Clothing Cuff Clip with Contamination Indicator
1. A clothing clip for limiting contact between an item of clothing and a floor surface that is being traversed by an individual wearing the item of clothing, the clothing clip comprising:
- (a) a generally flat back clip member;
(b) a generally flat front clip member connected to the back clip member and positioned in spaced parallel relationship with the back clip member; and
(c) a press through ridge configured on one of the back or front clip members, the press though ridge aligned with a press through aperture structured through the parallel opposing clip member.
A clothing cuff clip attachable to an article of clothing, especially a pants leg cuff, to gather and lift the clothing up from an adjacent surface and provide a modest barrier between the surface and the clothing item being worn. The clothing cuff clip is inexpensive to manufacture in large quantities and may be disposable after extended use. The clip is easy to attach to the lower back edge of the pants leg cuff on the item of clothing being worn and yet remains securely attached even after extended use. Optionally, a contamination indicator that changes in appearance when subjected to significant moisture, a change in pH, or the presence of a selected contaminant material, is positioned on the lower floor contact area of the clip to provide the wearer with an indication of when the clip, and therefore the item of clothing, has come into contact with contaminated materials.
- 1. A clothing clip for limiting contact between an item of clothing and a floor surface that is being traversed by an individual wearing the item of clothing, the clothing clip comprising:
(a) a generally flat back clip member; (b) a generally flat front clip member connected to the back clip member and positioned in spaced parallel relationship with the back clip member; and (c) a press through ridge configured on one of the back or front clip members, the press though ridge aligned with a press through aperture structured through the parallel opposing clip member.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
- 12. A clothing clip for limiting contact between an item of clothing and a floor surface that is being traversed by an individual wearing the item of clothing, the clothing clip comprising:
(a) a generally flat back clip member; (b) a generally flat front clip member connected to the back clip member and positioned in spaced parallel relationship with the back clip member, the spaced parallel back and front clip members defining external surfaces and internal surfaces; and (c) friction increasing structures positioned on at least a portion of the internal surfaces defined by the spaced parallel back and front clip members.
- View Dependent Claims (13, 14)
The present invention relates generally to attachments and accessories for items of clothing. The present invention relates more specifically to devices that facilitate the maintenance of cuffed edges of clothing and thereby reduce the risk of such cuffed edges collecting and spreading contaminants.
Most items of clothing require washing and/or cleaning after a period of use as they become soiled over time through contact with the wearer and, in many cases, with the wearer'"'"'s environment. In most situations, the accumulation of contaminants from the environment on items of clothing poses no specific health risk as the contaminant materials are typically inert or contain such low levels of infectious organisms as to be unlikely to spread germs or other contagions. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities, on the other hand, are well known as environments where infected and/or contaminated surfaces abound. Articles of clothing worn in such healthcare environments will become contaminated, especially if elements of the items of clothing, such as cuffs on pants and shirts, are in regular contact with unclean surfaces.
The article of clothing most likely to come into regular contact with contaminated surfaces in a healthcare facility environment are the pants of healthcare providers, especially the uniform type pants typically worn by healthcare providers know as “scrubs” or “scrub pants”. These uniform objects of clothing are often provided to the workers within a facility in small, medium, and large sizes, each of which are designed to fit loosely on the wearer. This loose fit, while comfortable to the wearer, generally guarantees that the pants leg cuffs will drag on the floor and/or be regularly caught under the wearer'"'"'s shoes as they move about the facility. While efforts to disinfect floor surfaces in healthcare facilities are continuously being made, workers are constantly moving from areas that may have recently become contaminated (such as operating room floors) into areas that may have been recently cleaned, thereby quickly contaminating the previously clean surfaces and facilitating the rapid spread of germs and other pathogens within the facility.
Providing better fitting clothing might be a solution to the problem, but such would be expensive given the wide range in clothing sizes that would be required. Add to this the fact that most healthcare providers prefer the loose-fitting scrubs and it becomes apparent that another solution is required. It would be difficult to fundamentally modify the nature of the clothing currently being worn in most healthcare facilities or to modify the manner in which healthcare providers readily move from place to place within a facility. Currently, the manner in which pants leg cuffs, such as those of medical scrubs, drag across floor surfaces in healthcare facilities, significantly contributes to the spread of unwelcome contaminants within the facilities.
It would, therefore, be desirable to have a mechanism for reducing the amount of contact between contaminated floor surfaces and the articles of clothing worn by those who regularly traverse those surfaces. It would be desirable if such a mechanism could gather the edges of an item of clothing, such as the cuffs of scrub pants, to lift them up off the floor and at the same time provide a barrier between the contaminated floor surface and the article of clothing being worn. Such a mechanism would preferably be versatile enough to be used with a range of clothing items in a range of sizes. It would be desirable if such a mechanism was inexpensive to the point of being disposable and was easy to use (i.e. easy to put on the article of clothing and generally secure in its attachment). It would be a further benefit if the mechanism provided an indication of the degree to which the clothing item it is associated with has been in contact with contaminated surfaces.
The present invention therefore provides a clothing cuff clip attachable to the cuff of an article of clothing, especially a pants leg cuff, to gather and lift the cuff up away from the floor surface and to provide a modest sized barrier between the floor surface and the clothing item being worn. The clothing cuff clip is inexpensive to manufacture in large quantities and may be disposable after extended use. The clip is easy to attach to the lower back edge of the pants leg cuff on the item of clothing being worn and yet remains securely attached even after extended use. Optionally, a contamination indicator that changes in appearance when subjected to significant moisture and/or a significant change in pH or chemical composition may be positioned on the lower floor contact area of the clip to provide the wearer with an indication of the degree to which the clip, and therefore the item of clothing, has come into contact with contaminated materials.
Reference made first to
As mentioned, clip members 12 & 14 are preferably part of a single band of material that is shaped to form “U” shaped clip base 16 which establishes a 180 degree bend in the material. An upper end of clip member 12 forms clip top tab 18 which extends beyond an upper edge of clip member 14. Clip member 14 terminates in clip lift tab 20 which in the preferred embodiment is simply a 90 degree bend in the terminal edge of the clip member. The described structure of the top part of cuff clip 10 provides the means for manipulating the clip into place on the clothing cuff and inserting the edge of the cuff into the clip. Prior to use, clip opening 26 is preferably closed (by press-through ridges 24a & 24b as described in more detail below) as a result of the residual spring force left in the clip structure during manufacture and opens slightly under modest force when the user directs the edge of the clothing cuff into the opening.
While cuff clip 10 could function with only the above described structural features, the preferred embodiment of the present invention incorporates further elements that facilitate the secure attachment of the mechanism to the fabric cuff of the pants leg of the user. Clip member 14 defines press-through aperture 22 forming a slot generally in the center of the clip member. This slot formed by press-through aperture 22 aligns with and is sized to receive press-through ridges 24a & 24b with one or more fabric layers of the clothing cuff pressed between them. Given the relatively thin fabric materials of the typical scrubs pants leg cuff, this combination of press-through aperture 22 and press-through ridges 24a & 24b provide a stronger, yet still removable, attachment to the clothing edge.
Use of the clothing cuff clip of the present invention involves placing one clip on each of the two pants leg cuffs of the clothing item being worn by the user. In most cases, cuff clip 10 is secured to a gathered edge of the clothing rather than the single layer of fabric that forms the lower edge of the cuff. The user might choose to roll the cuff up before securing the clip or simply bunch the fabric into the clip so that the clip serves to lift the edge of the cuff up from contact with the floor. Because the front of the “too long” pants leg is typically held up by the front of the shoe of the wearer, a clip structured as that of the present invention is all that is required to lift the balance of the edge of the cuff up off of the floor. If some part of the back side of the cuff falls into contact with the floor surface it will be clip base 16 which forms a modest barrier between the contaminated floor and the clothing fabric bunched up within the clip. Once again, the residual spring force in the clip material should be sufficient to maintain the clip in position on the pants leg cuff even as the clip is worn for extended periods and time and comes into frequent contact (as being dragged across, for example) with floor surfaces.
An optional additional feature of the present invention is shown in broken line form in
In some embodiments of the present invention, contamination indicator 28 may itself be a replaceable clip that is removably secured to clip base 16. Although the entire cuff clip 10 is preferably disposable, some embodiments (such as with stainless steel cuff clips) may benefit from the replacement of just the contamination indicator after a period of use. A removable contamination indicator 28 for use with a stainless steel clip (for example) would comprise a plastic clip with a porous layer of material on its outer surface that could be clipped onto or removed from clip base 16 as needed. An indentation (not shown) in the external surface of the cuff clip in the area around clip base 16 would facilitate retention of the removable contamination indicator.
There are any number of absorbent polymer materials (such as those used in sponge mops and the like) that can serve as an appropriate substrate for the retention of a color changing substance that responds to the accumulated presence of water or of specific chemical compositions. In its simplest form, contamination indicator 28 may indicate the accumulated presence of moisture, which alone is a reasonable indication that potentially contaminated compounds have been picked up from the floor surfaces traversed by the user. Alternately, the substrate material of contamination indicator 28 may be impregnated with a quantity of one or more chemicals that provide visual indications (color changes) of a change in pH or of the presence of a specific contaminant compound. Such a contamination indicator provides the user with information regarding an appropriate duration of use for the cuff clip (before it should be disposed of) and of the clothing item to which it is secured (before it should be washed).
Reference is next made to
In the views of
Reference is next made to
Other mechanisms for increasing the grip that the clip has on the fabric layers in the bunched or rolled up cuff are possible. The embodiment shown in
Reference is finally made to
Additionally disclosed in
Although the present invention has been described in terms of the foregoing preferred embodiments, this description has been provided by way of explanation only and is not intended to be construed as a limitation of the invention. Those skilled in the art will recognize modifications of the present invention that might accommodate specific articles of clothing or the identification of the presence of specific contaminants within specific environments. Those skilled in the art will further recognize alternate structures for removably securing the clip to the fabric material of the article of clothing that may be specific to the fabric from which the clothing is made. Such modifications, as to structure, orientation, geometry, and even composition and construction techniques, where such modifications are coincidental to the type of clothing or the environment present, do not necessarily depart from the spirit and scope of the invention.