salvaging decorative fireplace tile

saved some Victorian fireplace tile (around 1895) from a demolition. Had to do it on the file though and it much is covered with gunk and needs cleaning.
I know nothing about this stuff. Is there a particular cleaning solution I should use that will keep the unglazed back and side viable for regrouting and use? Come to think of it, can old tiles even be reused very easily, or does grouting them the first time around make them less able to adhere to any future grouting?
My first inclination is to drop the grimiest one's into a solution of Ammoninia. Is that a problem?
Oh, and one other thing, can tiles be reglazed where it has worn off?
Thanks for any advice.
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I don't know about really old tiles, but when a faucet leaked water behind our shower for who knows how long, I managed to salvage the tiles. It was a family project, but I just set them in a bucket of water for a few days, then whenever someone had an hour, they sat out there with a paint scraper and cleared the old grout off. Not fun, but it came off easily enough. Those tiles were only about 40 yrs old, though.

I don't know about really old tiles, but when a faucet leaked water behind our shower for who knows how long, I managed to salvage the tiles. It was a family project, but I just set them in a bucket of water for a few days, then whenever someone had an hour, they sat out there with a paint scraper and cleared the old grout off. Not fun, but it came off easily enough. Those tiles were only about 40 yrs old, though. I don't know if I'd use anything but water.
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