Instead of getting the low-end Cortland rod for $40.00, why not move up to say a TFO, Redington Redfly, or ECHO? They are much better casting rods that don't cost much more than the low-end Cortland you are thinking of getting. Truthfully, the low-end Cortland you are thinking of getting is not much different than the Wal-Mart special you have been using. And after fly fishing with the cheap for 3 years, you would be much better served in the long run by spending the little extra for one of the other rod makes I mentioned in the same size as the Cortland.
Fly lines need to be cleaned when the get dirtly, which depends entirely on how long you fish at a time, the amount of algae and particulates suspended in the water, and wheter you have let the line get in the dirt and sand. All you need to clean a fly line is ivory hand soap and water followed by rinsing the soap off and drying the line with a towel or soft rag like a worn-out T-shirt.
A factory made tapered leader of 7.5' to 9' tapered to 2x ought to be about perfect. Far easier to use a store bought tapered leader and replace the tippet (the end the fly is attached to) as needed than to tie your own. Just get some 2x tippet for this.