If painstaking, hour-draining housework weren’t a thing, how would you reclaim your me time? Perhaps you’d finally get to that intention setting exercise for the new year. Maybe you’d be able to commit to a proper self-care Sunday—you, a firming clay mask, a soak in a bubble bath and a delicious novel.

One way to whittle down your overwhelming chore list? Take a (half) load off. No, seriously: Instead of washing a sink full of dirty dishes by hand, run the dishwasher—with the number one recommended powerful dish detergent, Cascade—even if it’s only partially full. You might be thinking ‘What about that slippery slope where convenience quickly turns into wastefulness?’ It turns out that running a dishwasher when it’s half full still wastes less water, time, money and energy compared to hand-washing those same dishes.

Not quite convinced? Consider these cold, hard facts: An Energy Star-certified dishwasher uses only 15 litres of water per cycle. Hand-washing on the other, er, hand—which warrants a near-constant steady stream to get squeaky-clean results—goes through the same amount of water in just two minutes.

With a single plate requiring about 15 seconds of hand-wash time (we don’t even want to think about what a stubborn pot might clock in at!), this hands-on chore costs more than just precious water resources. Letting your dishwasher do the work can save you 30 minutes a day, which adds up to nearly 10 days of personal time over a year for you to spend as you please.

This realization completely changed the game for Toronto-based Kale and Krunches founder Marlie Cohen. “I used to feel guilty about running the dishwasher more than once a day,” she says. “Knowing that I’m actually saving water by using Cascade Platinum makes cooking for the family less stressful because it gets rid of that daunting post-cooking kitchen mess!”

Now there’s no need to use your Tetris skills to completely fill the dishwasher with four days’ worth of dirty dishes; even running a half load means you’re doing good by the planet. It’s “work smarter, not harder” put into practice, with spotless results to boot.