You could do it that way if you loosened the knuckle and pushed the axle back towards the front diff to slip it out of the hub.
I don't recommend using engine degreaser unless you make sure it is completely evaporated and residue cleaned. It can break down and dissolve any fresh grease you pack in the CV's. Most instructions for CV boot kits state this and recommend using soap and water to clean the CV's. Blow them out with air to help evacuate the soap/water.