Socks, undies and the odd phone may go through the wash, but wads of cash in the laundered sheets have caused a "bit of a buzz" at a Rotorua commercial laundry.

Apparelmaster laundry assistants Gwenda Ross and Kathryn Wihapi were pretty excited at the sight of the unexpected windfall yesterday, and slightly alarmed someone had lost that amount of cash.

Owner Ricky Brackfield said it left the laundry in a "bit of a buzz".

"On the odd occasion we might find a phone in a sheet, lots of undies and socks - maybe one or two pieces out of every 10,000 - it's unusual finding a stash of notes like that."


He estimated there was about NZ$200 in notes and a similar amount of US dollars, but it was hard to count because the soggy notes had been through a complete wash cycle.

Mr Brackfield said because the New Zealand notes were made of plastic they could go through a complete wash and still be useable. He thought once the clump of paper-based US notes had dried out they also could be used.

Thanks to radio-frequency identification scanning technology the money was able to be traced back to the Sudima Hotel.

The laundry, which processes 20 tonne of washing a week, has all its laundry chipped and scans every item in and out.

Hotel guests, who were on their way to Wellington, had reported the money as missing the previous evening. The freshly cleaned cash has been returned to them. Sudima Hotel general manager Atalo de la Rocha said other things had been left behind at the hotel, but "this is the first time we've had money left in the sheets".