Hi all - just thought I would share with you a method I've settled on that works well in cleaning standard steel AK mags. I don't hold this up to be a "best" approach, just one that works for me.
I use standard latex gloves for the cleaning steps.
1 - Disassemble the mag
2 - Dunk all parts in a tub of mineral spirits or other petrol product (careful: do it outside for safety) and clean each part with a toothbrush thoroughly
3 - Place cleaned parts on a slab of cardboard
4 - After the parts have dried a bit (just enough to remove the drips), dunk in a bucket of warm soapy water - this should remove the mineral spirts and the remaining gunk
5 - Place the parts back on the cardboard slab or hang dry - allow them to dry fully in a well ventilated area
6 - After the parts are fully dried, take a cleaning rod and several large patches and pour liberally the CLP on the patches
7 - Swab the inside only of the magazine body with the CLP
8 - Pour liberally some CLP on an old rag and wipe down the springs
9 - After you have wiped down the springs, the rag should be well-coated with CLP - you can then wipe down using the rag the other mag parts such as the follower and floorplate
10 - Reassemble the mag
11 - Place the mags on the cardboard slab again - spray WD40 on all EXTERIOR surfaces
12 - Wipe down the exterior of the mag so there is no dripping
You are done!
I use the CLP on the internals of the mag because I think it will allow the internals to remain well lubricated over a longer period of time. I use WD40 on the exterior as it isn't as oily, and once it is wiped off, it does preserve the finish and provides a bit of lubrication. It's just not as oily as using CLP externally, and I like that. You can always reapply more WD40 later if you think it is necessary.
Hope this is of some use...