© The Author(s) 2016.Mixing is an important method to improve the performance of surfactants due to their synergistic effect. The changes in bonding interaction and adsorption structure of IM and OP molecules before and after co-adsorbed on Fe(001) surface is calculated by DFTB+ method. It is found that mixture enable the inhibitor molecules with higher E HOMO donate more electrons while the inhibitor molecules with lower E LUMO accept more electrons, which strengthens the bonding interaction of both inhibitor agent and inhibitor additive with metal surface. Meanwhile, water molecules in the compact layer of double electric layer are repulsed and the charge transfer resistance during the corrosion process increases. Accordingly, the correlation between the frontier orbital (E HOMO and E LUMO of inhibitor molecules and the Fermi level of metal) and inhibition efficiency is determined. Finally, we propose a frontier orbital matching principle for the synergistic effect of inhibitors, which is verified by electrochemical experiments. This frontier orbital matching principle provides an effective quantum chemistry calculation method for the optimal selection of inhibitor mixture.