When playing as a survivor in Dead by Daylight, sooner or later you are sure to come across a small structure called a totem. These combinations of skulls and sticks will be hidden in corners of each map and help the killer with one of the 10 hex perks that they have equipped to make life a little harder for the survivors.
There are two different totems you can come across. First is the hex totem. The lit candles at the base of the totem quickly point these out. If the candles are not lit, then you have found a dull totem. If you come across a hex totem, the killer for sure has one of the hex perks equipped. A dull totem doesn’t mean the killer does not have a hex perk equipped, as five totems spawn at the beginning of the match, and another totem could potentially have a hex equipped to it.
When you get close to one of these, you will notice a prompt to cleanse the totem by interacting with it. There are no skill checks while you do this, but what exactly does it mean when you cleanse the totem?
Related: How to use Hexes in Dead by Daylight
When you cleanse a totem, you are essentially taking that totem off of the field. When completed, the totem falls apart with no chance for it to come back. This means that if you cleanse a hex totem, there is a good chance you just nullified one of the killer’s perks. Except for the Undying hex (which takes over a dull totem when destroyed), all hex perks need that totem to survive. A dull totem has no hex equipped to it but can still be cleansed to prevent the Undying hex from taking it over.
For the most part, it is really important that you cleanse a totem if you see it, especially if it is lit. The main reason for this is it slightly nerfs the killer in a way that they cannot recover from. Individual hexes will affect you when you cleanse them, so you are taking a chance when you encounter one, but overall, it is generally worth the risk of being exposed or having your cleansing speed reduced.