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HQ 966803

May 26, 2004

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 966803 KBR


TARIFF NO.: 9603.90.8050

Pete Mento, Principal
Expeditors Tradewin, LLC
1015 Third Avenue, 12th Floor
Seattle, WA 98104

RE: Reconsideration of NY J86141; Toilet Cleaning Brush System

Dear Mr. Mento:

This is in reference to your letter dated September 24, 2003, on behalf of Reckitt Benckiser Inc., in which you requested reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) J86141, dated June 20, 2003, issued by the Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, concerning the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of a Lysol® Ready Brush™ toilet cleaning system.


The merchandise at issue in NY J86141 is a Lysol® Ready Brush™ toilet cleaning system. The article consists of a brush head which locks onto a hollow body which in turn locks into a handle with an incorporated trigger mechanism. A canister of aerosol toilet cleaning liquid is intended to be inserted into the hollow body portion of the brush system. When the trigger is depressed, the canister releases its cleaning solution through a hole in the brush head. There are three ways the article may be imported: The aerosol canister alone; the brush components alone; and the brush components with the aerosol canister. You submitted information concerning the ingredients of the aerosol cleaner for classification of the canister of aerosol toilet cleaning liquid. Classification of the aerosol cleaner canister is not subject to this reconsideration, but is being considered separately.

You describe the use of the brush system as:

[The Ready Brush™] System is activated by depressing a trigger mechanism. This activates the aerosol, which contains a compressed gas propellant to project the cleaning liquid into the brush head. The cleaner is then dispersed into the bristles for toilet bowl cleaning.

You state that “[t]he individual components of the system are neither designed nor capable of being used independently for toilet cleaning.” Further, specifically concerning the brush component, you state that “[t]his brush component is not designed or capable of acting as a toilet brush alone.” You also state that the aerosol canister is not capable of being used independently without being inserted into the brush handle.

NY J86141 classified the Lysol® Ready Brush™ in subheading 9603.90.8050, HTSUSA, as brushes, other. You believe the article should be classified in subheading 8424.20.9000, HTSUSA, which provides for mechanical appliances for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids, spray guns and similar appliances, other.


Whether the toilet cleaning system should be classified as a brush or as an appliance for dispersing or spraying liquid?


Merchandise is classifiable under the HTSUS in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to the remaining GRIs.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The ENs, although neither dispositive or legally binding, facilitate classification by providing a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

Mechanical appliances (whether or not hand operated) for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids or powders; fire extinguishers, whether or not charged; spray guns and similar appliances; steam or sand blasting machines and similar jet projecting machines; parts thereof:

8424.20 Spray guns and similar appliances:


Brooms, brushes (including brushes constituting parts of machines, appliances or vehicles), hand-operated mechanical floor sweepers, not motorized, mops and feather dusters; prepared knots and tufts for broom or brush making; paint pads and rollers; squeegees (other than roller squeegees):

9603.90 Other:

9603.90.80 Other

9603.90.8050 Other

EN 84.24 provides in pertinent part:

This heading covers machines and appliances for projecting, dispersing or spraying steam, liquids or solid materials (e.g., sand, powders, granules, grit or metallic abrasives) in the form of a jet, a dispersion (whether or not in drips) or a spray.

(B) Spray Guns and Similar Appliances

Spray guns and similar hand controlled appliances are usually designed for attaching to compressed air or steam lines, and are also connected, either directly or through a conduit, with a reservoir of the material to be projected. They are fitted with triggers or other valves for controlling the flow through the nozzle, which is usually adjustable to give a jet a more or less divergent spray. They are used for spraying paint or distemper, varnishes, oils, plastics, cement, metallic powders, textile dust, etc. They may also be used for projecting a powerful jet of compressed air or steam for cleaning stonework in buildings, statuary, etc.

Hand controlled spray guns with self-contained electric motor, incorporating a pump and a container for the material to be sprayed (paint, varnish, etc.), are also covered by the heading.

EN 96.03 provides in pertinent part:


This group comprises a variety of articles, differing considerably both in materials and shape, used for toilet purposes, for household cleaning, for applying paints, adhesive or liquid products, and for certain industrial operations (cleaning, polishing, etc.).

This group includes:

(6) Brushes for household use (e.g., scrubbing brushes, dish-washing brushes, sink-cleaning brushes, lavatory brushes, radiator brushes, crumb brushes).

GRI 3(a) states, in pertinent part, that when by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings, the heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description.

First, we note that the ENs for 96.03 specifically provide for toilet cleaning brushes – which is the main function of the instant article. That the brush is the key element to the article is evident in the name of the article itself, the “Ready Brush”. Toilet bowl brushes have consistently been classified in subheading 9603.90.8050, HTSUSA. See NY K84616 (April 6, 2004); NY I89810 (January 15, 2003); NY H87491 (February 19, 2002); and NY J88156 (August 27, 2003)(involving a disposable cleaning impregnated brush head).

Further, as evidence that the brush provides the essential character of the article, we note that the statements in your submission that the article can not be used without the cleaning canister are not true. We see no reason that the brush assembly could not be used in the same manner as any other standard toilet brush. The instant article may be used with another separately applied cleaning substance or with no cleaning substance at all.

You state that heading 8424, HTSUSA, which provides for mechanical appliances for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids, more accurately describes the instant products than does heading 9603, HTSUSA, which covers brooms and brushes. You state that because the product at issue similarly incorporates a mechanism that projects cleaner from a canister onto a brush, it should be classified under heading 8424, HTSUSA, which provides for “Mechanical appliances (whether or not hand operated) for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids or powders.” In support of your position, you note that the language within EN 84.24, which allows for “hand controlled” appliances fitted with triggers or other valves for controlling flow through the nozzle” is broad enough to incorporate the product at issue. Furthermore, you cite to Customs rulings involving an air blow gun and an airbrush spray gun which were classified under subheading 8424.20.90, HTSUSA.

In NY H86230, dated December 19, 2001, Customs recognized a battery-powered, motorized sprayer with a pistol grip and trigger, designed to spray fabric deodorizer, as being classified under subheading 8424.20.90, HTSUSA. Several other Customs rulings, including devices used for spraying paint, and not electrically operated, have also been classified by Customs under subheading 8424.20.90, HTSUSA. See also NY F80605, dated December 16, 1999 (“Air Brush Kit” gun used for application of paints, pest sprays and other liquids); NY 832130 dated October 14, 1988 (involving an air blow gun used for cleaning dust and other impurities, and a general purpose spray gun used for high volume application of enamels, varnish and similar materials); NY E82222, dated May 20, 1999 (pneumatic spray gun kit used to spray paints, lacquers and other liquids); NY A88381, dated October 8, 1996 (spray guns for painting, particularly within the automotive industry); and NY 865507, dated August 15, 1991 (air spray gun for stains, lacquers and enamels).

However, in the cited rulings we note that in each instance the fluid contained in those items was dispensed directly onto the object for which it was intended, i.e. a wall, automobile or hands. Further, the fluid itself was the item performing the intended function. As you describe the instant product, however, it incorporates a mechanical device that dispenses cleaner onto the brush head and bristles, but not onto the object for which the cleaner is ultimately intended, i.e. the toilet itself. Further, it is the brush head which is intended to perform the function of scrubbing the toilet. The cleaner is intended to assist the function performed by the brush. As such, the canister is merely the conduit by which the cleaner is stored and dispensed to the brush, but it is the brush that actually applies the cleaner to a surface, thereby making the brush the defining component of the application process and the canister of cleaner secondary to this function. In contrast, you cite rulings where the products are designed to spray or otherwise disperse liquids directly onto an object.

HQ 965440 (August 7, 2002) concerned a “Swiffer Wet Jet” mop-like manual floor-cleaning tool with an internal hand-operated sprayer for cleaning hard surface floors. The Swiffer Wet Jet dispensed a cleaning solution but had a manual cleaning pad that spread, scrubbed and applied the cleaning solution. Customs found that this type of article was not classified in heading 8424, HTSUSA, and was not similar to the articles discussed in the ENs to 84.24. Concerning another similar article, Customs classified an upholstery shampoo applicator comprised of a brush head and shampoo reservoir, in subheading 9603.90.8050, HTSUSA. That article was used by screwing the brush head onto the shampoo reservoir and squeezing the reservoir to apply the shampoo and scrubbing with the brush – virtually the same actions as for the instant article, except performed on upholstery instead of a toilet. See also NY C86843 (April 22, 1998) (classifying a brush which dispensed flea powder for pet grooming and a barbecue brush which dispensed barbecue sauce in subheading 9603.90.8050, HTSUSA).

Therefore, we find that the essential character of the Lysol® Ready Brush™ is determined by the brush feature. In view of the foregoing, the Lysol® Ready Brush™ is classified under subheading 9603.90.8050, HTSUSA, which provides for brooms, brushes, other, other, other.


The Lysol® Ready Brush™ is classified under subheading 9603.90.8050, HTSUSA, as “Brooms, brushes (including brushes constituting parts of machines, appliances or vehicles), hand-operated mechanical floor sweepers, not motorized, mops and feather dusters; prepared knots and tufts for broom or brush making; paint pads and rollers; squeegees (other than roller squeegees): other: other, other.” The applicable 2004 column one general rate of duty is 2.8 percent ad valorem. Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at www.usitc.gov.


NY J86141 is affirmed.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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