It's been about 15 months since we've had our maltipoo and house training is tough stuff! I've written about cleaning up after Waffles using various solutions. Unfortunately Waffles isn't completely house trained and still goes to the bathroom on carpets. We recently purchased yet another pet cleaner.
We were wandering around Bed Bath and Beyond over a weekend and came across a Bissell Portable Spot Cleaner on clearance! It was half off (~$50). Amazon sells it for ~$90. It's pretty good so far but I probably wouldn't pay over $60 for it. You can get a Hoover carpet cleaner for around $100 so a spot cleaner at $90 isn't really worth it in my opinion.
Regardless, I like the Bissell spot cleaner. It's actually quite effective because I can really focus on cleaning up a particular urine stain. The long hose gives me better control with clean up. The machine is pretty much a glorified shop-vac. It has a compartment for water and pet cleaner solution and a separate compartment for holding dirty water. (Shop-vac is just a big container for whatever you suction up.) There is a power cable that wraps around two hooks and a ~2 foot hose with scrubs, which also packs very nicely so you don't have all these loose parts. The hose has a button that releases water/solution. The hose has a decently power suction. The good thing about the hose is that you can apply pressure onto the carpet and it will suction deeper. Unlike a carpet cleaner, you don't really have control over how much pressure and how deep to suction.
The nice part about the spot cleaner is that the dirty water compartment empties out pretty well. When pouring out, I rarely get water dripping down the side. There were a couple occasions where water leaked from the bottom - maybe I was holding it at a bad angle. The entire unit is well organized and easy to port around.
I didn't like that both liquids compartments are kept in place by a single hook. The compartments don't lock in place and it worries me that if I accidentally trip over it or knock it over, the compartments would fall off the hooks and leak. On one occasion, I didn't put the dirty water compartment in place (but was held in by the hook) and when I was cleaning up a pet stain, dirty water actually spewed out from the bottom. It totally grossed me out but was a good lesson learn to make sure it is in place.
I also don't like that the hose length is so short. I only mention this because the close proximity to the "engine" means that I can smell the "dirty" air coming out of the machine. Smelling old urine is not very pleasant. It's the same situation with a shop vac, but at least you can position the shop-vac so that the air out is pointed in a different direction.
The key to ensuring urine removal is to first dilute it with water. And that's not just spray it with water or try soacking it up with paper towels. I probably pour 4-6oz of water on it. The nice part of the Bissell spot cleaner is that I can use the hose to narrow in on that particular puddle and vacuum away. I can also ensure I'm spraying the water solution directly on that area. The problem I have with a carpet cleaner is that I can't really tell if solution was sprayed on the urine. A shop vac could do the trick as well except clean up is horrible because you have to dump the entire bucket. It's just messy and not my preference. (But a shop-vac is much cheaper.)
So after cleaning up the urine with the spot cleaner, I then spray a generous amount of enzyme solution over the area. After this, I put a paper towel over the area, held down by a paper weight of some sort and let it sit. I use the enzyme solution bottle as a paper weight and I leave that setup there until I need the enzyme solution again. The paper towel absorbs whatever the enzyme solution is doing and usually the paper towel turns yellow (probably getting the rest of the pee out of the carpet?). This process is very effective and completely removes the urine stain.
When I'm lazy and I only carpet clean or only use the enzyme solution, the results are not nearly as effectively as doing all of the steps I described above. It's a long, tedious process but it works.
The carpet cleaner is nice because it can easily cover a lot more surface area. It also comes with a hose attachment but the machine itself is big. It's heavy, bulky, and just harder to use than a convenient little spot cleaner. We have a Hoover carpet cleaner, a shop-vac, a spot cleaner, and enzyme solution. I've stopped using the shop-vac because of the urine smell. It's hard to clean and becomes disgusting over time. I didn't clean it for a couple weeks and the filter started molding. I changed out the filter but couldn't find the same quality filter to replace it. The carpet cleaner is reserved for doing an entire room or larger area. For now, I'm relying on the Bissell and enzyme solution for all my pet urine clean up needs. Good luck!