The first batch lasted over three months and the cost per load was mere pennies. Even the first time we made it, we found it to be surprisingly less complicated and time consuming than we expected. But I think we've improved on the process with this second batch.
The most time consuming aspect is grating the 1/3 bar of Zote. Yeoldfurt being the meticulous and conscientious fellow that he is, used the side with the smallest holes on my grater to achieve the finest shavings possible so that it would melt quicker and more consistently. What a guy! Last time, we used water straight from the tap to pre-measure the 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water needed at the end of the recipe into our mixing jug. Coming straight from the tap, the water in the jug was downright cold in comparison to the hot melted soap water we poured into it. As a result, it gelled almost instantly and required a lot of shaking to homogenize the two liquids. So this time we heated the 1 gallon plus 6 cups in a separate pot on the stove. We got it hot, but not boiling and poured it into the mixing jug just before we started cooking the soap.
Another thing we changed was to eliminate the use of the 2-gallon bucket in the process. Last time, we melted the grated Zote, added the powders and then poured that mixture into a 2-gallon bucket where we added the 4 cups of hot water we had heated in the microwave. When it was well mixed, we used the 2-gallon bucket to pour the soap mixture into the jug. Realizing that the pot we were boiling the soap mixture in was plenty big enough to hold the extra 4 cups of water from the microwave, we just eliminated the 2-gallon bucket from the process.
Grating the soap probably took 15 minutes all by itself, but the rest of the process, including transferring the finished product into our laundry jugs and wiping down the counters, only took an additional 15 minutes. So start to finish, it only took us 30 minutes to make 3 months worth of laundry soap. It would take me longer than 30 minutes to drive to town and buy the same quantity and I would spend at least ten times as much on the purchase plus my gasoline. We saved time and money, it was a win-win.
If you want to try this yourself and missed the recipe I posted in February, here's the link. Liquid Laundry Soap