The Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast in North America are widely credited with creation of the totem pole. The totem pole is a large sculpture carved from trees and the meanings of such poles range from notable events, familiar legends, or clan lineages. The wide belief that the vertical order of the images corresponded to importance has led to the common phrase “low man on the totem pole.” With the most important figure being situated on top of the pole, one would prefer to not find themselves associated with the previous colloquialism. Regardless, the phrase and its connotation are not entirely accurate as examples of poles exist with important figures located on top, bottom, and even in the middle. For the purpose of this Spore News, however, we’ll draw from this notion of vertical hierarchy orientation as we discuss the progression from cleaning through sterilization. Let us start with the lowest “man” on our sterilization totem pole.