has been used up, or for the soap to be varied for different users.

It is known to use the combination of liquid soap with a mesh sponge, as is described for example in WO 95/00116.

However, this combination faces the same disadvantages as the combination of a flannel and soap bar i. e. , there is no safe yet accessible place to put the liquid cleanser while lathering or rinsing of the lather on the body. Hence, the two components may still be lost during cleansing in the

outdoors. In addition, not all consumers have access to liquid soap products.

After use, a moistened bar remains particularly slippery until it has dried, and can create a mush which leads to wastage.

The time taken for the bar to dry will be dependent on the prevailing atmospheric conditions. Simply leaving the soap bar to dry on a surface such as e. g. the top of a bath, sink or shower can result in the surface becoming slippery with moisture and mush from the soap. This extends the drying time of the soap.

Moreover, once the soap has dried it becomes stuck to the surface. When the soap bar is pulled from the surface, a residual amount of the soap will be retained on the surface.

This results in the wastage of soap and raw materials, in addition to the effort of cleaning the soap residue from the surface.

The use of soap holders or dispensers to hold a bar of soap is known. US Patent No. 4,480, 939, for example, discloses a soap holder and dispenser suitable for use in a shower that includes a pack formed from synthetic material sized to receive a bar of soap. US Patent No. 3,167, 805 also teaches a net enclosed soap article.

US Patent No. 5,462, 378 teaches a wash cloth adapted to receive a bar of soap, and US Patent No. 4,190, 550 discloses pads of non-woven fibres containing a solid core of soap.

A polymeric mesh scrubber is disclosed in US Patent No.

4,462, 135 but this is not able to accommodate a soap bar.

An example of a hand-held ball-like polymeric mesh sponge is disclosed in US Patent No. 5,144, 744. This patent describes a diamond-mesh polyethylene sponge obtained from a number of netting tubes stretched over supports, joined and bound together at the centre and then released from the supports.

Again this is not able to accommodate a soap bar.

The disadvantage of using a soap bar inside the pouch of a sponge, or two plies of washcloth, is that this leaves the sponge or cloth permanently saturated with soap and slimy after initial use.

US Patents Nos. 6,042, 288 and 6,326, 339 describe a personal cleansing system comprising a specified synthetic surfactant bar inside a lightweight polymeric meshed personal cleansing implement, in the form of a closeable bag formed from mesh sponge.

None of the above referenced patents are concerned with preventing loss of the soap bar during cleansing or the specific problems associated with cleansing in the outdoors or in public washing areas. Thus, none of the patents address the problem of avoiding soap bar loss during cleansing outdoors.

It is an object of this invention to provide a personal wash soap holder that provide ready access to a personal

cleansing system with improved lathering and cleansing properties yet prevents the loss of soap bars during cleansing, particularly in the outdoors or in public washing areas.

In a further object of the present invention to provide a personal wash soap holder that allows the user to leave both hands and arms free of soap or lather forming materials during lathering of the body or rinsing of lather from the body.

It is a further object to provide a cleansing system which dries relatively quickly, which does not leave perceived significant soap residues on the surface, and which provides improved lathering and/or cleansing.

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a personal wash soap bar holder preferably made of polymeric mesh material, comprising at least one reversibly closeable opening and a means for suspending the holder around the neck and/or about the shoulders of the user.

In another aspect, the present invention provides a cleansing system comprising a soap bar inside the personal wash soap bar holder of the present invention.

In a further aspect, the present invention provides the use of the cleansing system in order to improve lather formation, to reduce the drying time of the soap and holder and/or to prevent much formation.

In a still further aspect, the present invention provides a method of improving skin cleansing comprising the steps of moistening the skin or cleansing system with water, rubbing the system on the exposed skin and then rinsing the skin with water.

According to yet a further aspect, there is provided a method of providing a polymeric mesh holder for a soap bar, comprising the steps of providing a polymeric tubular mesh material, folding the tubular mesh material back over itself at least once to form two or more thicknesses of tubular mesh material, sealing one end of the folded tubular mesh material and providing an operable closure for the open end of the tubular mesh material.

In this aspect, the sealing step and the step of providing a closure may be reversed. In a preferred aspect, after the folded tubular mesh material has been sealed, the resultant holder may be turned inside out, so that the seal of the holder may then be located inside the holder and out of view.

Conveniently the closure for the holder can be a drawstring, which is threaded either between the gaps in the mesh of the polymeric tubular mesh material, or between folds of the polymeric tubular mesh material at the end opposite the sealed end. If such a drawstring closure is employed, this drawstring closure is preferably integral with the means for suspending the holder around the neck and/or about the shoulders of the user.

The personal wash soap bar holder can be any shape or size which is capable of accommodating at least one soap bar inside the holder.

Preferably, the soap bar may be enveloped or surrounded by the holder, and the holder may be closed around the soap bar.

It is particularly desired if the dimensions of the holder, i. e. , length, width and height are the same order of magnitude as those of the at least one soap bar.

Preferably, the holder may be held in the hand.

In a particularly preferred embodiment, the holder may be substantially tubular in shape and capable of enveloping, for example, a rectangular, oval or spherical soap bar.

The holder preferably comprises at least one expandable material. Thus, the holder may be elasticated and expand in size in order to accommodate the at least one soap bar inside.

In a particularly preferred embodiment, the holder may act as a closeable sheath for the. soap.

The means for suspending the holder about the neck and/or shoulders of the user preferably leaves the arms and hands of the user free to lather or rinse the surface of the body without significant impediment.

The means for suspending the holder may comprise, for example, a strap or belt, or a combination thereof.

Preferably the means for suspending the holder comprises a strap.

The strap may be attached to the personal wash soap bar holder so as to form a loop through which the user can pass its head and/or arm.

The strap may be attached to the holder using any suitable adhesive known to those skilled in the art. Alternatively, the strap can be machine-stitched or hand-stitched to the holder using any suitable twine or thread.

In a preferred embodiment, the strap can be threaded through the holder, preferably through the at least one opening of the holder. More preferably, the strap may be threaded inside the neck of the at least one opening of the holder.

The strap preferably doubles up as a drawstring for the holder.

By the word"strap", it is intended to mean any material which is flexible, capable of being attached to the holder and able to suspend the combined weight of the soap bar and holder without significantly deforming or breaking and which is robust i. e. , capable of withstanding the forces associated with cleansing without breaking. Ideally, such properties are not compromised when the material is moistened with water.

The strap may comprise, for example, one or more strips of leather, cord, rope or twine and mixtures thereof, The cord, rope or twine may comprise natural or synthetic water-insoluble fibres or mixtures of both. The natural fibres may be selected from, for example, cotton or hemp and the man-made fibres may be selected from a polymer such as, for example, a polyamide or a polyethylene or mixtures of both.

The thickness of the cord, rope or twine may suitably range from O. Olmm to 50mm, more preferably from O. lmm to 10mm.

The length of the strap is preferably chosen such that the holder is prevented from touching the ground when suspended around the neck and/or about the shoulders of the user and when the user adopts either a standing or crouching position.

The strap may be adjustable such that the size of the loop may be varied or, alternatively, the loop size may be fixed.

The total length of the strap i. e. , the length of the strap before it is formed into a loop may suitably range from O. lm to 3. Om, more preferably the total length ranges from 0.5m to 1.5m.

In a particularly preferred embodiment, the means for suspending the holder comprises a loop of nylon cord threaded through the holder.

The neck of the holder can be elasticated in order to provide a reversibly closeable opening.

Alternatively, the holder may comprise a drawstring around or inside the at least one opening that enables the at least one opening to be reversibly opened and closed such that the movement of the soap bar inside the holder is restricted during lathering.

Preferably the drawstring is threaded inside and around the circumference of the lip of the at least one opening. The threaded drawstring may be constrained within the lip or may be free to move within the wall of the holder.

The drawstring may comprise water-insoluble natural or synthetic fibres or mixtures of both.

The drawstring may, in addition, comprise a moveable stopper appended to the length of drawstring that protrudes from and is external to the holder.

The stopper preferably provides resistance, by virtue of friction, to increasing the diameter of the opening of the holder but may be moved with sufficient force. The stopper may act as an openable closure to prevent the soap bar falling out of the holder in use.

The stopper may comprise a ring around the length of drawstring emerging from around or inside the at least one resealable opening of the holder.

The stopper may be constructed from, for example, moulded plastic.

The internal diameter of the stopper ring can be chosen such that there is a significant frictional force between the material of the drawstring and the material of the ring, holding the stopper ring in position.

The internal diameter of the stopper ring may suitably range from O. lmm to 20. 00mm, preferably from 1. OOmm to 7. Omm. Its internal configuration will be such as to slidably accommodate two thicknesses of the strap.

Conveniently the drawstring which seals the holder may, additionally, form the means for suspending the holder.

In this preferred embodiment, the length of drawstring that protrudes from and is external to the holder may be such that it forms a loop suitable for suspending the soap holder around the neck and/or about the shoulder of the user, without the holder touching the ground. The height of the strap may be adjusted so as to provide the holder at a convenient height when it is e. g. around the user's neck.

Such a convenient height may be e. g. waist height or stomach height.

The soap bar for placing inside the holder may comprise any soap bar suitable for use on the human skin.

Examples of suitable soap materials include Cis-is fatty acid soaps such as those derived from vegetable oil (e. g.,

coconut oil) acids, tallow, oleic, stearic and palmitic acids, saponified with base such as potassium or sodium hydroxide.

Synthetic detergent-based bars may also be used, as are described in US 6,326, 339, the specific content of which is incorporated herein by reference.

In a preferred embodiment, the wall of the personal wash soap holder comprises a multi-ply polymeric mesh.

Preferably, the multi-ply mesh is light-weight.

One advantage of using a polymeric mesh is that they do not retain as much soap or water as conventional sponges and cloth flannels. Hence, the holder remains clean and fresh and substantially free from bacterial growth that may otherwise accumulate.

Preferably, the polymeric mesh comprises a light-weight, flexible material. The polymeric mesh may be suitably prepared from readily available raw materials or may be a specially designed mesh.

The polymeric mesh of the holder may preferably be prepared from extruded netting mesh that has been constructed from at least one strong and flexible polymeric material.

Preferably, the extruded netting mesh comprises a tubular cross-section with two open ends.

The polymeric mesh may, for example, take the form of a diamond-mesh.

Extruded tubular netting mesh, particularly those prepared from polyethylene, have been used for the covering of meat and poultry and are readily available in industry.

Suitable netting mesh for the purposes of the present invention is disclosed in US 4,462, 135 and US 5,144, 744, the relevant content of which is specifically incorporated herein by reference.

Thus, preferably, the tubular netting has a maximum transverse expanded diameter of about 8 to 16 inches (20.3cm to 40.6cm) with the contracted minimum diameter on the order of about 14 inch (12.7mm).

Suitable netting may be prepared from fine filaments of polymeric material having a thickness preferably varying from about 10 to 18 mils. The netting may be prepared from as many as 50 to 200 such filaments which appear to cross over each other at a 45° angle and are bonded at junction points at intervals varying from about 3/16 to inch (4.8mm to 12.7mm), depending upon the type of netting desired.

The bonding of the filaments at the indicated intervals is preferably of such a nature as to securely attach the filaments together and provide a strong netting. The bonding is preferably accomplished by the extruding

technique, heat sealing the filaments together or by the use of appropriate adhesives.

The preferred polymeric materials for the netting mesh include the addition of thermoplastic polymers of olefin monomers such as, for example, ethylene, propylene and butylene. The term"polymeric materials"includes homopolymers and copolymers of the above olefin monomers with other ethylenically unsaturated monomers. Preferably, the copolymer contains at least 25% of the olefinic monomer.

A preferred member of the above group of polymeric meshes includes DuPont polyethylene netting mesh identified as VEXAR.

Other polymeric materials that can be used include the nylon type products prepared from the reaction of polycarboxylic acids with polyamines.

The personal wash soap bar holder preferably comprises a plurality of plys of an extruded tubular netting mesh prepared from a strong flexible polymer.

The multi-ply mesh may be prepared by drawing several tubular meshes over another. Alternatively, the multi-ply mesh may be prepared from a single piece of mesh by drawing the netting mesh back over itself as many times as necessary in order to obtain the desired number of layers.

Preferably, the strong flexible polymer is selected from addition polymers of olefin monomers and polyamides of polycarboxylic acids and polyamines.

In a particularly preferred embodiment, the plys of tubular netting mesh are concentrically folded in upon themselves to form a pocket for the at least one soap bar.

The number of repeat times the plys of tubular netting mesh may be folded in upon themselves may range from 1 to 10, more preferably from 2 to 6.

Folding the plys of tubular netting mesh in upon themselves leads to the formation of a tubular shaped cavity or pocket in which the soap bar may be enveloped.

In order to prevent the tubular netting mesh from unfolding and the soap bar from escaping, one end of the tubular mesh may be clipped permanently sealed closed by means of, for example, a nylon band or other suitable closure means.

The distance of the closure means from the end of the tubular mesh may be adjusted such that the remaining mesh is able to envelop at least one conventional soap bar of the art.

The opposite end may be opened in order to allow the soap bar to be removed and replaced.

In a further preferred embodiment, the drawstring may be threaded between adjacent plys of the tubular mesh and

through the mesh so as to emerge from the neck of the at least one opening.

The combination of the holder as described in any of the above embodiments and any soap bar as described above provides a cleansing system.

One advantage of the cleansing system of the present invention is that it leads to improved lather formation and exfoliation of the skin.

Furthermore, the cleansing system according to the present invention reduces the drying time of the soap and holder and/or reduces mush formation.

The cleansing system of the present invention also prevents the soap bar from becoming lost during lathering or rinsing of the body, as well as allowing retention of the soap bar whilst leaving the hands free to perform other tasks, such as e. g. apply a shampoo or conditioner.

The present invention further provides a method of improving skin cleansing comprising the steps of moistening the skin or system with water, rubbing the system on the exposed skin and then rinsing with water.

Cleansing is improved through the abrasive qualities of the personal wash soap holder as described above.

The invention is illustrated by the following embodiment, which is not intended to be limiting in any way, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: - Figure 1 shows a representation of a preferred embodiment of the personal wash soap holder; this figure shows the holder in an open position; - Figure 2 shows an"inside out"representation of the preferred embodiment of the personal wash soap holder of Figure 1 and shows a suitable closure means; - Figure 3 shows a representation of the preferred embodiment of the personal wash soap holder of Figures 1 and 2 with a soap bar inside; and - Figure 4 shows an exploded view of the construction of the holder for a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Figure 1 shows a preferred personal wash soap bar holder according to one embodiment of the invention. The soap bar holder comprises a hand sized personal wash holder 1, which defines an internal cavity that is capable of accommodating a soap bar, reversibly closeable opening 2 and drawstring 3.

Drawstring 3 comprises a nylon cord and is threaded around and inside the circumference of the lip of the reversibly closeable opening 6. When drawstring 3 is pulled tight, opening 2 is closed. The drawstring 3 is also threaded through stopper 4. Stopper 4 acts as a brake to restrict re-

opening of the reversibly closeable opening 2 when this has been closed by pulling drawstring 3.

Stopper 4 restricts opening of drawstring 3 due to friction between the cord comprising the drawstring and the material comprising the stopper 4. With a modest force, stopper 4 can be dragged using the hand along the drawstring, in a direction away from holder 1 in order to facilitate re- opening of 2.

The drawstring 3 extends beyond the stopper 4 in order to form the loop means for suspending the holder around the neck and/or about the shoulders 5. The head and/or shoulders of the user are able to pass through the loop means 5 in order to suspend the personal wash soap holder about the user's body.

Figure 2 shows a representation of the personal soap wash holder of Figure 1 when this has been turned"inside out".

Sealing Band 7 is securely attached around the end of the personal wash soap holder 1 opposite the opening 2 in order to seal the end permanently closed and prevent a soap bar from slipping through the cavity defined by holder 1.

Figure 3 shows a representation of the of the personal soap bar holder 1 containing one soap bar 8 inside the cavity.

The holder is shown in the"open"position. The opening 2 can be closed around the soap bar 8 by pulling on the drawstring 3.

Figure 4 shows a preferred construction for wall 11 of personal wash soap bar holder 1. The expanded representation of Figure 4 shows that wall 11 comprises 5 layers of material 9. Each layer of material 9 comprises a diamond shaped expandable light-weight polymeric mesh 10.




 
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