How to Source and Repair Vintage Appliances

vintage antique oven restored and cleaned

Vintage appliances are workhorses built to last, making them so much more than just a cool focal point in your kitchen. Finding them can be a challenge, but nothing that a little digging and maybe a touch of luck can't overcome. Add the satisfaction of rescuing one of these relics and bring some vintage charm to your previously sterile space.

Shop Wisely

Despite the durability of these appliances, some parts might not make it through the years, like door handles or interior shelves. For this reason, carefully inspect any appliance before purchase, and consider where/if you'll be able to get replacement parts once that time comes. If you’re in the store, ask to plug it in to see if it works. Check gas fittings, wiring and cords. If you’re ordering it online, check the return policy to make sure they’ll accept it and refund your money if it proves to be faulty. Ideally, have that appliance inspected by a professional to give you peace of mind that you’re making a sound purchase.

Get Antique Appliance Inspiration on Amazon

Shopping for antique appliances isn't as easy as driving to your local big box retailer. You'll want to find a specialty retailer, preferably one that also restores them. They've already done the hard work making them ready for the consumer, so why not? All you need to do is fork over the dough and get it home. If you can't find a retailer near you, try sites like Ebay which offer online shopping convenience. And don't forget to check local thrift stores. These places can yield good finds to those patient enough for consistent weekend searches. If nothing else, those weekends spent at the thrift shop can foster relationships with staff who can keep you in the loop when items of interest arrive.

A word of caution regarding these timely pieces. While we admire their aesthetic, and we know full well that any appliance could pose a safety hazard to small children, keep in mind that super cute retro piece was made at a time when childproofing wasn’t a factor in design. PSA done.

antique irons made from solid metal

Vintage Appliance Repair

Older appliances don’t have the built-in technology that can make newer appliances like refrigerator repair a bit more complex. But just because repairs are generally simpler, doesn’t mean you're qualified to tackle anything that happens. Some repairs are better left to a professional, like anything involving the fridge compressor or coolant. Of course, if you're just in it for the aesthetics and have neither time nor intention to DIY much needed repairs, you’ll need to find a place to get that done.

If you weren’t too careful when you first made the purchase, the law of “if it’s not one thing, then it’s another” will likely come into play. You’re fortunate if you live in a location where shops specializing in vintage appliance repair isn’t too hard to come by. Not everyone can be so lucky, so if you find yourself in this camp, appliance repair via physical shipment to the repair shop may be in your future.

On the other hand, if you found devices that function pretty well, your main task might be a cosmetic makeover to bring the pieces to a bright new life.

colorful retro refrigerators with curved corners

Proper Maintenance

The charm of these machines can easily dissipate when it turns into a home hazard. Begin with a safety inspection once it’s installed, and make this part of your yearly routine. Inspect gas lines and electric cords for damage, and replace at the first sign of wear and tear. If any wiring issues arise, get a professional evaluation before attempting the repair. Check hinges and screws, clean the interior and rubber gaskets around appliance doors.

They evoke memories of days gone by. With proper selection and thorough maintenance, these appliances will continue to bring joy to those willing to seek them out.

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commissions at no cost to you.