This method of cleaning is good for new floors as well as old floors that need to be stripped to their original condition.
Unglazed porcelain floors are impervious. They do not absorb spills and stains, but the surface has microscopic pores that makes the floor feel rough and which will catch dirt and construction traffic debris.
Using a paste of Dishwashing Powder (detergent - Cascade preferred) and fine construction sand (for abrasion), scrub the floor aggressively with a coarse Scotch-Bright pad. This is mechanical cleaning and will not scratch unglazed porcelain or harm the grout. If the area is large enough a floor machine with a course pad can be used.
The floor with require lots of rinsing to remove the detergent and cleaning residue. Flooding the floor and removing the water with a wet-vac is a good method.
Old floors have a patina that has built up over years from floor maintenance. The patina has filled the microscopic surface pores. This patina gives the floors a slight sheen and makes them easier to maintain. Any floor detergent is good for normal mopping of an unglazed floor.
To quick start the patina on a new floor or on a deep cleaning old floor:
After the floor is dry, apply several coats of an acrylic stone sealer. The sealers are available in a full range from matte to gloss. The look of a natural patina tends more towards the semi-gloss finish.
As you maintain your floor, when rinsing, add about 1 cup of sealer to three gallons of rinse water. This will restore any wear that has occurred on the sealer and build a patina without waiting 40 years.
-American Restoration Tile
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